Saturday, January 1, 2011

Your Questions: Thank You!

       I want to thank you all for the wonderful comments and questions. I was surprised how well accepted and read my blog has become, Thank You!
      Since I have been getting so many questions my plans have changed. I will still write on the topics I have outlined here a couple times a week. With so many questions I feel that I can make a few entries a week just addressing your questions! Keep the questions rolling in I love reading them and responding to them.

Here are your questions:

llafnow337: Would love to hear some input on food aggression.

      Food aggression is rooted in the dog’s behavior from when they were all wolves. It all boils down to a pack mentality. While they are in a pack the alpha male eats his entire fill uninterrupted. Once he is done the rest of the pack eats the rest, sometimes fighting or acting aggressive to get what they want.
     The food aggressive behavior in your dog can be one of two things: First it could be that the dog is not sure of his place in these ranks. Second it could be a trust issue that your dog has developed with humans. I tell you this because I feel it is really important to recognize what your dog may be thinking because it makes it easier to conceive a battle plan for training.

      The conditioning that I have found to be helpful to any food aggression is to do these simple things              
      1. Take the food dish away for a week. Have your dog eat from your hand a few kibbles at a time.
      2. Give the food dish back but only feed a few kibbles at a time. When placing the kibbles in the food dish reach your hand down into the dish to place the kibble there. If while doing this there is aggression give a sharp negative reinforcing “NO!” Then let it calm down before you give it more food. 
      3. Slowly give more and more food to the dog in its dish until it is up to a full serving. Also maybe feed a couple times a day rather than just one.
      4. Like I keep saying make sure your dog knows you’re the alpha dog. This may be accomplished by feeding the dog after you and the family eats. 

I have had a couple people ask about dogs eating kitty litter.
      Although not a good thing, the dog feels it needs to eat the kitty litter for health issues. I will relate this to dogs eating dirt or even worse their or other dog feces. Dogs feel that they need to eat these things to keep healthy. When a dog eats dirt it is because their body is telling them that they have a vitamin deficiency. And it’s the same with eating feces, there is some sort of malnutrition issues.
I will offer a couple solutions to this:
     First this may sound too simple but move the kitty litter box to a spot where the cat can get to it but the dog can’t. Maybe up on a table or something of that sort since cats have no trouble jumping up. And second is make sure your dog is getting a proper diet of a quality dog food. And if it continues you may have to go to a vet and get a supplement.
     This is a harder behavior to train out of a dog because they are hard wired to care for themselves in the wild.

     Look for more of your questions being answered later this week! 


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