Thanks guys, it definitely feels like a greed thing, he guards food….I will crate him when I eat and when it's feeding time especially with the puppy. I agree the NILF method is in order... I feel completely comfortable with correcting him because he doesn't cross that line with me anymore..and as said, I grabbed his muzzle immediately upon the growl with the neighbor as a gut reaction to prevent a bite and he allowed it, and after he calms he acts really sorry. I also have a gut feeling as said that even if I can get it better I still don't feel it will be reliable with all dogs. I rarely clicker train with treats anymore, the click and praise tend to be enough..plus with the ID diet I've limited outside food intake ( the chip was the first indulgence he's had in awhile).. My worry is that while I appreciate the growl as a warning I know he is the type that wouldn't hesitate to escalate that to contact, so even if I can't eliminate the behavior I'd like to modify it to just the warning. I'll look at the links and check out the tools suggested. I feel like is main issue is tension with other dogs in the presence of food and that translates into transferred aggression to people when they feed him...when he growled at my father he immediately went in his crate...he wasn't happy to do so but he knew he was out of line..I agree eeefarm, he has been indiscriminately fed and has led to him being entitled and pushy...I created it so now it's time to undo it.
Some things I thought I would try:
1: when I'm cooking not allow him in the kitchen
2: when I eat he gets crated
3: when he eats crate him (but will this hive him a complex about food in open situations?)
4: not bring him to public events like bbq's with family or friends because of food and other dogs..although that is what I've always tried to avoid I can almost guarantee a squabble every time..