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Growling Over Food – Don’t Let Your Pups Grow With It

By Stan Beck

Growling over food is a behavior that is common to puppies because they have always been exposed to constant competition to it since day 1 of their lives.

Dogs are animals and animals live by instincts. By instinct, any animal’s mission is to survive, and nature’s way is to allow only the fittest to carry on.

The instinct to preserve itself could provide the best justification why puppies [dogs] growl over food. Its constant exposure to competition for its mother’s milk every mealtime time has taught to guard whatever assurance of survival it has.

It is not strange to see a puppy growling over food as you go near it when it is eating. But for clarification, this natural behavior is not caused by an abnormality in your puppy. But an outside intervention is needed to have this behavior arrested before it can escalate to aggression.

Stop Your Dog’s Growling Over Food

For a start, you should always remember that dogs learn faster if their positive attitude is reinforced with rewards or praises rather than scolding or punishing them for doing wrong. Likewise, if you show your anger to your dog for its growling over food habit, it will read your scolding as your anger as a threat to get a share at the food it is eating, your dog will guard its food all the more with intensified growling.

If you happen to take the dog’s food dish away, be sure to return it with something that your pet will enjoy. It’s a way of telling it that the action means more goodies coming.

Make your dog accustomed to your presence when it eats. By doing this a number of times, it will make your dog realize that you are not interested in its food at all, but keen on giving more instead; by adding little bits of food as it munches on its meal. After a few more times of this scenario, you can already earn your dog’s trust and it would no longer mind seeing you close by as it eats.

By the time you earn your dog’s confidence, you may go a bit further by lifting the dish up a few inches from the ground, but be sure to put in some food in the process. You can then give the dog back its dish and say “good boy,” to let it know that you are pleased with what it does. After a few bites, lift its dish again this time a bit higher. The dog is expected to play along with this because it is expecting you to add some more to its meal. Constantly doing this will make your pet abandon its habit of growling over food. Allow other members of your family to do this, but after you are sure that your pet already learns to trust people being near it when it eats. But don’t let children do it without your supervision.

Dealing With Dogs That Bite When Approached While Eating

A different method is used to train dogs that bite as hey are approached while eating. This is done by taking its bowl and placing it on a table. The bowl should be visible to your dog but not low enough for it to reach. Sit at the table and command your dog to sit fronting you. Feed the dog by hand one piece at a time. If the dog takes his food slowly, praise it and say ‘good gentle,’ but if it bites your hand in any manner, clinch the dog-food and say the command ‘gentle’ in a firm voice. Give the dog its food only when it attempts to take it gently from you hand. This will take weeks of constant practice. What is important here is to train your dog associate gentle behavior with a food reward and to let it treat you as its food giver and not the taker.

Teach your dog to trust you. This is one of the ways to stop its habit of growling over food.

Growling over food is a behavior that needs to be addressed before it can escalate into a bigger problem. Stan Beck can help you build earn the trust of your pet with his free Dog Training Guide. His dog training website is also a source of valuable insights that can help you improve your dog’s behavior for free.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Beck, Stan "Growling Over Food – Don’t Let Your Pups Grow With It." Growling Over Food – Don’t Let Your Pups Grow With It. 18 Jan. 2011. 26 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Beck, S (2011, January 18). Growling Over Food – Don’t Let Your Pups Grow With It. Retrieved December 26, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Beck, Stan "Growling Over Food – Don’t Let Your Pups Grow With It"

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