Any form of growling should be viewed as a warning of a bite. Certainly this is true around food. This type of action is usually brought about in the puppy stage. It is crucial that this behavior is corrected early in your dog's life. Many people find it amusing when their 14 week old puppy growls over a food or toy. Often this behavior from a dog will incite laughter, pleasure or even attempting to provoke the reaction again from the dog. You will no longer find it amusing when your full grown adult dog shows you his canines.
I do not believe it is necessary for us to stick our hands or bother our dogs in other ways around their food or at feeding time. In the same manner, I would not appreciate people putting their hands in my plate or playing games with me while I was eating to see if I would react.This being said, I do not take an accidental bump or a child unknowingly approaching a feeding dog, resulting in a bite being acceptable. This problem must be corrected early. When placing the food in front of a young dog, he must not approach the food until the handler says "It's O.K". If growling takes place, a lead must be placed on the dog and a correction must be given. The lead is the only way in which a correction is administered.
Constant setting up of the dog while eating can cause this dangerous confrontation to escalate. In other words, relax, feed the dog, if it happens, correct it. Don't play games to cause it or it will be you that need the correction.
If anyone pesters or teases a dog at feeding time or any other time and the dog growls a warning and this action continues, then they are taking a great risk in inciting a bite from a dog which the dog in all fairness will not be responsible for. I know society today believes they should be able to do anything in and around a dog, however a dog is a living creature. He cannot speak, or use his hands to push you away. He communicates through body language. When we do not read his body language correctly or soon enough, the communication will become stronger in the form of a growl, and eventually if pushed into a bite. In a time when dog bites are on an increase and many breeds suffer the impact of Breed Specific Legislation, it is time for us to take some responsibility for our actions. To respect our dog and create respect within our dog. If you set up your dog and bother him while he is eating, or go over and pull food from his mouth to show off to your friends, you may very well get an unwanted reaction from your dog in the form of a bite. Sadly it will be the dog and the breed he represents, that is held responsible, not the foolish actions of his handler.
Direction and correction. Communication and respect between two living creatures. One human and one dog. The dog depends on our decision-makingprocess. If this fails, he relies solely on instinct. A good handler creates a great dog. A responsible handler creates a responsible dog
Article submitted by: © The Dogmen Inc (Biography & Additional Information)