growling over a bone?

Just a quick question....I spent some time with my neighbors sheepie puppy this weekend. He is 12 weeks old. When I tried to take his bone away he growled at me really vicsiously? Is this normal for a puppy? Should I expect this when I get mine, or should this not happen with a well breed dog. Thanks! I am sure you all think I'm nuts, but I am doing all my investigating before I purchase one!

Thanks so much!

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I don't think it's normal, per se, but I would be afraid it shows a tendency toward food aggression. Has your neighbor said if he acts this way with his food bowl? There are ways to break him of the aggression, and the sooner the better!
That should not be allowed. If a pup growls over food or a bone, the food item (or bone) should be romoved and put away. There should be no yelling or hitting just clamly removing the item. In a little while you should give the item back and try again. The dog should not be allowed to "win" bny growling.
I just finished The Dog Listener: Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation, by Jan Fennell, I highly recommend it.

I agree with the other members whom stated to take the bone away. Please tell your neighbor that it's a good idea to occasionally pick up their pups food dish and play around with the food (providing it's not wet food..:O) but kibbles) then return it. In fact, they should continue to do this even when the pup grows so there is NO FOOD AGGRESSION ever.

Most children get bit from walking too close to a food bowl of a dog that has food aggression so it's really important to nib it in the bud when they are pups. I've done this with all my dogs and now grown can take a bone out of their mouths or pick up their food dish at any time without a problem.

Good luck to you

Marianne and the boys
Growling over food is something you should really deal with as soon
as it happens. If you don't correct it ASAP it will likely get worse. No,
it should not be accepted as normal behavior. A dog that is growling
over food or bones or treats is confused about his rank in the 'pack' and
who controls the food. Your neighbor may not be having this particular
problem with his own pup - but I would mention to him the dogs reaction
to you if he is not aware. It would be bad if this was not addressed and
the dog did the same or worse to someone 7 or 8 months from now, when
the dog is much larger. It could be addressed fairly easily right now, and
at this young age the puppy would benefit at many levels.
Very glad to see you are asking questions now and learning in advance!
Good for you. You will make a good owner someday!

I hadn't thought much about it before but now you guys got me a little worried. Clyde is food protective-- but only with Lucy. James and I can do anything we want, it's only her. If she walks in the direction of his bowl, he runs over to protect it. There was only a fight once a few months ago that only lasted a few seconds. Think I should be worried?
I would do the old "sit for it" trick. If he gets grumpy and doesn't want you to touch his food... make him sit. If he doesn't want you to touch his toys - make him sit, roll over, beg or whatever you want for it.

I think hand feeding would also work. :D
All I can comment on is past experience. When I received my beagle (already 7 mos old and I had to train him), he was in a home with at least one other dog and did not learn how to share food. They were given food at a certain schedule and he felt he needed to get all he could get. He is now an open feeder, being there is always food in the bowl.

When I initially brought my beagle home, there was a fight over the food bowl (growling, almost biting other dogs and people when he was there) between him and my first OES and us uprights, which my husband and I worked through eventually changing him. With our new OES, he (I have the impression from webcam) was open fed competing with 10 other dogs. We have had him for a week and a half now (he will be 10 wks on friday!). Since getting our new OES last Sunday, my husband and I have been taking turns when we are around the dogs at the food bowl in getting the pup OES to eat from our hands and to share. I have personally seen the beagle, once aggressive, eat or drink from the same dish as the puppy and there has not been a fight between the two of them.
Though put a rawhide down and it is a different story all :!: They play for hours on that.

I would think on aggression and growling, it all depends on training and what a person will allow their dog to get away with. Though I also won't lie. A puppy is a big responsibility, it is like having a kid (and I don't have any kids of my own). What they learn as a puppy they will take with them the rest of their lives.
Butterscotch -
I doubt if I would be worried if I were you. If someone else that your
dog wasn't really familiar with came after your Clyde's food or treat, what
would he do? Is he only concerned with Lucy getting it? If it has only happened once I would assume they have it worked out.
We thought we were going to have trouble with Tucker and our new
puppy Zeke, because he got all weird over the food and treats. He had
never been that way with our old dog, and never with anyone else. We
have routinely taken away food and treats from the time our dogs were
puppies just for this very reason. They need to know who controls
the food. Once Tucker let Zeke know he was last in line, everything smoothed out, even though it was hard to let it happen. They worked it out themselves. As long as it is only Lucy that he treats that way, it
sounds to me like your dogs have it worked out too.

Yeah, it's just Lucy. It's actually kind of funny because he'll be lying on one side of the room and Lucy will just get up to stretch or something and he runs full speed to his food bowl to put himself between her and it. Then he takes a bite, almost like he's trying to make her jealous. My boyfrined and I were speculating where thiss behavior may have come from and we think that it may have been because we were leaving his food bowl out all night. Clyde stays in his crate but Lucy has full run of the house. For awhile, we'd come downstairs and the food bowl would be empty so I think Lucy was just eating his food in front of him and it made him mad! Now he's gonna be sure she doesn't get it anymore! The only reason I left it out is because Lucy would never touch dry food so I never thought she'd want it!
Has Lucy stopped eating Clydes food since the incident? Does Clyde still
go to the crate and Lucy still have free reign? Probably is just his way of
keeping her in line where his food is concerned. They are so funny
sometimes - but it makes sense to them so...

Now I put it up at night so she can't eat it but he comes upstairs with us to sleep and she gets the rest of the house. If I forget, she'll munch on it a bit. I think she's a little bitter too because, since his arrival, she's been eating on a schedule. She used to like to have her food put out for her and then she'd walk around a bit, smell it, sit down. Then maybe she'd eat, maybe she wouldn't. It was kind of annoying because she only eats canned so you can't just leave it out. Now the food comes down and she eats!
I would say no, it is not normal, and should not happen at all. I know it does, a lot though. I've never had any agression issues with my girls, food or otherwise. Right from day one I taught them to take treats gently, and I took things away from them, and had others in our family take things away, and return them, all the time. Food, bones, toys, whatever. They knew from the start they only get what we give them, and if we take it away, they accept it and move on.
I had one incident with tecumseh,
he'd gotten a hold of a wrapper from McD's, dunkn tried getting it from him, growled and snapped at dunkn, I went to get it away from him and he growled and snapped and actually bit my hand.....
never happened before, and hasnt happened since :?

usually can do anything around him and food, he just must really like their breakfast burritos :?
Mmmmmm McD's........ :roll:
Thanks so much for the information. I have a year old oes and two older pugs. My oes started guarding her food like a hawk a month or two ago and I had no idea what to do. You all have given me good ideas--I only hope it isn't too late. She is the most docile dog, sweet and friendly. It's only the food thing that gets her mad. She isn't that interested in eating, ironically. The pugs, on the other hand, are gluttons. She probably picked up on that. Thanks again
this type of behaviour is known as dominace behaviour

so this is what yuo should do
if you have quite a old dog which growls over a bone you should show them who is more dominate. This does not require hitting the dog. You must grab the scruff of the dog and pin them onto the floor. This is saying i am the more dominate and i want that bone. If you repear tthis a few time the dog will give it to you as he known his place in the pach (house). This what would happan to wild dogs if they did this to the more dominate dog (alpha male).
Sorry to hijack the post, but have a question.

We just adopted Sam who is 2 years old a few weeks ago and we have Lucky who is 2 1/2 - have had him for a year.

We have always free feed in our home and have two separate elevated water & food dishes. Sam growls constantly at Lucky when Sam is eating. My husband and I can walk up and take the food away from Sam with no problem no growling, but let Sam get just a hint of Lucky even in the same room and he starts to growl. The only fights between the two have been over either a toy (which we took them all away) or the food.

Any ideas on how to deal with Sam's food agression?
Louis, that's a great way to get bitten by your dog.

This is a complex issue and must be dealt with in a consistent manner, over the long-term.

It might be better to go with a "Nothing in life is free" approach first, before trying the Alpha-Roll/dominance technique.
Louis, that's a great way to get bitten by your dog.

My sentiments exactly.

The Alpha roll has been removed from the most current techniques in canine behavior modifications, as it does indeed create more problems.
A dog that is put into a submissive position does not become submissive. A dog that is already submissive takes the stance voluntarily.

The growling around food is called "resource guarding". It has nothing to do with dominance.
There is a great book called Mine!: A practical guide to resource guarding in dogs, by Jean Donaldson (Limited Availability) that is available for people with this problem.
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