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Categories: Basic Puppy

Q. My puppy growls at me when I put my hand in his food bowl while he's eating. Should I interrupt his meal and give the food back when he stops growling?

I always feed my puppy who is 18 weeks old now, from my hand during his training sessions. I use kibbles. Once in a while I pour wet food (high value food to him) to his bowl but he growls at me when I stick my hand in it. He does not do that when I pour kibbles to his bowl.

Should I interrupt his wet food meal and feed him again after he stops growling?

A. I don't bug my dogs when they are eating. I think it causes more problems in the relationship.

I would either feed him the wet food by hand (even though it's messy) or I would feed him and leave him alone. I like to develop a relationship based on trust and by harassing dogs when they are eating you are giving him reason to be uneasy.

As your training relationship progresses you could practice calling him away from his bowl to give him something even MORE valuable. I choose my battles, I like to set myself and my puppy up for success. I've also never had a puppy grow up to be food aggressive and I've raised my pups to know once I give them food or a bone it's theirs. I may call them to me away from it but I don't reach in and take it away until much later when our relationship is adequately developed. By the time my dogs are adults I can take food from their mouths if I need to but it's because of the history of fairness in how they've been handled around valuable resources.

Cindy Rhodes
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