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 Guarding Food

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MelissaI
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Location : Miami,FL

PostSubject: Guarding Food   Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:06 pm

Hi,

Over the past 6 months or so Mya has started guarding her food the EXTREME! She can be laying 20 feet away from her food and if you walk by her she jumps up does a lil bark cry at your feet and runs to her bowl. She fake eats and then lays back down. Don't even think about touching her food because she will growl at you. After she growls she knows she did something wrong and lays down so that you can rub her tummy. This behavior is very annoying. You know what it is that you can't even walk by her? If she would guard it while she's eating it then fine, but she doesn't even eat the freaking food at that moment.

I don't know why she's started acting this way. She never did before. It wasn't because of the change of food either (she was doing it while she was eating Purina). Nothing has happened for this change of behavior =(

I even started putting her bowl inside of cage but if you walk by the cage she'll bark at your feet and run to the food. I've tried giving her some food out of my hand while holding the bowl so she knows that we don't want her food, but that didn't work either.

She just did this so I locked her in her cage, told her she was a bad girl, and am ignoring her for a while.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated =(

Thanks!
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Koda
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Female Join date : 2009-05-20
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:27 pm

How long were you feeding her by hand? These changes don't happen overnight and I have a feeling that you didn't give her long enough. Feeding from your hand is what I would suggest. Overtime you should be able to feed closer and closer to her bowl, and eventually keep your hand in her dish without a fuss.

Another idea is to change what she's eating out of. Is she guarding the food or the bowl? Or is it the location? Changing up where you feed her every night will also help with this.

Be careful of using the crate as punishment as well. If she's getting riled up and you want her to calm down, putting her in there is okay, but the crate should ALWAYS be associated with positive things. She should never be scolded in it and she should always feel safe there.

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MelissaI
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:47 pm

It's so weird! She guards the food because when the bowl is empty she's ok. I've fed her out of my hand for a few days so you're right that it will take longer than that =)

I've tried changing locations every night as well, but nothing. I had originally thought about putting the food in her crate for her to feel that's its safe so i did that. You're totally right about using the crate as punishment, but since she doesn't stay in there much I figured it might be the best way. If i just ignore her or lock her out of the room that we're in it will be like we're not doing anything . I just let her out and apologized (lol), but this is a never ending cycle here.

I will keep on the feeding from the hand and will keep you posted.

Thank you Koda!
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Koda
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:30 am

So does she regularly have food sitting in the dish? I thought you said in your first post that when you walk by it, she'll run in from the other room....

What brand of food do you feed and how much are you feeding her (also, what's her weight)? If she's not eating all of it right away, you may be overfeeding her, which could be causing some of her guarding (she has excess food that she feels the need to guard).

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MelissaI
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:34 pm

Hi, she doesn't eat her food right away when you feed her. Shes always done that, but never guarded it. We feed her Blue Buffalo ...about half a cup in the morning and 2 cups in the evening. She's probably about 68lbs now (she lost a few since we switched her food...she was at 72lbs).
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Here4thePics
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Male Join date : 2009-07-15

PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:15 pm

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Last edited by Here4thePics on Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jess
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:21 pm

Kobey used to be similar. He wouldn't eat all of his food, he has never been a big eater. He used to leave his food and go in the other room. But he would never take his eyes off of it. If the cat even came near it, he would run up to his food and start to eat it (even though he clearly wasn't interested in eating). I began to only leave his food down for 15 minutes, and then take it away and save it for dinner. He learned that if he didn't eat it soon after I gave it to him, he wouldn't have another chance to eat until dinner time. Of course, this might only be helpful if you aren't overfeeding her. Kobey does not have much of an appetite (he literally wouldn't eat much at all until the cat went near it) so this worked out great because if he did eat it, he didn't even get the chance to be protective of it.
Feeding her by hand seems like a great idea. My mom has an English Mastiff (who is obviously crazy about food) and he would be very protective when a person would go near his food, so my mom began to put extra tasty treats into his bowl while he was eating. He began to associate her going near his food with positive things. That seemed to work great for her.
One thing that I highly suggest is, when she has overcome this, make sure you continue to work on it. Ever since I brought Kobey (and Lola) home, I have consistently put my face into their bowls of food and pretend to eat it, put my hands in it while they're eating and praise the good behavior that they show when doing this. Once able to do this, don't stop.
Hope this helped a little.
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Koda
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:48 pm

@Jess wrote:
I began to only leave his food down for 15 minutes, and then take it away and save it for dinner. He learned that if he didn't eat it soon after I gave it to him, he wouldn't have another chance to eat until dinner time.
Yes. If you're not doing this I would suggest this as well. You're giving her too many opportunities to guard. She should get the same food amount in the AM as she does in the PM and she should know that food comes down, she eats and if she doesn't eat, then she loses the opportunity.

Dogs guard because they're insecure, for whatever reason. A schedule and consistency helps dogs feel secure. Thus: same portions, scheduled feedings. For now, those feedings should be by hand.

@Jess wrote:
Ever since I brought Kobey (and Lola) home, I have consistently put my face into their bowls of food and pretend to eat it, put my hands in it while they're eating and praise the good behavior that they show when doing this. Once able to do this, don't stop.
Hope this helped a little.
Yes and no. For a dog who's learning his place in the household for the first time, this can be a very effective method. However, be careful of "eating out of the dish" with a dog who is already showing signs of food guarding as this can sometimes exacerbate the issue. For Melissa, I would recommend hand feeding for now. Scheduled and consistent meal times and to do this regularly for a few weeks to see how she copes.

@Here4thePics wrote:
Oh my I hope she's tall because she sure is heavy for a husky.

If not cut her back to about 2 cups a day, maybe she thinks she needs to eat all that is put out and goes into the guard mode even if she's not hungry.
How tall IS she? Len is right.... you might also be feeding her way too much. Hailey is 45 lbs at 20.5" tall (to the shoulders) and she only gets 1 cup a day TOTAL of TOTW, which has a lower protein count that EITHER Blue Buffalo (regular or wilderness). So technically that means my two need more of it to equal the protein count of yours.

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MelissaI
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:10 pm

Thanks all!

Mya is definitely on the chunky side...this why we changed her food and I'm trying to excercise her more than usual. When she got spayed she gained 12lbs easily. How much is a husky supposed to eat a day? i thought that 2 1/2 cups is normal for her, but maybe i should fed her less? I'm going to try taking the food away when she doesn't eat it right away. I"ve tried taking the food away when she doesn't eat it, but I feel bad because I feel like she's hungry....maybe i need to be stronger.....LOL!
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Koda
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:36 pm

Food is dependent upon weight, but the idea weight for a dog her size, not how much she currently weighs, if that makes sense. Dog bags also overestimate the food portions for their own selfish purposes. For example- for an adult 40-60 lb dog, the TOTW bag says to feed 2 1/3 - 3 1/4 cups per day. Hailey is 45 lbs and gets 1 cup and Koda is 60 lbs and gets just under 2 cups. You need to find the ratio that works for her. There's no one right answer for all huskies.

And it'll make you feel guilty at first, but once she gets used to eat, she'll eat everytime and understand. We all suffer from that guilt once in a while, but skipping a few meals won't hurt them and if they get hungry, they'll learn very quickly Smile

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MelissaI
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:58 am

Makes total sense =) I hand fed her all of her food last night and she gobbled it up =) I'm definitely going to cut down how much I feed her and give equal portions in the morning and evening.

Thanks so much!!!
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Here4thePics
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:13 pm

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Last edited by Here4thePics on Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Koda
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Female Join date : 2009-05-20
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PostSubject: Re: Guarding Food   Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:06 pm

@Here4thePics wrote:
Before I got Biko, Adobo probably skipped 40% of her meals which was 2 cups of food a day. But with Biko being a growing glutton (he receives 3 cups per day) he would go to Adobo's dish if she left it, so she started eating everything. Within a few weeks I noticed the weight gain so I've cut her back to 1-1/2 cups per day(TOTW), she'll eat that for the same reason but I'm hoping she'll lose a few pounds then I'll increase/decrease as needed.
A few weeks ago I noticed that Koda really stopped eating consistently. He'd skip meals a few times a week instead of the once a month (if that) that he had previously. After a few weeks of this, I had a hunch that maybe I was over-feeding him, so I cut him down ever so slightly (just below a leveled cup instead of a leveled cup) and lo and behold, he started eating again! I told John of my discovery and his response was "Oh, I never fed him a leveled cup. It was always just below." DOH! John's been working out of town Mon- Fri and Koda's eating habit changed as soon as John stopped feeding him in the PMs. Communication and consistency are important! And yeah- our dogs are smart Razz

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