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.

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Jun 04, 2012

Food aggression NEW
by: Laureen

Two years ago we bought a four month old female rottie with severe food aggression. At four months old she was a little scary. I read up as much I could and went to work and am still occasionally testing her. You absolutely have to feed her food to her by hand, let her know that you are the boss, it’s your food, not hers. I would feed mine with one hand and pet her head with the other (I had to ease into that because she was much older than yours) If she sits, have her sit and wait, starting with a few seconds and gradually extend the time, then feed her by hand. And definetly have the kids feed her by hand also. Rotties are stubborn and head strong so you will need to be firm and consistent with her and never let her get away with the bad behavior. I was so afraid that I’d have to get rid of Maxie because I wont have a dog that bites but luckily she has turned around completely. Good luck!!

Jun 04, 2012

progress after 1 week NEW
by: Anonymous

I have tried to teach her the leave it command and also been feeding her by hand a few biscuits at a time but to no avail. When my 5 year old came in the kitchen last night to ask me something she gave a warning growl and because my daughter didn’t move away she snapped at me. She crouches over the bowl almost laying inside it and growls if I even try to touch the bowl or add more food.

She came from a litter of 9 puppies,the breeder told me they were fed 3 at a time from one bowl,she didn’t exhibit this behaviour there apparently and didn’t show it here til 2 days after having her, she isn’t bothered if my older dog is near her during feeding its just us and the more people are around the more she guards x

Jun 04, 2012

100% agree with Sue NEW
by: Christopher Bayhi

I 100% agree with Sue. I can’t add anything else to what she said. Sue is dead on with this one.

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About The Rotty lover 2159 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone