How to Train Your Dog to Not Eat Other Dogs' Food

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

If you have more than one dog, you may have come across the problem of one dog eating the other’s food. This can occur because one dog has less of an appetite than the other and leaves his food for your other dog to clean up, or one of your dogs may be dominant over the other and takes the more submissive dog's food. This results in one dog getting too much food and one dog not getting enough. Not only is this unfair, but it can have long-term health consequences, with one dog becoming overweight, while the other may not get all the nutrients he or she needs.

Defining Tasks

Dogs have hierarchical social structures, with some dogs being leaders and other followers. In a pack situation in the wild, lead dogs would eat first, followed by more subordinate dogs. This would be natural and would protect the integrity of the pack, which would need its leaders to be well fed to lead the pack. So if you have multiple dogs, it is not uncommon for a more dominant dog to exert that dominance by eating the other dog’s food. Another issue can occur when you have a dog that is particularly food motivated, and one that is not, and your food motivated dog gets the lion's share of the food due to the apathy or inattention on the part of the other. If this problem develops, you will need to intervene to teach your dogs to respect each other's food and only take the food that is portioned for them individually. This is not a pack of wolves, after all!

Getting Started

You will need treats to teach a 'leave it' command. Also, you will need to commit your time to supervise feeding and implement commands, to ensure both dogs get to eat their food. You may need a way of separating dogs from each other's food area while training is ongoing. A separate room, large crate, pen, or area cordoned off with baby gates or other barriers may suffice.

The Claim and Control Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Fill both bowls
Ensure that you are present to supervise when your dogs are eating. Fill both dog food bowls, but remove the dog that is getting his food stolen from the room temporarily.
Step
2
Claim submissive dog's bowl
Let your food-stealing dog eat from his own bowl. When he approaches the other dog's bowl, push him away, by placing your body between the dog and the extra bowl.
Step
3
Be verbal
Firmly say “leave it” or “off".
Step
4
Reinforce surrender
When your dominant dog backs off, you can reward him with attention. Remove him from the situation and allow your other dog to eat from his bowl. Repeat at each feeding over a period of weeks.
Step
5
Introduce eating together
Now allow both dogs to eat together. If your dominant dog attempts to push the other dog away from her bowl, insert yourself, and give the 'leave it' or 'off' command. Allow your other dog to complete his meal. Repeat over several days as required. Your dog will eventually learn that while your submissive dog may not claim his food, you will claim it on his behalf.
Recommend training method?

The Leave It Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Present closed hand
Hold a treat in your closed fist and present it to your dog. When he sniffs your hand, say “leave it”.
Step
2
Reward 'leave it'
Wait until your dog stops investigating your hand and trying to reach the treat. When he retreats from your closed hand, say “yes” and open your hand to offer the treat. Sometimes give the treat without saying “leave it”, to establish that your dog only needs to leave the treat alone when you instruct him to.
Step
3
Challenge
Place a low value treat, such as dry kibble, on the floor and give the 'leave it' command. When your dog obeys, reward him with a high-value treat, like a piece of meat or cheese.
Step
4
Provide distractions
Move the game to new locations and try leaving a treat in a chosen spot. Command your dog to 'leave it' when he finds the planted treat and reward him when he obeys.
Step
5
Apply to other dog's food
Once well established over a period of weeks, use the 'leave it' command when your dog approaches your other dog's food dish.
Recommend training method?

The Take Turns Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Create schedule
Your dogs do not have to eat at the same time, or even the same time of day. You can train your dogs to each take their turn, eating at separate times, either one after another or with a time interval. Have a designated area for eating, setup with bowls for food and water. Your dogs should always have water available. You may need a way of keeping the other dog separated, such as using gates a door or a pen.
Step
2
Create seperation of time and space
Starting with the more dominant dog, or the dog who is taking more food, feed that dog the appropriate amount in the designated area, while keeping your other dog or dogs from the area.
Step
3
Feed dominant dog
Give the dog several minutes to finish his food, then remove him from the area and bring in the next dog. Fill their dish with the appropriate amount and give him an adequate amount of time to finish eating.
Step
4
Feed other dog
If the dog is not finished after a certain amount of time, say 5 minutes, take the dish away and move on to the next dog.
Step
5
Establish schedule and time
Eventually, your dogs will learn to eat their food in the time allotted, and because the other dogs are separated, the dog that is eating will not experience distractions or the other dog stealing their food. While the other dog is waiting for their turn, give them a chew toy or have them wait, performing a 'sit-stay' or 'down-stay' activity.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Laurie Haggart

Published: 11/13/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Simba
Golden Retriever
4 Months
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Question
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Simba
Golden Retriever
4 Months

I’ve just escaped form a violent relationship, my ex partner was on multiple occasions abusive and aggressive towards me and verbally towards the puppy :( e.g he was yelling at Simba when he barked etc. I left my partner but I’m concerned about the puppy every time he has a specific item in possession /his mouth (note there is no specific trend , it could be a bone , socks or a shoe ) I’ve noticed that if someone try to touch the dog while he chew something he start barking (very loud and aggressive , it’s takes only 3-5 sek and he stops ) he has done this to other people and twice towards me when he cut my finger (puppy teath are very sharp ). He is a lovely dog very well behaved , socialised with dogs and other peoples. From day one he was going for a elks and event with me to my office so he is generally super fiendly and nice . It was just a few incidents and I am just concerned what should I do .Last time when I came close and he barked I asked him “leave it” for his treat and kepp saying” no , no barking “ .I remain frozen waiting what he do still trying to keep my hand in a distance as he intended to bite if I be to close . After a few minutes and commands leave it . He dropped the treat and walk away. Then straight back became so happy trying to jump on sofa and seat next to me and play . I remained calm trying to not give him any attention and whenever he jumped on the sofa I said “down” after few attempts he got back to his bed and stayed calm . Then he get back to me slowly (not jumped on sofa , he stayed on the floor ) and he start leaking me this is when I have him attention and a treat as an award for staying calm .then i gave him the same treat (like a stick made from pork fat) and a few times asked him to leave it and I try to take the treat out of his mouth and he let me without barking . I don’t know if what I am trying to do it’s correct and if will teach my dog a good behaviour in a long term . Please share your thoughts, any advice or tips . Thank you , Kate

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kate, Insisting that he give you the item until he drops it is correct. Once you tell him to give you something it is very important that he give you the item no matter how long it takes him to drop it. Neither biting nor running away should get him out of obeying your command. When you are practicing taking items from him teach him the "Drop" or "Drop It" command and practice telling him to drop the item. Start practicing this by giving him something long that you can hold onto while he chews it. Tell him to "Drop It" and show him an item that he likes even better. When he drops the item, then praise him and give him the other item. Once he understands what the command means, then hide the second item behind your back, give him a less rewarding long item, hold onto that item while he chews on it, and then tell him to "Drop It". If he drops it, then praise him and give him the better item from behind your back. If he will not drop it, then either gently remove the item while wearing thick gloves and pressing into the back of his mouth where his jaws come together to make him open his mouth without hurting him or make the item very boring by holding onto it tighter so that he cannot play with it, until he gets bored and lets it go. At first when he lets it go, reward him with the better item even though he needed your help in order to obey. This is to teach him to trust you with objects. After he can consistently let go of the item and is doing well, then trade him a great object if he gives you the item willingly, and a good or okay item if you have to take the item from him. Whenever you take a sock or unacceptable object from him, hand him one of his own toys instead. This is to teach him trust and also to teach him what is an acceptable item to chew. If he is running away from you with an item in his mouth, then attach a drag leash to him when you are with him, so that you can step on the leash and reel him in in order to get the item. Avoid backing away from him when he tries to bite or he will learn to bite more frequently in order to get what he wants. If that becomes an issue, then I would highly suggest hiring a local trainer to help you because aggression is best treated early or it can become a large issue. If he is generally giving you attitude, then also try implementing one or more of the methods from the article I have linked bellow in order to build his respect for you in a non-physical way. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Baxter
Terrier mix
4 Years
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Question
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Baxter
Terrier mix
4 Years

My Girlfriend and I recently moved in together. She has a 14-year old Yorkie named Prada. Prada isn’t on a feeding schedule and sometimes takes days to eat a full bowl of food. My dog, Baxter, is also not on a schedule and usually takes about a whole day to finish his bowl. Baxter is sneaking and eating Prada’s food while there is still food in his bowl. How do I stop this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello AJ, Both dogs need to either learn to eat at designated times and have the food removed after that time until the next feeding time, or be fed in separate areas with a door or baby gate closed behind them, to prevent the other dog from accessing their food. If the dog's are separated during the day, then you can feed them in their separate areas, and when they are together take up the food again. Another option is to purchase a dog door that opens up when the dog's collar sensor alerts it and to put the food behind that door with a doggie door in it that only that particular dog can access. This will require buying both dogs separate dog doors and remote collars and installing the dog doors in two separate rooms such as two different closets or bedrooms, making it so that only one dog can access each room where his food is. I strongly suggest teaching the dogs to eat on a schedule. You can do so by following one of the methods from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/eat-at-certain-times-1 A third option is to purchase to boundary training devices with collars, that emits an electric shock whenever the dog gets close to that area. You could set up the food bowls in separate areas of the house and put one of those devices on each dog and set the range on the boundary device at a close distance, so that the dog has to get very close to the device before he is shocked. Be careful doing this though. You run the risk of teaching the dog to avoid that entire area or avoid food bowls that look similar in general. Teaching both dogs to eat at designated times is the safest and cheapest thing to do. You might want to experiment with gradually switching the dog's food brands to see if they would like another food better also. You can teach a dog to leave another dog's food alone without tools, but that requires being present yourself, and that is simply not practical with both dog's foods being left out all day. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Marco
Boxer
6 Weeks
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Question
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Marco
Boxer
6 Weeks

Hi . I want to crate train my dog but every time it’s goes in the crate he yells and won’t stop . I need help . I also tried putting treats in the cage so he would like to go in the .

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nathan, At six weeks of age whining in a crate is very normal. Six weeks is very young for crate training. That does not mean that you should not start now but expect it to take him several weeks for him to learn to be quiet in the crate. If you just brought him home and he only recently left his litter mates, then he has not learned how to be alone yet. Place him in the crate with a hollow Kong chew toy stuffed with moist dog food that is easy to get out of the Kong. Expect him to cry. When he stops for a couple of seconds, go over to the crate and drop some of his favorite treats inside and leave again without saying anything. He will likely ignore the treats and continue crying at first, but you are showing him that being quiet gets you to come over and gets him rewards. As he becomes more used to the crate his fear should decrease, even if he does not like being in there yet, and he should become more interested in the treats. After he has been in the crate for an an hour, wait until he is quiet for a couple of seconds, and then calmly let him out. Ignore him for five minutes after he gets out so that getting out of the crate will not be too exciting. If he needs to go potty, then take him outside without saying anything to him until he is outside. Expect him to protest every time that you put him in the crate for the next two to three weeks. It is normal. Don't let him out unless he is quiet for at least a couple of seconds or he will continue crying in the crate past the two or three weeks because he will have learned that barking gets him out. Every time that you put him in the crate give him a Kong stuffed with moistened dog food to help him like the crate and to teach him to occupy himself with chewing while he is inside. To stuff a Kong, place Marco's dog food into a bowl and cover it with water. Let is sit out until the food turns into mush. Add more water if needed. Once the food has turned to mush, add a tiny bit of peanut butter to it and very loosely stuff the Kong with the mush. Put the Kong into a ziplock bag and then into the freezer. Make several of these ahead of time so that you can simply grab one from the freezer as needed. When you purchase peanut butter for this, make sure that it does NOT contain Xylitol.Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is deadly to dogs. If the problem persists when he is older you can correct him while he is in the crate, but wait until he is several months older or you might make the problem worse by punishing him. Almost all puppies start out crying in the crate for long periods of time. The trick is to give them something else to do, like chewing, to be consistent, and to wait. You can encourage him to like the crate in other ways by following the methods from the article that I have linked below. Since he is less interested in the treats right now, I recommend using the "Fun and Games" method or multiple methods. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Spike
Pit bull
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Spike
Pit bull
4 Years

He's not eating his food because the other dog is eating it. The owner of both dogs are gone throughout the day and can't monitor both dogs. Especially the food stealing dog. The food stealing dog also eats the food at night if Spike hasn't finished it (mind you Spike's food is far from cheap). How do we get the food stealing dog to stop? He has his own food that he doesn't eat.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Courtney, It sounds like the food stealing is happening when you are not present. If that is the case, then you will need to either train your dog to eat at designated times so that the food is not left out when you are not present, or to use an electric collar barrier device on the other dogs if their owner is willing. The last option is to confine Spike in another room that the other dog's cannot access with his food, to prevent them from getting to his food. I would recommend teaching Spike to eat his food at designated times while you are present and can enforce the other dogs leaving him alone, and then take up the food bowl after he finishes or is full. To teach that check out the Wag! article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/eat-at-certain-times-1 For Spike I would recommend using the "Schedule" method from the linked article. Expect him to be picky for the first few days but he should begin to learn that that is meal time and to eat more within two weeks. When you feed him you can either split his daily food between breakfast and dinner or you can feed him all of it at breakfast and then feed him the remainder at dinner time. Some dogs prefer it to be fresher at each meal though. As long as he is being offered his total daily food amount the ratio of morning food to night food does not matter. Pay attention to when he tends to eat more and offer him the most at that time. Once Spike is eating at designated times, then when it is his food time and you are there to enforce the other dogs leaving his food alone use the "Claim and Control" method from the original article or a combination of the "Leave It" method and the "Claim and Control" method, to teach the other dogs to leave your dog's food alone. Here is the article that you originally commented on where you can find those methods for teaching the dogs to leave him alone. https://wagwalking.com/training/not-eat-other-dogs-food Teaching them to leave his food alone will only work when you are at home though, which is why you need to teach your dog to eat at designated times. With consistency you should be able to be in the next room and not standing right there but your presence is still necessary for the training to be effective. If you do not take up the food after you depart, something else will need to enforce the training. That is why you need to use a barrier device such as PetSafe Pawz Away. Do not use that unless the other owner chooses to do so. You cannot control what another pet owner does only how you train your own dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Gus and Shiva
Australian Shepherd and Ridgeback
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gus and Shiva
Australian Shepherd and Ridgeback
1 Year

I have a 1 year old Australian Shepherd/Ridgeback mix named Gus. He is one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. Shiva is a 6 month old German Shepherd mix that we rescued. Gus has been the only dog in our household for 10 months until we brought Shiva in. They get along really well and are always by each other. Feeding has become our hardest task. We will give them both food at the same time, and Shiva will dig in once the food is there. Gus will walk away or lay down on the couch and watch her eat. He won’t touch his bowl and once shiva walks away he will go over and eat her food. We need advice on how to get him to eat his food and not hers.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melissa, First of all, are the dogs eating two different types of food? If so, then simply switching Gus to a food that he likes better should help part of the problem. He does not necessarily have to be eating what Shiva eats if Shiva needs a more expensive food for health issues, but try switching his food to one that is similarly priced to what he is eating now, but with different main ingredients, until you find one that he likes better. Make the switch slowly over a week each time he is going to run out of food soon and needs a new bag in a week or two. Gradually give him more and more of the new food and less and less of his old food every day until you have switched completely. Making a switch too fast can lead to digestive issues. If the issue is simply envying another dog's food even though it's the exact same thing, then it's time to make the other food very off limits to him and to give him designated times to eat his food and then pick up both foods if he does not eat then. I am assuming that Shiva eats only part of her food when she eats, which is why Gus is able to finish it. If she is consistently leaving a similar amount of food, then feed her twice a day and measure out how much she should be getting according to her weight and activity level. Do this so that she will finish her food completely more often. With two dogs you cannot realistically free feed without causing issues. There needs to be two set feeding times and if the food is not gone within fifteen or twenty minutes, take it up and add the remaining food to the next meal's worth of food. If they are always leaving food, then they are probably being fed too much or need less at that time of day and more at another time of day because that's when they are hungrier. I recommend feeding them breakfast and dinner. To teach Gus not to eat Shiva's food, first teach him the leave it command by following the "Leave It" method from the article that I have linked below. When you get to the step where you practice around clothing, substitute that for a food bowl with a couple of treats in it. As he improves, gradually add more and more food to the practice bowl, until he can leave the entire bowl of food alone and receive treats from another location as his reward for obeying. Use Shiva's food bowl to teach him with. Do not use his own bowl for this or you will be teaching him to avoid his bowl. Leave it article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite After you have taught Gus the "Leave It" command and practiced it around Shiva's food bowl during non-feeding times, then purchase a remote controlled air spray or vibration collar. You want something you can control from further away that will interrupt him well without scaring him too much. When he starts to go toward Shiva's food tell him "Leave It". If he obeys, then drop a treat in his bowl on top of his dog food. If he disobeys, then vibrate or spray him with the collar air by pushing the handheld remote's button. It's very important that you buzz or spray him before he eats Shiva's food, when he simply starts going toward it, because if he eats the food first he will likely learn to simply ignore the buzz or spray and you will have to use something more intense to be effective. If you purchase an air spray collar choose something like PetSafe Spray Commander collar and switch out the citronella spray that it comes with it with one of the unscented air refill canisters. DO NOT use the citronella. They are very harsh because dog's noses are very sensitive and the citronella smell lingers for up to two hours, so your dog is continuing to be corrected long after he disobeyed. After you have practiced teaching him to leave Shiva's food alone and you are ready to stop supervising him at that meal, pick up her food bowl and give him ten minutes with his own bowl, without hers around to distract him. If he does not eat his food, then take up his bowl also and repeat the training and feeding at the next meal. You can feed him his leftovers plus the next meal's worth of food to make up that morning's lost calories. If you are home during the day at some point, then you can offer his own leftover food in the middle of the day one other time before you offer it at dinner time again. This food is simply his leftover food. Don't put Shiva's food down during this time, distract her with something else, since this is not a long term food time. It is just during the training phase while he is learning to eat his own food in the morning and evening when it is offered. Again, you may need to switch his food out for a different type. He may dislike it or he could even be sensitive to something in it and purposely avoiding it because it causes him discomfort. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Piper
cattle dog mix
3 Years
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
Piper
cattle dog mix
3 Years

We have two dogs in our house. Piper belongs to me and Esmè belongs to my room mates. Piper is extremely food driven and dominant over Esmè. Piper will find food and eat t if it is available and will go to any length to get it. She also has a very sensitive stomach and will have diarrhea from eating just about anything. My room mates free feed their dog in her crate and leave the food there all day long. Piper knows this and tries to go upstairs and into their room multiple times a day because she is obviously rewarded with food every time she is successful. I’ve asked them many times to either close their room door as well as the kennel door when the dog isn’t in there and they often fail to do so. I also asked them to stop free feeding their dog and to teach her that food is only available twice a day. None of these things have worked and it creates a big problem. When this happens my dog wakes me up every hour in the night to poop. It has gotten so bad that there is now blood in her stool. They have lashed out at me and told me to train my dog better. Every time she walks up the stairs towards their room I tell her to come back down and leave it and she does. How do you train a food driven dog not to go eat food available when you’re not looking? I don’t think it’s too much to ask them to be responsible and shut the doors. My last resort is a baby gate at the top of the stairs. Please help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, Since you have no control over what your roommate does, then I suggest teaching Piper to avoid that room in general by creating a booby trap or by using a boundary type training device. Since your dog is so food motivated, she has been rewarded with food many times, she knows that the food is there, and it is causing her health problem, then you will probably need to use an electric training device to get truly consistent results. There are a couple of options for this, the first is something called a shock rock or pet barrier device, which is a rock/wire/or box type boundary item emits a signal that corresponds to your dog's electric collar. When your dog gets too close to the "rock" an signal is sent to your dog's collar and she is corrected with a stimulation, like an electric fence or a bark collar. The second option is to use a manual electric training collar and remote, where you control the stimuli level and when it is applied. Before you use either of these methods, spend time teaching your dog not to go through the door to that room. Walk through that door yourself with her following and as soon as she starts to follow you through, quickly turn 180 degrees and step in front of her. She will probably run into you and that is fine. Tell her "Out" or "Aha" in a firm but calm voice when you do this, and then practice this until she will not follow you into the room even when you run in. If she chooses to stay out of the room even in the presence of temptation, then toss treats into the hall for her as a reward. After you have taught her not to go into the room, then you can use a device to enforce the rules that she already knows. The pros to using an remote electric collar is that you can use a lower stimulation level and have more control. You can also typically communicate with her better during training with it to make the lesson clearer. The drawback is that you have to be there to enforce it, so when you are not around she might realize that things are not consistent and begin to go into the room again. To minimize the chance of this, you will need to either confine her when you are not there and hide while you are teaching her to stay out of the room so that she does not associate the correction with just you but also with the room itself. Go somewhere where she cannot see you while she is wearing the collar, and either watch her while you are hiding or set up a camera and spy on her. As soon as she crosses the threshold for the room, hit the stimulation button and then release it again as soon as she moves back out into the hallway, away from the room. If she does not move into the hallway, then immediately go to her and bring her out of the room rather than continuing to apply the stimulation. To find the proper level to use and to learn the proper and safe ways to use electric collars, look into Jamie Penrith from Taketheleaddogtraining and Jeff Gelman from Solidk9training. Both of which have youtube channels with detailed videos about electric collar usage. Do not simply go out and buy a collar without first doing a lot of research on their proper use, fitting, and stimulation levels. Only buy a high quality collar such as Dogtra, Garmin, e-collar technologies, or SportDog. A good quality collar has well over twenty levels of stimulation and is built to give consistent results. Cheap collars can cause terrible damage and inconsistency and should never be used. Be especially wary of collars that ship from China online. To use a shock rock or barrier device you will want to place the barrier rock right inside your roommates' door or by the crate with the food in it and adjust the range down so that your dog will only get corrected when he goes into the room or near the crate, and not when he is in the hallway or a room next door. PetSafe makes one device called Pawsaway that might work. Look into the range on the one you buy and make sure that the range can be small enough for just that small room on the one you buy. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lucky, Willie Nelson, Dulce
Unknown
Lucky: almost 2yrs, Willie:...
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Question
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Lucky, Willie Nelson, Dulce
Unknown
Lucky: almost 2yrs, Willie:...

I have 3 dogs Lucky, Dulce, and Willie Nelson. I've been having some feeding problems, when I go to feed them I separate each bowl and give them food at the same time, but all of them try to eat out of each other's bowls. Dulce is the "pack leader" of this group and she bosses everyone around so she never let's anyone eat her food. Willie is an easy going happy with everyone dog unless someone eats his food, in which case he will try to eat the other dogs food to make up for what he didn't get to eat. Lucky is a rescue dog that was abused, starved, shot in the back and abandoned. So he has lots of issues but he's gradually getting better with listening and following rules. He will try to eat others food but I catch him pretty quick and tell him "That's not your food" and he listens right away. The problem I've been having recently is Dulce will go to outside and eat Willie's food and growl if he gets close so he wont be able to eat unless he steals the other dogs food, then Dulce will guard her original food by growling and showing dominance. Today, lucky was trying to play with Willie, not realizing that Willie was trying to eat Luckys food, Willie snapped at Lucky and growled and snarled which is not like him at all. I saw that dulces food was untouched so I figured she ate all of Willie's food again, so I gave Willie some of Dulces food in a separate room so he could eat in peace which worked for the time being, but it wont work for long. They all listen for the most part when I tell them "thats not your food" but they like to save their food and eat it later so I want to be able to train them to not eat the other dogs food even when I'm not monitoring them.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jess, All three dogs need to be fed in their crates with the doors closed. What they do not eat should be taken up after meal times and feed to them later in the day (typically added to their dinner portion) or you can also feed a lunch with the left over food. It shouldn't be left down where dogs can fight over it. Three dogs should not be free fed (food kept down) in the same household. It will lead to aggression issues. In the crates each dog can relax and will be more likely to eat when they are alone and it's quiet and they are not worried about guarding their own food. It prevents dominance issues, over feeding, and under feeding from stealing or a dog being tense about the potential of stealing. Tenseness during meals can cause some dogs to over eat due to stress of the food being stolen. Others to under eat because they don't feel like eating when anxious, and it leads to aggression from the constant state of stress surrounding food times and having to compete for food. Feed all three dogs in separate locations (ideally crates so you can close the doors to keep others out while they are eating. After thirty-minute if the dogs are not eating, take the food up and offer it in addition to their next meal's food. Some dogs are hungrier in the morning, some in the evening. As long as they get the intended calories for the day, when they choose to eat the food is fine, but it shouldn't sit around during non-meal times or it will cause fights. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cyna
Sheltie
21 Months
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Cyna
Sheltie
21 Months

Hi, feeding time is crazy in my house. I have three dogs, Cyna (21 mo), Sheba (17 mo) and Luna (8 mo). Cyna is the pack lead and a type A personality. Sheba is low key. Luna is like Cyna, high maintenance and battling for lead of the pack. I feed at the same time. Sheba does okay. Cyna and Luna eat their food fast and then go steal either each other's food or Sheba. A nasty fight then breaks out. I pull them away and sometimes Cyna will nip me. I now put them in separate rooms. I pull up all the bowls before I let them out. When I go to get Cyna's empty bowl, I have to hold her collar to keep from nipping me. Is there something I can do to stop this so I don't have to separate them?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chris, I highly recommend feeding them separately long term. I typically recommend feeding dogs in separate locked crates in multi-dog households. You can work on the food stealing but that requires you standing next to them every feeding time the entire time that they eat to enforce the rules - and not leaving them to work it out of their own. I suggest working on "Out" with Cyna to help with her nipping you, so that she has to move away from the bowl on her own. This is an aggression issue so I do recommend hiring a trainer to help you with this for safety. Check out the video that I have linked below. https://youtu.be/19RnH9dLip0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Elsa
Standard Poodle
1 Year
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Elsa
Standard Poodle
1 Year

I have two poodles. Elsa, a year old and Tucker only 5 months. Ever since I started giving them each bones to chew on, at the exact same time when they do their tricks, Elsa doesn’t want the bone I give her. She wants Tucker’s bone, even though I let her smell both so she knows it’s the same bone. But for some reason she refuses her bone and goes over to the younger pup trying to get his bone or waiting for him to walk away and then grab it... while there’s the exact same bone right next to her. Neither are aggressive so that’s not the issue. The issue is Elsa refuses what I give her cause she thinks Tucker has something better and sits there pouting like she got nothing. What is going on here?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marlena, What you are experiencing is what almost every owner of two dogs experiences at some point, even my own dogs did this when my youngest was a puppy before she learned. Elsa doesn't want Tucker's bone because it is better, she wants it simply because he has it. If you give him her bone, she would want that one too suddenly. For whatever reason dogs just tend to want what another dog has. This is normal. When she is hovering around him waiting to steel his bone I suggest making her leave the area. She is pressuring him to give her his bone and this can later lead to tension if she starts to get more pushy about it or he gets more dominant when he is older. Even if it never escalates she is simply being rude toward him and pressuring him so you can help her learn to leave him alone while he chews. Teach her the "Out" command and tell her "Out" when she hovers around him waiting for his bone. After she leaves the area, you can give her her own bone if you want to; she may take it or she might pout and both are fine. It is alright if she pouts as long as she is not being rude toward him and in his space while she does it. To teach her an 'Out' command, 1. First call her over to you, then toss a treat several feet away from yourself while pointing to the area where you are tossing the treat with the finger of your treat tossing hand and saying 'Out' at the same time. 2. Repeat this until she will go over to the area where you point when you say 'Out' before you have tossed a treat. 3. When she will do that, then whenever you tell her "Out" and she does not go to where you are pointing, walk toward her and herd her out of the area with your body. Your attitude should be calm and patient but very firm and business-like when you do this. 4. When you get to where you were pointing to, then stop and wait until she either goes away or stops trying to go back to the area where you were standing before. 5. When she is no longer trying to get past you, then slowly walk backwards to where you were before. If she follows you, then tell her "Out" again and quickly walk toward her until she is back to where she was a moment ago. 6. Repeat this until she will stay several feet away from where you were when you told her 'Out' originally. 7. When you are ready for her to come back, then tell her 'OK' in an up beat tone of voice. 8. Practice this training until she will consistently leave the area when you tell her 'Out'. 9. When she will consistently leave, then practice the training with other areas that you would like for her to leave, such as the kitchen when you are preparing food, a person's space when she is being pushy, an area with a plant that she is trying to dig up, or somewhere with something in your home that she should not be bothering. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Haze
Pit bull
2 Years
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Haze
Pit bull
2 Years

Me & my husband have haze since he was 1 1/2 month & he 2 yrs now we recently got another female pit bull which is 3 years old so at first we had to show haze that she was going to be apart of our family ‘ took 3 days for him to calm down he always been a happy dog very hyper dog so with our female dog her name is diamond she very calm don’t pull obey more haze do also but I realize it’s when he wants to so recently I realize he get greedy when it comes to treats it’s been 3 times he attack’s diamond but he doesn’t bites her he just more like shows his teeth & barks at her the first time she just got scared & peed but the second time she did exactly the same what he did to her . What can I do for haze not to get like that ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mariana, Check out the article that I have linked below and especially pay attention to the sections under the headers "Teach Impulse Control" and "Counter Conditioning". https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/resource-guarding-dog-to-dog I suggest working on commands that generally build Haze's impulse control, like being able to calm down and do a command immediately when excited (which you teach by practicing exciting him, then suddenly giving the command and freezing until he complies, then reward with a treat). You can also work on a long Sit or Down Stay, a long Place command, a structured heel, a watch me command around distractions, and waiting for things like food, going out a door, or fetching a ball until he is told "Okay." Also work on making the appearance of Diamond something Haze looks forward to by working on rewarding Haze when she appears and right after she receives a treat each time (have two people work on this so that the dog's are not beside each other when you first start this. You can also back tie both dogs and stand between them and toss the treats). With the training from the article that I have linked above, the goal is to prevent incidences of aggression while training, but when he does behave poorly, which tends to happen occasionally while training in real life, I suggest using the Out command to make him leave the room as a consequence. To teach Out, check out the article linked below. There is a how to section on teaching Out step by step. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ If the aggression does proceed past a bark then I suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you with the training right away. You do not want it to continue unaddressed or it could quickly become worse because not addressing it correctly can reward his bad behavior, encouraging him to do it more often. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tank
Siberian Husky
1 Year
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Tank
Siberian Husky
1 Year

I'm not sure why he's biting my hand every time I go to pet him. He's a little over a year. He's really my brothers dog. Also he was the smallest of his litter. I'm wondering if he is expected to grow anymore. We've bought toys for him to chew on but he still likes nibbling on my hand.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kat, First, I suggest teaching a Leave It command and practicing it with clothes once he can do it with food, like the article linked below mentions: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Second, check out the video linked below on building respect and teaching calmness. If the mouthing is due to excitement and simply not being taught to stop as a puppy - and it is not because of aggression, then working on general attitude and building respect for you in a way that teaches his mind and is less confrontational, and teaching self-control through Leave It so that he understands what you are asking him to do are what I recommend. If the biting is related to him not wanting to be touched and using his mouth to stop that touch, then I also suggest teaching respect, but work on desensitizing him to being touched using positive reinforcement as well. To desensitize him to touch use his meal kibble. Measure his kibble into a bag (don't grab it out of his bowl), and feed him one piece of kibble at a time as a reward for tolerating touch. Start with areas he enjoys being touched on first, until he is comfortable with those areas, and gradually move onto touches in other areas also. Be gentle and try to make the training fun and relaxing for him. If he shows any signs of aggression while doing this, stop and have a professional trainer help you with this. You may also need to use a basket muzzle for this if he shows signs of aggression. For example, gently touch his side while you feed him a treat - the touch should be brief and stop when the treat is gone. Touch his head and feed a treat. Touch his collar and feed a treat. Touch his paw and feed a treat, ect...until he looks forward to being touched. Be careful while doing this if he seems nervous. As far as the growth, I cannot say for certain but he is likely 90-95% done with height. He may grow up to an inch more, but most of his height should be there by now. Dogs, especially males often do get deeper chests and gain muscle mass until 2-3 years of age so his weight and appearance may change. At 1 year his growth plates are just now beginning to close, making his bones and joints less fragile. The exact age for these things vary a bit depending on breed, size, sex, and genetics. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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scrappy
not sure
2 Years
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Question
-1 found helpful
scrappy
not sure
2 Years

Hello, I have a two year old dog and another dog as well. My two year old (Scrappy) is a wonderful dog, but she has a fear of loud noises mostly when she is outside playing. Like sometimes in my people in my area might be fixing there roof or something and the noise makes her very scared She will start running all over trying to get back in the house. What could I do to help?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Julie, Try gradually building up his tolerance of loud noises and pairing them with something positive. Also provide your dog with a secure location that he can go to to help him manage his own fears. Typically somewhere covered, enclosed, and den like. To build up his tolerance, one great method is to find recordings of the loud noises that your dog is typically afraid of. Play the noise quietly in the background while you give your dog treats and do very fun and exciting things with him. You want the recording to be quiet enough that your dog acts like he does not notice it and remains relaxed and excited about the treats and fun. Over several months, gradually increase the volume level of the recording while doing fun things with your dog. Again only increase the noise a bit at a time, so that your dog always remains relaxed and happy. You do not want to make the fear worse by going too fast. Overtime you can turn up the recording's volume level to the level that your dog was previously scared of, but only play it at that level when your dog is distracted by fun things and for short periods of time. This should help your dog manage other loud noises as well when they occur. When you are with your dog and he hears a loud noise, try to act up beat, confident, and excited about the noise yourself, and reward your dog for courage in the situation. You do not want to act sorry for him or nervous also, because he will be looking to you for direction and if he thinks you are worried about the noise or worried about him, that communicates to him that the noise really is something to be afraid of. Working with the recording should help your dog, but the truth is most fear of loud noises is best prevented while dogs are still puppies, and certain dogs are more naturally prone to noise sensitivity, so also be mindful that Scrappy may need you to continue to make noises positive for him even after he improves, in order to not regress again. Be patient with with and try to act confident and upbeat to encourage him to be brave. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

My dog HAD the exact same problem! I have a 12 yr old Rat Terrier. She's been a seizure dog since the age of 4. For her,it seems that she developed the fear of noises after she began having seizures.(shes on phenobarb/idiopathic causes) It began with fireworks and gunshot noises in the distance. Then if someone slammed their door,she would freak out and drag me home.I couldn't even pick her up! It began to get worse! Hammering on a roof,cars honking,screeching of tires,you name it.Even gunshot type sounds on the TV..This happened to often that it impacted walk time with my other dog. Anyway,I did some research and found an article that really helped. This person said that giving in to their fears it doesn't help your dog. It makes them worse. Creating a safe space is good but sometimes not practical and it becomes a crutch.Just like people,dogs need to face their fears (like this)and we can gently help them out before it spirals out of control-like my dog.
Here's what we did: When we would go outside/walking,if she heard any sound that freaked her out,I would stop and I would say to her "GOOD DOG! You are such a GOOD DOG! I love you so much! Everything is ok. I wont let anything happen to you." things like that.. Also,I would stroke her over and over and after i got her calmed somewhat,we would walk forward. At first,it was impossible and she would pull me back home.(even try to run!)But eventually,it began to actually work!
Guess what? She is ok now! I never thought she would ever get over her fear of noises! Then she developed a fear of the "DING" of a new toaster oven I bought.Instead of avoiding the ding, I decided that I would use the same approach but a little different spin. I got a treat ready for her and when we heard the ding,she would try to run to the bedroom and hide,I would yell WOOHOO!! WHO WANTS A COOKIE!! She would turn around and run over for her cookie! LOL! NOW she hears the ding and it doesn't faze her! She doesn't even come looking for a cookie either! So the key is conditioning your pup to work through his/her fears and 'forge ahead!' It took me about 6 mos on the outside noises and only about 3 mos on the ding. It may vary with your dog. Now we can walk with confidence! OH! There is a park near our home and almost every Saturday during many times of the year, they have a huge fireworks display.We live SO close that our home shakes when they go off! She doesn't even freak out over that anymore!! Blessings to you and your wonderful sweet pup! Ciao!
Oh yeah, Thundershirt is a good start but it doesn't always work. I also use Bach Flower for her fear of rain on the roof.For some reason,that's the only thing that I can't get her to shake off.. But hey! Her turnaround is nothing short of miraculous!

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Annie
Jack Russell Chiwawa
15 Weeks
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Annie
Jack Russell Chiwawa
15 Weeks

My challenge is trying to get her to not gobble the food she has and want more.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brittany, Some dogs are simply chow hounds and would eat as much as you give them. For such dogs, first make sure they are being fed the right amount according to breed and health. You should be able to easily feel pup's ribs but they shouldn't protrude at all. Pup should have a slight tuck at their waste but not an extreme on, and their hips and spine should be easy to find but not protruding. You can check with your vet if you are unsure about their weight. If the hunger is more recent, you may want to have your vet check for a medical condition like a tapeworm (I am not a vet). With those things figured out, if pup is still acting hungry, then you likely just have a dog who loves food - my recent two dogs were that way. For such a dog you can't teach them to dislike food without running the risk of creating a picky eater, but you can measure their food out each day for them using a measuring scoop, like a one cup/8 oz scoop. To slow down their eating you can either purchase a slow feeding bowl, which has lots of smaller compartments to force pup to slow down, or place several tennis balls in pup's bowl so that they have to move the balls around to access the food, be sure the balls are big enough pup won't try to eat those! You can also feed them in stuffed chew toys instead of via a bowl - this has the added benefit of keeping them busy mentally, adding entertainment, slowing them down, and preventing certain bad behaviors by teaching them to chew on chew toys instead of bark or destroy things when bored. There are multiple ways to stuff a hollow chew toy. One way involves putting pup's food into a bowl with water, letting it soak until the food turns to mush, placing a straw through a Kong toy, and loosely stuffing the Kong with food around the straw. Once it's stuffed, freeze the entire thing. The next day take it out of the freezer, remove the straw (the straw prevents suction by creating a small hole), and give the treat to pup. You can make several of these ahead of time and grab from the freezer as needed. Just be sure to measure how much food you are using to make them so you know how many Kongs to give to pup to equal their daily food amount. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden.

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Lexi, 8 yr lab..... Callie, 6 mo Cavalier King Charles
Lab / CavilerKing Charles
6 Months
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Lexi, 8 yr lab..... Callie, 6 mo Cavalier King Charles
Lab / CavilerKing Charles
6 Months

Lexi, the 8 yr lab scarfs down her food... she lives to eat.... more than any other breed I've ever had.

Then there is Callie, 6 mo Caviler King Charles who seems to be very finicky eater. Found a dog food she is better at eating but still very slow, 30 minutes and sometimes only if we hand feed, which we try to avoid. She never gets table scraps! Now when we feed the lab, Callie will do everything possible to get to the big dogs food bowl and devour as much as she can before we snatch her away. So strange that she will eat aggressively when eating with the bird dog but not on her own. We even tried feeding Callie in play pen with big dog on other side of fence. Big dog eats like normal and Callie doesn't eat, just no interest.

Don't know eating habit of Callie before we got her at 8 .wks. so what gives and how do we get her to eat faster than 30 minutes plus?

George S

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. It is an unusual problem for sure. This article has great tips on distracted eating: https://freshpet.com/blog/picky-pup-recognize-distracted-eating/. Allowing Callie a quiet place to eat on her own may help as well as trying an aromatic food (you could discuss this with the vet, perhaps) to ease the problem somewhat. However, there are dogs who prefer to nibble at their food and return to it throughout the day which is not always ideal when there is a second dog in the house. How about giving Callie 4-5 small meals per day instead of her usual eating schedule? Maybe she will eat in smaller quantities. Consider buying her a treat toy or interactive feeder to provide mental stimulation when she eats; doing so may pique her interest. If she eats kibble, add water to make a broth and see if she likes that. As well, I would take her to the vet for a dental checkup to rule out an issue that you may not be aware of. Good luck!

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Belle
ShiChi
5 Months
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Belle
ShiChi
5 Months

My roommates/landlord free feed their dogs who differ in ages AND sizes.(Which I REALLY don't agree with) Belle was their dog at first, but chose me as her pet parent, so they said she was mine. I buy high quality, small breed puppy food for her, but because their damn food is out ALL the time & she ate that first, she grazes CONSTANTLY! EVERY day,I feed her at set times & some rare days she'll eat an entire serving of the "new food", but it's been weeks & it's hit and miss. Sometimes, she'll only eat the wet food & not the kibble. I did the whole mixing the old food in with it thing for longer than I've read I should've. The other issue is that I work & as much as I love my roommates cannot depend on them to feed her when or how i would. I am SO frustrated with this whole thing!!! Called a vet - no help. Looked online, tried some things. PLEASE,PLEASE!!! I AM DESPERATE to get her to eat food suited for her that I spent a ton of money and time researching on. Any advice or assistance would be greatly, greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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Benji
Sheprador
2 Months
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Benji
Sheprador
2 Months

We have two older dogs who aren't the best trained but work. We need help potty training and getting him to leave their food alone.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to send you information on potty training, as well as how to teach the command "leave it". Leave it is great for training your dog to stop getting into something, or going after something. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

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Achilles
Labrador Retriever
10 Months
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Achilles
Labrador Retriever
10 Months

Hello!
So lately I have been having an issue at feeding time with my 2 pups. First it started with our new 3month old puppy Astrea (grey in pic) eating her food waaaay too fast and then going over to Achilles (black in pic) bowl (10mth old) and trying to eat his food. We got Astrea a slow feed dog bowl so she was no longer inhaling her food. And that worked for a bit with them both eating together at the same pace. However, now for some reason Achilles will not eat his food until after she eats her food and then tries to eat his. Astrea listens when we tell her to leave his food but, then Achilles leaves and still won’t eat unless she comes back and is staring at him eat. This is pretty annoying as you can imagine. Achilles usually doesn’t show aggression, sometimes he will let out a little growl, other times he lets her eat out of the both with him... I hope you can help! My boyfriend and I leave on vacation soon and want to make sure they won’t be doing this for the dog sitter.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, this is a curious situation! You may have to feed your dog in separate rooms. It seems as though Achillies may feel that he does not have permission to eat until Astrea gives it. She is the more dominant of the two and this may be affecting him. Try feeding them apart, not just across the kitchen, and as well, put something tempting in with his food the first time to encourage him to eat. If he doesn't eat, put the bowl away and try again at the next mealtime. Feed them separately until you are confident that Achilles is ready to eat at a normal pace and without confusion or question. You may have to do this for a while, and even permanently. I have three dogs and feed them each in their own room because the youngest hovers over the older two as soon as he's done otherwise. Good luck!

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Bandit
Chihuahua
9 Years
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Bandit
Chihuahua
9 Years

Hi there,
We have two dogs, Bandit and Bugsy. Bandit has always had food issues, the type of dog that is always scrounging for food even though he is well fed. Bugsy is an elderly dog, 14 yrs, who has some cognitive issues and sleeps most of the day. Also a Chi. He isn't always hungry and we usually need to try several times a day to get him to eat. When he does eat, it usually takes a long time (30-60 mins) for him to finish it. He starts and stops a lot and often doesn't finish. In the meantime, Bandit is regularly sneaking over to steal his food. We generally just yell at him to make him stop and though he stops at the moment, he just does it again later. He also has a number of other problems: stealing our people food even off the dining room table, humping the elderly dog (who gets scared very easily and doesn't fight back), peeing in the wrong places, etc. Overall, he (we) need a lot of help to train him. We'd like to have someone come over somewhat regularly (1x/wk?) to teach us how to train him.

THank you,
Robin

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Robin, It sounds like you may be looking to hire a WAG! in-person trainer. To do so, download the WAG! app if you haven't already done so. There you can fill out a profile with you and your dogs' information, then search for trainers in your area and contact one of the trainers who shows up in your area, who you feel would be a good fit, giving them the same information that you just told me about your dog's and training needs. I am not located in your area most likely, but am here for online training support. In the meantime, I suggest starting by working on a Leave It and Out command with Bandit. Check out the articles linked below. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Willow
Catahoula Cur
1 Year
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Willow
Catahoula Cur
1 Year

Food aggressive towards other animals food not just her own and has not experienced starvation at all but will leave her full bowl to run them off from their bowl and aggressively guards an empty bowl and is growling and snapping when on my bed getting affection. She has never been abused or has any lack of excercise as she lives on 50 acres and despite feeling like I have done everything to ensure a close bond she doesn't come to me for affection and doesn't seem to want to please me in any way and I don't feel like she would protect me or even care if I was there or not and I am having trouble leash training I have had her since she was a few months old and would hate to think that I may have to re-home her as I love her.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jammie, First, I suggest feeding all the dogs in separate locked crates. Give them 30-45 minutes to eat, and if they aren't actively eating still remove the food and give another opportunity to eat again later - no free feeding or feeding in the same room out of crates, and no walking into another dog's crate to eat left food - take the food back out and close the crate doors when no one is inside. Second, work on more structure in the home between dogs in general. It sounds like pup is possessive of you and food, which can often be improved by building more respect and boundaries. Check out the article linked below and practice all three methods with pup. You can also practice the methods with all the dogs for best results, but focus the most on Willow since they are the one guarding. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Create some new house rules and you be the one to enforce them - like no begging, demanding of your attention through things like climbing onto your lap, nudging, barking at you, ect... You putting themselves between you or an object and another dog to block the other dog, no rushing through doors ahead of others with pushiness, ect...Make pup leave the room whenever they are breaking a rule. Mange the dogs interactions between each other too - if one dog is pestering, stealing things, or otherwise not respecting another dog's space, make that dog leave the area where the first dog is too. You enforcing household rules calmly between the dogs can take the pressure off the dogs to do it themselves through aggression, it can decrease stress between them, teach new rules and boundaries, and prevent as much competing for dominance. If pup displays any form of aggression toward you, I would also desensitize pup to wearing a basket muzzle over the course of a couple of weeks - how fast you move through training depends on how receptive to it they are and how relaxed they remain with it. Have pup wear the basket muzzle during the day while you are home to keep you and the others safe while new rules and boundaries are established, if the extra safety may be needed for you. Use a soft basket muzzle to make it more comfortable and allow pup to still open their mouth while wearing it. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s Finally, I do recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression to help you work with pup in person, to desensitize them to other dogs being around food and you. This is done with safety measures like a bag tie leash, rewards for calmness and tolerance, careful remote collar type corrections at the correct predetermined low level for unwanted responses, the right amount of space between the dogs during training to help pup succeed at this - gradually lessening the distance as pup improves, based on how they are responding with their body language. This is something that's carefully done for safety and behavior modification reasons, so this part is best done with professional help too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bella & Benji
Border Collie
3 Years
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Bella & Benji
Border Collie
3 Years

Hello, I have 2 collies,one eats all their food immediately while the other likes to nibble throughout the day. More recently the dog that eats theirs immediately has started to help him self to the others. I dont want to take the slow eating dogs food away as she eats throughout the day at her own leisure and i cannot feed them separate as again the slow eating dog nibbles. We have had 2 dogs for nearly a year now and this issue has only just started happening. I have been forceful with the fast eating dog pushing him away and telling him to leave however as soon as we both leave the room hes straight back at the food. Any help is appreciated.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, the easiest solution would be to feed each dog in separate closed crates. Give each dog no more than 45 minutes to eat, then if they are not actively eating, let them out and put the food away. At first, I would feed the slow eater breakfast, lunch and dinner, to give them an extra opportunity to eat, while they are learning to eat more quickly. Once they are doing well, you can try removing the lunch meal. In many cases the slow eater will not eat much breakfast or lunch at first, but as they realize the food is taken up and have opportunity to get hungry again leading up to lunch and dinner, they are more likely to begin eating what's given to them at meal times. Some dogs also simply aren't hungry until later in the day and prefer to eat a little bit in the morning and most of their daily food ration in the evening - if you find pup is doing that with the new schedule, that should be fine as long as they eat extra in the evening to make up for overall calorie need - you can begin feeding less in the morning if so and give extra at night, so it equals the same amount of food in a day overall- if you have any concern for pup's health, like if they tend to get low blood sugar, speak with your vet and defer to them though - I am not a vet. I would also recommend teaching your fast eater an Out command - which means leave the area. Without supervising the dogs during feeding, you would have to set up something to automatically deter pup away from the other dog's food, which also means likely feeding the dogs in different rooms of the house and using something like a pet barrier device to keep the fast eater out of the room the other dog's food is in. A pet barrier device is a bit like an electric fence. You can set the range to be just that one room where the food is, and pup wears a collar that come with the device, and whenever they get within range of the barrier device (placed by the other dogs food) pup is corrected by the collar without you there. Practice the Out command without the barrier device first though with the food in the new location, so that pup understands that that room is off-limits before they start to be corrected by the collar. Make sure the room where the food is in, is not a room that that dog needs to be in at any point, since they will be learning to avoid that room. Out: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Personally, I recommend attempting to teach the slow eating to eat at set times in the crate first though, since that creates less stress around food and overall. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Texas and Cooper
Great Pyrenees
7 Weeks
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Texas and Cooper
Great Pyrenees
7 Weeks

So my puppy suddenly doesnt like his puppy food and will go for the other grown up dogs food. We have tried putting the puppy food where the grown up dogs food is and he still wont take it. We are not sure if this is unhealthy or anything but he really loves the grown up dogs food.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think this is best answered by a vet who can let you know if the food is okay, once you've told them the brand of food and the ingredients. We have a feature "ask a vet a question". Take a look here and you can do so. https://wagwalking.com/condition/digestive-problems. My concern would be that the food would not have all of the nutrients that a puppy needs. You can try feeding the puppy in a separate room or try adding a little canned food (puppy food) mixed in with the kibble to make it very palatable. Try putting the food in an interactive feeder to make eating time more interesting and fun. Good luck!

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Cookie and Nina
Cocker spaniels
12 Years
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Cookie and Nina
Cocker spaniels
12 Years

Cookie and Nina have a sad story. In October animal control seized them from their owner who was suffering dementia and wasn’t caring for them. Cookie is estimated to be 12 and Nina is estimated to be 9.

They were 6 weeks in a shelter. Had to be sedated to have 6 pounds of matted fur shaved off each of them. Currently being treated for ear and eye infections. Nina (fat black younger one) has also been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and is being treated for a bladder infection.

House training has been challenging because they don’t like the crate, and when unsupervised (like overnight) they are babygated in the laundry room. Maybe they were house trained at one time but between their owner’s dementia and the shelter they have gotten used to pottying wherever.

More concerning is feeding time. I think they’re used to eating out of the same bowl - they will both dip into their bowl for a mouthful of kibble then drop it on the floor to eat it. As you can see from the photo Cookie is much smaller than Nina. But Cookie won’t eat out of her own bowl - not even peanut butter! She’ll look at her bowl then try to go to Nina’s bowl. (Nina has no issue eating out of her own bowl.) I’ll block Cookie and turn her back to her bowl but she might only eat a mouthful. She’s about 5-6 pounds underweight and I don’t know how to encourage her/reassure her that she needs to eat. This has been going on since I brought them home from the shelter on Saturday. (And if they’ve spilled any kibbles on the floor, they both leave them there after I’ve picked up their bowls.)

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Liz, Cookie's food issues will likely take a bit of trial and error, with the main goal being to simply get her eating enough healthy again before working on anything too formal. Here are somethings I would experiment with. 1. Will Cookie eat out of Nina's bowl when Nina isn't there? Is so, after feeding both dogs in Nina's bowl, I would remove Nina somewhere that Cookie can still see, like on just the outside of the exercise pen if being fed in the pen, and add another portion to Nina's bowl for Cookie to also eat. 2. Work on teaching some very easy commands to Cookie, like looking at you, and have Cookie work for additional kibble by performing some commands. It can seem counter intuitive but some picky dogs will eat better if they are working for the food. I would do this on top of the food they are getting from Nina's bowl and not in place, to maximize calories. 3. Have you check with your vet about possible nausea or teeth issues? I would investigate side effects of medication or other medical issues that might be causing nausea, or possible teeth issues that could cause an aversion to hard food. If so, a change in diet or food texture - like soft food, could help temporarily. Hard food tends to be better for preventing teeth plaque, but once there are already issues with digestion or teeth, soft might be accepted better. I would speak with your vet about these things. I am not a vet. 4. If pup does better with soft food and it seems to be texture that helps, I would check with your vet about adding some goat's milk to pup's hard kibble, then you can slowly decrease the amount of milk as pup's health improves if your vet is able to treat teeth issues. I would also run this by your vet first. I am not a vet. 5. If pup likes toys, use toys to stuff dog food in. Again, having to work for it will sometimes help, especially if pup has an anxiety about the dog bowl due to something in their past. Toys like Kong wobbles can later be converted to bowls by unscrewing the top half if successful at getting pup to eat via the toy. At this age, it's also possible accidents are in part due to incontinence. It's hard to say how much is ability to hold it vs. their history. Check out the Exercise pen method from the article linked below. I would try using disposable real grass pads to make the difference between the potty and the rest of the house more distinct than pee pads would be. Rewarding pup's for going on the grass will be super important. When you can't be with the dogs working on the training, I would have the exercise pen set up in one area and keep accidents and the indoor potty confined to just that area. Exercise pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Disposable real grass pads: www.doggielawn.com www.freshpatch.com www.porchpotty.com I would start with the cheaper options, and not consider the porch potty until you are having good success with the cheaper ones, simply to save you money incase a switch it needed or outside training goes well enough. When you can work with them, I recommend getting both dogs used to wearing a doggie diaper using treats and working on the tethering method from the article below. Use treats that are easy on the stomach, like plain liver paste, to reward pups while putting the diapers on, then play with or gently distract pups if they start chewing at the diapers. In this case, you don't want pups to go potty in the diaper. It's only there just in case and because sometimes the feeling of a diaper will actually discourage a dog from pottying in it the first few times, until they get used to the sensation - ideally pups won't get used to the sensation and you can use that to your advantage. With pup tethered to you with a hands free leash, pay close attention to pup's signals they need to go, and quickly take them to the grass potty or outside, and reward with praise and treat when they go - after you have removed the doggie diaper before they go potty that is. At this age and with their history, they may always need to be kept in the exercise pen near the grass pad at night and when you are not home to prevent accidents elsewhere, even after learning to hold it during the day in the rest of the house while you are there, so you may not phase out the exercise pen completely in your case - that will depend on how they do. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Snickers
Springer spaniel
10 Years
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Snickers
Springer spaniel
10 Years

Two dogs
Snickers 10 years old English Springer Spaniel
Reece’s 10 weeks old lab/German Shepherd mix mutt

We recently got a puppy Reece’s and our older dog Snickers is sharing everything toys and beds. There are only two problems one Snickers dose not like when Reece’s touches him even if just a paw if there sitting next to each other. When think it will get a bit better in time knowing that they will probably never cuddle together. We are okay with that. The other major problem is both dogs are food motivated, Snickers dose not like when Reece’s comes near any type of food he has. Treat, bone, dog food, or little food from our plates to lick clean. Yet Snickers will not hesitant to go up to Reece’s and steal his food. When feed them at the same time and watch to make sure each dog is eating there own food, after immediately picking up the food bowls after they are done. But sometimes we give the bone, a ball with treats inside, or let them like the plates clean, to keep them busy. Snickers will always finish his first and them try to take Reece’s treat or what ever we give him, Reece’s will sometimes momentarily forget about the treat then Snickers takes it. Sometimes even his food which we have to guard Reece’s to make sure he gets all for his food as he is growing up. After Snickers steals the food, Reece’s then comes up to get it back or see what he is doing but Snicker will not let him have it back. We make sure to always give them each a piece of what ever to make sure there is no food jealousy. Yet then puppy is not a fast enough eater to finish dog food or treat. It’s like you can NOT come near my food but I’m allowed to come and get you’re food. We need to figure this out now when the puppy is still small enough to be picked up and moved easier, and can not hurt older dog. But I can see down the line a bigger problem and there being a big fight with blood. We need them to not steal each other food because both are fast eater and need slow feeding dog feeder toys to help each of them. Right now we are using slow feeding dog bowls but have 3 different dog slow feeder interact toys for them and we would at one point need to use. When camping or have a lot of guests over after COVID though.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elizabeth, First, I recommend feeding the dogs separately in closed crates, not only to stop the food stealing now but also to stop the stress that's related to each dog guarding or hovering around the others' food, since that stress can lead to guarding and food aggression later if not prevented. I would also work on teaching both dogs Place, and work up to each dog being able to stay on their own designated place spot for 1-2 hours. Give dog food stuffed chew toys in crates on while pup's are on separate place beds they are not allow to leave. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo I suggest teaching both dogs Out (which means leave the area). Out is great for giving direction and giving a consequence of leaving the room when there is pushiness or mild resource guarding. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ I also suggest crate training both dogs so that they can have a calm place to chew on a chew toy away from each other when things are tense, or one dog is pestering the other, or you are not home to supervise while they are still getting to know each other. Crate training is an important potty training and safety measure for a young pup also. An open crate while you are home can also serve as an additional Place to practice, and feeding both dogs in separate locked crates can prevent food resource guarding and remove stress around mealtimes! Surprise method - for introducing crate for first time: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate I also recommend teaching Leave It to use to stop food or toy stealing. Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem, you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your other dog when he is trying to sleep, tell pup Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your other dog, blocking the pup from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your other dog. If your older dog pushes pup or gets between you and pup uninvited, tell your older dog Out and enforce him leaving. When he is waiting for his turn patiently, then send pup to place and invite your older dog - no demanding of attention right now from either dog. Make them wait or do a command first to work for your attention if pushiness is an issue, and make them leave if being pushy or aggressive. If your older dog growls at pup, make your older dog leave the room while also carefully disciplining pup if pup antagonized him. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your dogs - you want them to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for them to learn respect for each other because you have taught it to them and not because they have used aggression. Don't feel sorry for either dog but give clear boundaries instead. Don't expect them to be best friends right now - the goal is calm co-existence. When puppy matures and they have learned good manners around each other, they may decide to be friends as adults, but calmness, tolerance, and co-existence comes first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jumbo
Bolognese
2 Years
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Jumbo
Bolognese
2 Years

My dog only listens when i have treats with me how do i make him listen?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vanesa, Is pup not obeying the method for leaving other dogs' food alone or in general not listening unless you have treats? There are a few ways to address this. I would start by phasing out the use of food rewards. Hide the treat behind your back, not showing it to pup until after they obey. After they obey, present the treat. Once pup can consistently obey that way, have pup obey commands multiple times, like three times, before giving the treat. Starting with just a couple commands, then requiring pup to obey more commands before earning the treat as pup improves. Next, only give pup a treat for especially good obedience - like obeying very quickly, holding the position for longer, or exceeding their normal skills in another way. You may also need to switch to a different method. If this seems to be the case, please submit a question with a bit more details of what you are currently doing and how pup is responding. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Kali
Alaskan malamu
12 Weeks
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Kali
Alaskan malamu
12 Weeks

Hi. We have a 2 year old intact male malamute who is a take it or leave it with food and recently got a female puppy malamute who is about 12 weeks, she is food obsessed to the extreme. We got her a lick matt to try and slow her down which hasn't really helped but our biggest issue is that she can't help herself but still from the other dogs bowl. We have tried "leave it" for a couple of weeks but it doesn't seem to be making a difference. I also worry about our older dog now as where we have been "protecting" his food for him he has now started growling at her on occasions which is great but he tends to leave his food until she comes near it and will only eat it when she gives it attention. Unsure how good or bad this behaviour is. I'd love any tips on how to stop the puppy being so consumed and unable to be distracted from being so obsessed. Imagine the game hungry hippo - that is what she is like grabbing food from his bowl... they are raw fed.
Any help would be appreciated, thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kate, I recommend feeding both dogs in separate locked crates with the doors closed, so that neither dog can steal or hover around the other one, which helps with the stealing behavior while pup is learning better self-control at this age, and continuing to practice Leave It with you. This also prevents stress around mealtimes which can increase resource guarding aggression and lead to future fights if that continues. Since your older dog is picky, I would give them three opportunities to eat in the closed crate away from pup. If your schedule will allow, that can be morning, noon, and evening. If your schedule won't allow, have that be morning, when you first get home, and before bed if pup still hasn't eaten his food. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Duke
Great Dane
18 Weeks
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Duke
Great Dane
18 Weeks

What should I do because I have another white Great Dane and they often fight like duke will put his mouth open on her neck and she will maybe pull his lip and then sometimes when duke gets close to her she will bark , and sometime I find duke on top of her I’ve had duke longer than I’ve had the white one I got duke when he was 14 weeks and a got the white one one week ago




What should I do

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kganya, I recommend finding a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression to work with you in person where you are. This often involves teaching the dogs to associate each other with good things by rewarding them for tolerance and calmness around each other when the other dog isn't watching - you don't want either rushing over for a treat too and causing a fight. It will likely involve teaching things like Place, Down-Stay, Leave It, and Crate Training to help manage their interactions and practice calmly co-existing in the same room while giving each other space. Your relationship with both dogs would be evaluated, since pups both need to trust and respect you so that they will allow you to mediate their interactions, making and enforcing rules for how they can interact with each other. Certain management strategies need to be in place, like crating them when you can't supervise, basket muzzles if they are drawing blood when they fight, and feeding them separately in separate closed crates so neither feels the need to protect their food. Once they are safe enough to be in the same general space, practicing heeling walks with some space between them - two people walking the dogs, practicing obedience together, and other calm, structured activities, can help them bond through a shared purpose while in a calm mindset. If either isn't neutered or spayed, how hormones are effecting things also needs to be evaluated, like if the female is near heat, or the male is constantly trying to hump her. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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