top of page

Food Aggression


Food aggression is a form of resource guarding. It is not uncommon to see instances of this when a dog joins a new family/home. With conditioning and support a dog may become more comfortable in a multi dog home.

It is important to seek professional advice as each dog is different and what works for one may not work for another. Applying the same technique may in fact increase the problem. I have put together a few tips that we use when introducing foster dogs to our multi dog home and preparing them for their forever homes, it also helps us to identify what type of family the foster dog may be most comfortable in. 

Please note that we have no official qualification.


We have a house rule of not sharing our food with our dogs when we are eating. For starters we do not want to have to endure their "puppy dog eyes" watching us each and every time we sit down to a meal and with a dog showing signs of resource guarding, by sharing our food we risk becoming the resource that they are guarding and it can easily develop into a bigger problem.


We also feed each dog in the same place each time, that way it helps to limit the places they may guard. If you walk around eating and sharing your piece of toast then they will be on guard everywhere so it helps to limit the problem to one area.



As mentioned above, seek professional advise.

For us our first step is teaching the dog 'on your bed' and 'down'. This helps to set a boundary where the dog can feel safe. By having the dog relaxed in a down position it takes longer for them to react, don't misjudge them, greyhounds are big dogs, they move quick and they have big teeth.

We always do the initial training individually, it helps to build confidence, trust and our relationship.

Once the dog has progressed to knowing these requests of 'on your bed' and 'down' we need two people, one per dog. We choose a large space so the dogs can be a good distance apart. We pop the dogs on lead for extra precaution. Boss is our most calm and patient dog around food so he is a great help during this part of the training.

We find videoing our training sessions very helpful. We can watch them back and study the new dogs body language. It can be difficult to focus properly and pickup the subtle signs whilst dishing out treats.


We watch for a side way glance, a shifting of their body position, the white side eye, any sign that the dog is uncomfortable. It's a great help to do some research on dog body language so you know what to look for. A common thing we hear people say is "He's wagging his tail so it's ok" yeah no, that's to necessarily the case.


Whilst working though the process of food aggression / resource guarding it is important to identify the items of value. They could be things like an empty bowl so picking the bowl up after they have finished eating could help to remove the threat and teaching 'trade' is another powerful tool.


By watching the new dogs body language we can figure out their comfort zone. Starting with the dogs a wide distance apart each person feeds their dog treats. Very gradually over time, days/weeks/months we can start to bring the dogs closer together. Don't rush this and if at anytime we see signs that they are not comfortable then we move them further apart. We keep these sessions shorts, just a few minutes or even just one treat each in the beginning. 


It's important we stay calm and use a soft reassuring voice. Fear is often the basis for their behaviour and they are looking to us for reassurance and to help them feel safe and confident in their new home.


Diamond (White/Black) and Boss in action. This is the result of about 5 weeks of training. Diamond has done incredibly well in such a short time.


Something to look for is right at the start, Diamond is watching Boss closely, the sideway turn/glance, she still isn't completely comfortable having him so close and if he was to get up and approach her she may react. Boss is an amazing dog and such an important part of our team.


The video at the top of the page showing our greyhounds and a foster politely waiting for treats is quite amazing and only possible through lots of positive reinforcement training.


The less opportunity we give our dogs to feel like they need to react the better. So identifying when they are uncomfortable is so important and to put it simply, we don't bother the dogs or let our other dogs bother each other when they are eating. 


We always feed our dogs separately, in completely separate rooms. We like them to feel comfortable and eat at their own pace.

bottom of page