Trainer reveals one tip to prevent food guarding in your dog — and it’s very straightforward

Bernese Mountain Dog lying in grass in the garden, eating from the bowl, looking up, guarding his food
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.

Have you just welcomed a new pup into your home and want to ensure that resource guarding of food doesn't become an issue?

Many of us live in multi-pet homes where there may be other dogs and cats around, and in these situations, it's understandable that some of our fur friends may become protective of their food. 

This can be particularly common among rescue dogs who may have experienced food scarcity before being adopted. 

Resource guarding in dogs can lead your otherwise loving pup to suddenly start acting out of character, leaving you feeling apprehensive, frustrated, or even scared.

Thankfully, expert trainer Louise Glazebrook says there is a way to prevent resource guarding of food — all you need is a bit of time, some patience, and a few of the best dog treats.

While food aggression in dogs can be a dangerous issue, Glazebrook says the kindest way to deal with it isn't to take your pup's bowl away.

Instead, in her Instagram video above, she advocates for a more gentle approach.

"There's a super easy way that you can start to teach your dog that you being near their food bowl is a good thing," she explains.

"All we're going to do is pop a treat in the bowl, wait for Pip to finish, and as soon as he finishes and looks up at me, I'm going to pop another one in," Glazebrook says, using her own dog to demonstrate how this approach works.

Positioning herself on one side of the food bowl and Pip on the other, Glazebrook tosses a treat in, lets Pip eat it, and then when he finishes and gives her eye contact, she rewards by tossing another treat into the bowl. 

"The reason this game is so good is because it's not threatening, we're not putting our hands in and we're not taking anything away," says Glazebrook.

However, she issues a strong caution that this wouldn't be a suitable training method for dogs who already have resource guarding issues.

"What this is for is preventing resource guarding. So what we're trying to do is set up a really good association of you being near the bowl," she explains.

If your dog is displaying aggressive behavior around their food (or any other item) please reach out to an expert for advice and support. 

Check out our guide to how to spot dog trainer red flags to ensure you select a suitably qualified professional who has experience of dealing with resource guarding.

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Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.