8 week old puppy with food aggression???
hi, i fetched my new 8 week old rottweiler puppy on monday 28th may, i got her to be a companion for my 2 year old rottie x girl. They get on really well, even sleeping together. The new puppy we have named Angel seemed to be doing really well until this evening wednesday 30th may.
I had fed her all her food for the day split into 3 meals and she had eaten it all,( I am feeding burns for large breed puppies), I was sorting out my 5 year old daughter when my 13 year old daughter came to me crying saying Angel had snapped at her aggressively, my daughter had simply tried to move Angel away from our other dogs food bowl (which is elevated) and Angel snapped and broke the skin on my daughters hand, ( looks like a pin prick now the redness has gone down).
30 minutes later my and my eldest daughter was doing some basic training with Angel using treats and a clicker, my daughter asked her to sit, clicked, gave her the treat and then praised Angel by using a baby voice and stroking her, Angel snapped at my daughter again, this time just getting the sleeve of her top.
We then went into garden where puppies being puppies Angel was picking up anything she could find, she allowed my daughter to take them off her until she picked up what appeared to be a dried up caterpillar or slug, when i got it out of her mouth she snapped at me as i pulled it put. I tapped her nose and told her no in a firm voice.
Is this a sign of food aggression and what advice could you give me as i have to consider my youngest child also, thanks x
This is what you call 'resource guarding' and it's pretty common in puppies and sometimes older dogs too if they've not been corrected for this behavior early on (it shows up in all breeds as well, by no means being specific to Rotties).
It's more common in puppies from large litters (where they had to fend off their siblings at mealtimes) or in abandoned or neglected pups who have always had to fight for everything they got, or there wasn't enough to go around. Also, more dominant puppies MAY exhibit this behavior more than submissive ones, but it's usually the result of a combination of nature and nurture.
Your pup is still a tiny baby, and although her little teeth are sharp she won't do much damage if she snaps... this is why it's so much easier to handle now and much safer. An adolescent or adult Rottweiler with the same behavior is a whole different proposition!
I'd recommend that you read my page on Dog Food Aggression and start hand feeding Angel right away. If your daughters are old enough involve them in doing this too. It's very important that Angel realizes that they are above her in terms of authority (ie NOT her siblings or equals) and hand feeding her will help with this.
I'd also strongly suggest that you teach her the 'Leave It' command, starting with things that she doesn't value as highly as food (ie a toy of some sort). Regular practice will help her learn to 'drop' or 'leave' anything you tell her to right away, and will allow you to work up to taking treats/bones/food from her without trouble. It's a very important part of her training. This webpage has all the info. you need to teach this command (and some other basic obedience lessons too!)... Dog Commands.
Angel is just a baby and she's simply reacting the way she's learned to do in her previous environment. Rotties are VERY smart, and the most trainable breed I've ever worked with, she will soon learn that this behavior isn't acceptable and what it is you want from her. Just be patient, consistent and firm-yet-loving, and don't over-react. She will soon learn.
Best of luck with your new pup.