Food aggression

So I've had Lucy for a year now. She was rescued from a shelter at about 1 year old. She's never had any food issues with me or my roommate, ever. Now I got a Husky/Greyhound mix back in September. Lucy got along great with him from day 1, no problems. Starting a couple weeks ago, Lucy got food aggressive. Actually, I don't know if you'd totally call it "aggressive." She will growl at Bart a little, but won't get full on snarling and won't attack him to hurt him. She will jump at him, nip at him and swat at him, but won't get very vicious. She won't let Bart anywhere near the food. Even when she is done eating, she will lay or sit next to the food bowl and won't let Bart anywhere near it. She will still let me come over and take the food, but won't let Bart anywhere near it. It's only been recently, but it's becoming a big issue. It's been to the point where I have to put her in her crate while Bart eats. I'd like to have it where they can be out together again, but it seems like I'm stuck feeding them separately from now on.

@Larka:

So I've had Lucy for a year now. She was rescued from a shelter at about 1 year old. She's never had any food issues with me or my roommate, ever. Now I got a Husky/Greyhound mix back in September. Lucy got along great with him from day 1, no problems. Starting a couple weeks ago, Lucy got food aggressive. Actually, I don't know if you'd totally call it "aggressive." She will growl at Bart a little, but won't get full on snarling and won't attack him to hurt him. She will jump at him, nip at him and swat at him, but won't get very vicious. She won't let Bart anywhere near the food. Even when she is done eating, she will lay or sit next to the food bowl and won't let Bart anywhere near it. She will still let me come over and take the food, but won't let Bart anywhere near it. It's only been recently, but it's becoming a big issue. It's been to the point where I have to put her in her crate while Bart eats. I'd like to have it where they can be out together again, but it seems like I'm stuck feeding them separately from now on.

IMO, you should always feed separate. No dog should have to "protect" their food or worry about other dogs when eating. And this could result in the next step, guarding the food from you also…

I know they should be fed separately, but since they were fine, I was just going to leave them alone. But it's weird that they were fine for like 6 months, then she all of a sudden started freaking out. I'm just worried that since she became food aggressive all of a sudden, that it might be the start of something else. I don't know. I know all shelter dogs are normally food aggressive, it's just that Lucy didn't used to be and it's freaking me out.

@Larka:

I know they should be fed separately, but since they were fine, I was just going to leave them alone. But it's weird that they were fine for like 6 months, then she all of a sudden started freaking out. I'm just worried that since she became food aggressive all of a sudden, that it might be the start of something else. I don't know. I know all shelter dogs are normally food aggressive, it's just that Lucy didn't used to be and it's freaking me out.

Things change in dog-dog relationships pretty regularly. It is often hard to detect as an outsider from a different species. But just because something has always worked, doesn't mean it always will (I guess the same can be said for raising kids, or cattle, or anything else!)

That's why we always say…'it worked until it didn't anymore' ...especially with Bs and their inter-dog relationships.

'it worked until it didn't anymore'

I love that quote and it is SO appropriate with regard to B's. 🙂

@tanza:

IMO, you should always feed separate. No dog should have to "protect" their food or worry about other dogs when eating. And this could result in the next step, guarding the food from you also…

Let me ask you this, Pat {and all}…..

I've always fed my dogs separately, esp. since Keoki came into the picture because he will scarf his food and run to see if he can get what the others have. I don't crate them, but they are fed in separate rooms which puts them about ten feet away from one another.

Keoki has learned NOT to hover over the other dogs, but he does kind of watch and wait for either of them to finish and then he runs over to lick their bowls. I don't have a problem with that, as they all run from bowl to bowl at the end of the meals, licking whatever {icky} they can find there. It's funny because they all get the same food.

Lately, in the mornings only, Jazz won't eat UNTIL Keoki finishes and and then she will growl and ruuuuun for her bowl.

So, the last few days I have put her bowl near his {as an experiment}-- w/in maybe 2 feet -- and she will immediately eat while he does. He eats faster, and it's almost as if she slows down when she knows he's finished. She picks up one piece of food at a time to carefully chew it, with the occasional quiet growl to remind him that it is hers.

What is up with that?

@JazzysMom:

Let me ask you this, Pat {and all}…..

I've always fed my dogs separately, esp. since Keoki came into the picture because he will scarf his food and run to see if he can get what the others have. I don't crate them, but they are fed in separate rooms which puts them about ten feet away from one another.

Keoki has learned NOT to hover over the other dogs, but he does kind of watch and wait for either of them to finish and then he runs over to lick their bowls. I don't have a problem with that, as they all run from bowl to bowl at the end of the meals, licking whatever {icky} they can find there. It's funny because they all get the same food.

Lately, in the mornings only, Jazz won't eat UNTIL Keoki finishes and and then she will growl and ruuuuun for her bowl.

So, the last few days I have put her bowl near his {as an experiment}-- w/in maybe 2 feet -- and she will immediately eat while he does. He eats faster, and it's almost as if she slows down when she knows he's finished. She picks up one piece of food at a time to carefully chew it, with the occasional quiet growl to remind him that it is hers.

What is up with that?

I would not have a clue…. since we can't read Jazzy's mind..😕 But certainly has to do with the food and teasing him, IMO.... Like "you pig.. now you can watch me enjoy my food and don't even think about looking at me"...
One thing I like about using crates is that they are all fed at the same time.. and no one leaves their crates till all are done....

@tanza:

I would not have a clue…. since we can't read Jazzy's mind..😕 But certainly has to do with the food and teasing him, IMO.... Like "you pig.. now you can watch me enjoy my food and don't even think about looking at me"...
One thing I like about using crates is that they are all fed at the same time.. and no one leaves their crates till all are done....

Okay, just chalk it up to psycho dogs, I guess. 😃

As far as crate feeding – I've never done it with Jazz as it was never necessary when I just had her and Gypsy. They had no food problems together.
Keoki is sooooo un-crateable, it would be a disaster to try to feed him in there.
Remember, he goes into full panic mode as soon as the crate door locks - no matter what is in there w/him; I've tried high reward treats like beef tendons, bones, etc. and he ignores everything to scream and panic once that door latches!

@JazzysMom:

Okay, just chalk it up to psycho dogs, I guess. 😃

As far as crate feeding – I've never done it with Jazz as it was never necessary when I just had her and Gypsy. They had no food problems together.
Keoki is sooooo un-crateable, it would be a disaster to try to feed him in there.
Remember, he goes into full panic mode as soon as the crate door locks - no matter what is in there w/him; I've tried high reward treats like beef tendons, bones, etc. and he ignores everything to scream and panic once that door latches!

As they say, if it "ain't" broke, don't fix it… and the fact that you pretty much make sure they are separated works for you... For many of us with more than one Basenji starting them off in crates for feeding will eliminate possible problems in the future....

The comment of "It worked till it didn't" is key.....

@JazzysMom:

Remember, he goes into full panic mode as soon as the crate door locks - no matter what is in there w/him; I've tried high reward treats like beef tendons, bones, etc. and he ignores everything to scream and panic once that door latches!

If your feeding routine is working there really isn't a need to change it but if this food gaurding does become a bigger issue you may need to crate or do more to keep separate while eating.

Something you may want to try to lessen some of the anxiety associated with the crate may be if you have a plastic crate, take the top off so it is just the bottom of the crate and start feeding Keoki his meals in the crate bottom. If you use wire crates you can do something similar by feeding his meals on the pan that is in the bottom of the crates, just remove it and start feeding on that. Slowly you can build up to a crate with no door then a crate with an open door, etc. He may never get to eating in a crate with a latched door but he might over a long period of time build up those positive associations so he can at least eat in the crate when needed.

@JazzysMom:

Let me ask you this, Pat {and all}…..

I've always fed my dogs separately, esp. since Keoki came into the picture because he will scarf his food and run to see if he can get what the others have. I don't crate them, but they are fed in separate rooms which puts them about ten feet away from one another.

Keoki has learned NOT to hover over the other dogs, but he does kind of watch and wait for either of them to finish and then he runs over to lick their bowls. I don't have a problem with that, as they all run from bowl to bowl at the end of the meals, licking whatever {icky} they can find there. It's funny because they all get the same food.

Lately, in the mornings only, Jazz won't eat UNTIL Keoki finishes and and then she will growl and ruuuuun for her bowl.

So, the last few days I have put her bowl near his {as an experiment}-- w/in maybe 2 feet -- and she will immediately eat while he does. He eats faster, and it's almost as if she slows down when she knows he's finished. She picks up one piece of food at a time to carefully chew it, with the occasional quiet growl to remind him that it is hers.

What is up with that?

Honestly…sounds like a fight in the making to me. Eating faster is the first level of resource (in this case food) guarding. She may be eating slower for any number of reasons...the first one I thought of was a calming signal to him? I doubt she is trying to tease him...but she may be trying to make a point...mine, calm down, mine, calm down...

These kind of things tend to escalate, so IMO, I wouldn't even experiment with it. Why not feed them separately, like with doors in between? It has got to be less stressful for the dogs if they don't have to worry if the other dog is going to bully them for their food...or on the other hand, if they can bully the other dog.

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