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growling puppy

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Hey Guys,

I have a 6th month old black lab. The problem is whenever he is fed if anyone brushes up against him or gets near him he starts to growl. I know you should probably leave him alone when he's eating, but hre problem seems to keep getting worse.

Now this weekend, when he was kenneled some yougsters we were camping with, came by his doghouse and again started growling. He had no food but was a bit tired.

This problem is really starting to concern me.

Any ideas ?


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It sounds like the pup thinks he is the boss when food is present.

Try feeding the pup one piece of food at a time by hand.Make pup sit first, then hold out the kibble to see what happens.
If pup takes it gently then your on the right track.If pup still growls, then tell pup no firmly and pull food back.
Wait a few seconds then try again.It may take a few times to get the pup to understand your incontrol even at feeding time.

Then progress to placing a few pices at a time in the bowl, then on to a full cup with you mixing it up while pup eats.

Don't punish the pup if it nips you other than a firm "NO BAD DOG".You don't want to scare it away from the dish.
Although I don't think the pup will nip at this point.

I did this with Mandy right from the fist day to teach her I had control all the time.And with a young child here we needed to make sure Mandy wouldn't nip any one for taking her food.

She now just keeps eating and wags her tail when I pet her or place my hand next to her food while she eats.

Good luck, Benny

[This message has been edited by Benny (edited 07-19-2004).]

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This is one of those easy tests to find out what your dog thinks of you. You should be able to stick your hands in his dish and push his head away, even take the food away completely. I've done this with mine from day one and not once has he growled or showed any aggresive behavior. Like Benny said, its a matter of who he thinks is in charge and his advice sounds pretty good.

At most Human Societies this is one of the tests they do before they can place a dog into a home, if he doesn't pass this one he usually won't get placed.

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I don't know the correct way to remedy this problem but I see it as a potential problem starting. I did the same thing as Grabs from day 1 of my pup and have had no problems. Definately do some research and get this corrected. Bennys way sounds like the right way to go. I wouldn't be afraid to make your dog submit to you if he keeps this up, he has to know that this is not acceptable. This is a good time to correct it. Good luck.

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How old is the pup? When they have just been removed from their littermates, I think they still feel the need to jostle and fight for food. However, food guarding is one of the first signs of dominance issues and should not be ignored for very long. Most basic dog training books describe procedures for correcting dominance shown towards people. I think the method Benny described above should work…Here’s a couple other things to do while trying to correct this behavior. To start, try eating something (anything) just before feeding the pup for a couple weeks (make sure he sees you eating). Watch him eat and then take the bowl away as soon as he stops. After a while I would try gently petting the dog while he is eating (near the hindquarters first and gradually working up to the head over a period of several days). Eventually, you should be able push the dog away from the food without any resistance.

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