Love-A-Bull Pit Bull Meetup Message Board › Advice for food aggression and toddler

Advice for food aggression and toddler

A former member
Post #: 10
Hi Everyone,
I am needing a little advice. We just adopted an Pit mix puppy about two weeks ago and she is showing food aggression toward my toddler. She does not show aggression toward me. I keep testing her by putting my hand in her bowl while she is eating. I have scolded her and taken her food away when she growls at my daughter. She did do better today. I give her positive reinforcement when is nice with my daughter close by. She does not show aggression at other times. They will tug on toys together and things like that. They cuddle together in the dog bed without any issue. Of course I am always with them supervising. We thought to get a puppy so the dog would grow up with a young child and be used to it. But now I am worried because the dog is going to grow a lot faster than the child. The puppy also growled at the Vet tech today while eating a cheese treat at the vet. I was not expecting that. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Totally different from our last Pit. He was such a good sharer. Would move over if anyone came close even while he was chewing on a toy to share. :)

A former member
Post #: 15

When it comes to some dogs and kids - You got to remember that they don't see you as People but members of a pack. You may not be having the problems because you may have already established the "chain" of command with the pup. But a small child can not. Sounds like the pup is treating her like another pup. It just takes some time to teach him or her that they need to show the same respect to your child as they do you.

Some training there locally might help you guys out. My older female never gave us issue but our 2 now 8 month old pups we had to teach them where they were in the pack and the kids were above them. I hope that makes sense. If not you are welcome to contact me anytime or call me. I can try and help the best I can from Houston. :)

Hope it works out.
Austin, TX
Post #: 2
You might try Cesar Millan's method of putting the child in the stroller and walking the dog as you push the stroller. I have seen him use this to reinforce that the child is also "pack leader".
Jen T.
Round Rock, TX
Post #: 34
Try to find a trainer that's experienced with toddler/dog interactions. Food aggression isn't unusual, and is pretty easy to reverse if you deal with it while they're still puppies.

I know it seems counterintuitive, but I definitely would not take the food away from your puppy when she growls at your toddler. This is probably only going to increase her anxiety about the baby. She already thinks the baby is a threat to her food, and by removing the food, you're confirming that theory. If your toddler is capable enough to hold still, you could offer a much better treat than that boring old food in the palm of your hand, with the toddler standing nearby, so that proximity to the toddler means better food.

You might even have the toddler put the food down on your palm, so that the puppy sees that the toddler is the one causing the treats to appear. You may even make the puppy sit-stay while you help the toddler put dog food in the bowl (the toddler can put little handfuls in--dragging it out is a great way to make an impression on the puppy). You want to suggest to the puppy that your toddler is the controlling entity in charge of whether the food flows or not.

But this all sort of depends on the level of food possessiveness your pup is exhibiting (i.e. when does she growl, how close to the bite threshhold is she, etc.) and the maturity of your toddler. Obviously, you don't want to put your toddler in a risky situation. That's why I think it would benefit you to see a trainer about this; the trainer will be able to assess what's safe to do and what's not.
A former member
Post #: 11
Thanks for the suggestions. I am having a trainer come to the house next week. :)
S.A.D. Dog Sushi L...
Austin, TX
Post #: 201
Hi Melissa,

Any updates?

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