Learning how to prevent your puppy from feeling the need to guard their food bowl is an important step in eliminating “Resource Guarding”. Sometimes dogs can become fearful of losing access to things they value the most and this causes them to become defensive. A dog who guards their food bowl might start to freeze position, growl, snap or even bite if you come too close. This behavior is a result of feeling anxious and worried about losing something important to them.
In order to prevent this ever occurring with your puppy there are a couple of things you should do. At mealtimes when your puppy is eating, practice sitting with them. The aim is to hang out together nice and calmly. You can feed your puppy their food in multiple smaller portions so that when their bowl is empty you can lift it up and add more food before giving it back to them. This will help your puppy to see it’s great to have you nearby at mealtimes.
You can even teach your puppy to have good manners around the bowl. To do this just wait until your puppy sits before lowering the bowl to the ground. Your puppy should stay sitting until you release them to eat their food. Having your puppy nice and calm around their food bowl will also lessen the likelihood of bowl related issues developing. When your puppy is relaxed with you being nearby at mealtimes you can also start to approach them whilst they are eating and add extra bonuses to their bowl each time. This will teach them that people approaching is never something to be worried about. These tips will help ensure your puppy never becomes concerned about people being nearby when they’re eating.