Home / Dog Behavior / Problems and Management / Food Aggression

Food Aggression

Food Aggression Management Tool

Description

Dogs with food aggression may stiffen their body, show teeth, growl, snap, or bite when they are approached by a person or another animal when they are in possession of or near a food-related item such as a rawhide chew, bone, pig’s ear, food bowl, sandwich wrapper, or food that was dropped on the floor. Dogs with food aggression are likely to behave aggressively around items that they consider delicious. For example, most dogs are more likely to behave aggressively over a bowl of canned food or pig’s ear than over a bowl of dry food.


Definitions

Identification and management of any problem begins with clear definitions. This allow us to share a common language when discussing the problem and making recommendations for intervention and placement.

Food aggression is a subtype of possessive aggression. Possessive aggression occurs when a dog displays aggression (show teeth, growl, snap, lunge, bite) related to any item that the dog considers valuable, such as food, toys, resting place, etc. Three types of food aggression are defined below.

  1. Mild Food Aggression: Dog shows teeth and/or growls when approached or touched by a person or fake hand when in possession of or near food or a food-related item.
  2. Moderate Food Aggression: Dog snaps and/or lunges when approached or touched by a person or fake hand when in possession of or near food or a food-related item.
  3. Severe Food Aggression tendencies: Dog bites when approached or touched by a person or fake hand when in possession of or near food or a food-related item.
Mild Aggression



Moderate Aggression



Severe Aggression