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We have been feeding raw for 2 weeks now to our 2 German shepherds.

Why did we choose raw?

Sapphire has skin issues and keeping weight problems. Roxy has chronic ear infections. We thought this would be a healthier option.

Both dogs are doing well on the diet and love the food.

However, Roxy has since developed an attitude issue. A big one! She is starting fights with our other dog and dogs on the trail near home. She has NEVER done this despite being dominant. We are away for the holidays and brought a cooler full of cut up meat with us. My mother brought it up from the basement and put it down and Roxy attacked Sapphire full on. I had to seperate them. Now she has been at her all night and we have to call her off. She bit Sapphire and drew blood for the first time.

Now we are questioning the diet and wondering if this is a common occurrence. I would like to note that neither dog is food aggressive and we could put our hands in their bowl while eating. They wouldn't do a thing. Dogs are well socialized and play with other dogs every day on the trail and go to a dog park once a week.



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No, I've never heard of anyone having that problem. Could be, that she really likes it so much that she is just that wound up. It sounds like you may need to look at another routine at feeding time, and some extra behavior training. I'm sure she's feeling much better, and has a lot more energy that may need to be directed differently. That unusual to say the least. I'm not a trainer by no means, so maybe someone else with more experience in that area will be able to help.



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I've heard of dogs getting possessive of their food when initially switched to raw due to the novelty of the food compared to boring old kibble (imagine you just won the lottery. Would you be extra protective of your finances?). I always supervised my dogs when they ate (even with kibble) or they would have fought over it. With me there, I was able to "police" them (made sure they didn't try to steal the others' food after they finished eating their own). Some people always need to separate or supervise at mealtimes, others have dogs that get along during mealtimes. Luck of the draw, really. Whatever your situation, be honest and go with it. Trying to make dogs get along when they clearly don't want to will only cause trouble. There is nothing wrong with kenneling them to eat and keeping the meat locked up out of sight (or in their case, smell) when not mealtime.


From what you described, it sounds like the meat in the cooler was a high value item that Roxy didn't want to share. I am sure she knew what was in it. Two weeks into a diet is still pretty early (think of the lottery metaphor). Also, dogs can be much rougher with each other. My friend's lab LOVED people and was so gentle and accepting, but would not tolerate other dogs nosing around when she ate. She put holes in the face of their wolfdog who moseyed over to see what she had (kibble, not raw meat).


I would be very careful to manage the meat and supervise the dogs when feeding or near their food. My own three dogs were in a fight over dog treats (milkbones) when a visitor found them in the cabinet and started doling them out. I am very much about diligent management--it makes life much easier.


For walks--I know you already know this, but I'll say it anyway--a leashed dog can't go get in a fight. Pepper spray (if its legal in your area) will deter loose dogs coming after you, so keep some handy if necessary. If you're concerned about her not getting enough exercise, get a dog pack and have her carry a few pounds during the walk. It helps, trust me. :)

  • Poodlebeguiled likes this



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It's absolutely normal dog behavior. It's just that some dogs do it more than others. It is considered very high value, seeing as how dogs need to eat to survive. They'd have never evolved if they said, "go ahead and take my food." lol. So, I agree that management is key. Don't punish because that will make it escalate. But feed separately. There are some exercises you can do but you'd need some help I think....Dogs on leashes, quite apart from each other. Other dog enters the area...food rains down upon your dog. Other dog leaves the area...out of sight and nothing great happens...no food, no attention. Other dog re-enters the room and again, delicious food is furnished. So after several reps for a couple weeks, your dog may come to pair the other dog with good food and not a threat to Roxy's food. But bottom line...management. 


If you're not experiencing any guarding from humans, I wouldn't worry too much...just manage. If she becomes that way with humans (which she may never...human and dog-dog are two different things) get a behaviorist to help out. Never use aggression to treat something like this. 

Spy Car

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I would suggest (individually) doing some hand-feeding with the dogs. This will only deepen your bonds, as they understand the gift of the high-value food comes from you.

In the process make sure you can remove an item a dog has started on from them with full compliance from the dog. Always return the item to the dog as a "reward" for good behavior. Chicken quarters are especially good for give and take, since they are easily grasped.

Also, make the dog wait for a release command before eating. You should be able to put a bowl down (with the dog on a wait/stay/whoa command) and and have the dog wait for release.

This training techniques help reduce resource guarding. A raw diet, as others have said, consists of extraordinarily high value foods, which is a good thing. But care should be taken to train a dog not to resource guard.

All the best,

  • naturalfeddogs and Poodlebeguiled like this

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