Some puppies are possessive over their food. If you wait until the problem corrects itself, you’ll have a larger, adult dog on your hands that may bite or growl anytime someone comes around the food bowl. Instead, now is the time to teach your puppy not to be aggressive over his food bowl so that he learns the purpose of food. The best training method is to feed your pup properly.
Possessiveness over food is displayed by your puppy growling at you when you go near her food bowl. The behavior can escalate over time if it’s not corrected, and your adult dog may soon be showing possessiveness over her toys, objects around the home or even people. Make sure you don’t make excuses for your puppy either, as many dog owners believe that their pet is just being protective and don’t work to correct the problem.
To start, your puppy should be given clear rules, just like others in the home that have their own rules to follow. Some of this will come from teaching your pup simple commands, as these are the precursors to etiquette and politeness. In this particular instance, you need to teach your dog that the food is not his. You are in charge of the food and the feedings, so start with several small bowls of food. Give your dog one bowl of food first, and if he understands the command “sit”, ask him to sit beforehand.
Let your puppy finish the first bowl of food, then offer the second and then the third. Put the bowls in different spots and make sure that she has to “work” for the food such as by sitting or waiting patiently. Do this for a few days and this will teach your dog not to be possessive of something that is not hers. Then begin giving your pup one bowl of food, adding in small bits and having her sit and wait for more. Again, this shows that you are in control of the food, not her.
While your dog eats, you should also take the food bowl away from him and then give it back. Also step over your dog’s bowl just like a dominant dog would do. Drop a few pieces of fresh chicken into the bowl or offer a treat. This will show your pup that when you approach the food bowl, good things happen. Although you are showing your own dominance in these instances, you still want to be polite while your pet eats. You don’t need to hover over him or pet him while he eats, and if the household is noisy during this time, you can always feed your pet in a crate.