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Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Friday, April 27, 2012

Brut's Food Aggression

Yep!  I'm all attitude!
 Brut’s food protectiveness started before he came home with us.  The breeder told me that when he was weaning the puppies, they would all start growling and snarling when the food would get low. 

I didn’t know this in the beginning.

Brut's food aggression was the first sign we had of any aggression.  Never experiencing an aggressive dog before, I had no idea what it was, especially coming from a puppy.  I just thought he was being dominant.  The first thing we did was stop the free food buffet and began feeding on a schedule.  Then I separated Brut from the other dogs when he ate and I would pick up his food after 10 minutes finished or not.  (dominance theory)  This is what I had read to do.  .

Now since this aggressiveness was quite new to me, I had to swallow my fear,  walk in the room calm and collective while Brut hung his head low to his bowl and take his food away.  The instant I grabbed it, his entire demeanor would change back to that of a happy puppy.

I continued this scenario for some time, though, I quit timing him.  He still guarded his food if he hadn't finsihed and I still took it, but some of the edge was taken off.

Happy Feeding Frenzy
 When our litter of puppies were four weeks old, we slowly began the weaning process and something inside of me began to click.  I began to understand something I still can’t put into words.  I began to understand why Brut was the way he was.  TEN puppies all eating from one baking tray without a growl, snarl, snap, or bite.  There was no pushing, shoving, or fighting.  TEN puppies all happily eating off of one tray, getting their fill, and walking away in peace and contentment.  I had witnessing the exact opposite of what Brut experienced and the wheels in my head and heart were clicking as things began to make sense.  It was the nature of his survival. 

My rigid dominant approach is gone.  Brut is still separated, but when I walk in, if he isn’t finished, I ask him if he is done.  He will let me know if he is still hungry.  Sometimes he just wants company and I will sit and while he finishes his food.  One of the viable undercurrents of our relationship is respect.  I don’t like anyone touching my food and Brut has already proven to me that it is the same for him.  Why would I become his biggest threat to what he values most when I already know this is his nature.  So I began to work with it.  It took some time and rebuilding of trust but food time is much more relaxed now.  Brut doesn’t guard his food anymore when I walk in and he will signal when he is done, even if there is food left in the bowl he will walk away without any reservations..  And it works for us.

Somewhere while watching our litter of puppies all joyously eating without a squabble, I grieved for Brut with a new understanding.  It was more than just an explanation, it was an insight into the essence of his being. One I have learned not to control or change, but harness and work with.  I relate so much of myself to my dogs, and since I wouldn’t tolerate someone walking in on me and snatching up my food, how could I expect my dog to?  I prefer to practice the harmony of a resolution that involves both parties working for the same goal.  Does it cure Brut of protecting his food?  No, but I can create an atmosphere where it isn’t necessary and to me that means a whole lot more.        


houndstooth said...

I'm really glad you found something that works for the two of you! :)

Yas said...

A very good read! Thanks for sharing this with us!
Great job on both sides!!


Keith Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing this one., I was reading this while waiting for my mom..

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Bassetmomma said...

How great that you have created such a calm atmosphere for Brut. I'm so glad it is working for both of you. Your love for this big guy definitely shines through!

Unknown said...

Its all about what works for you. Fred was food agressive only with other dogs, he ate in a crate with a sheet over his crate so he couldnt see haylie, we did this for years, it worked. :)

jen said...

Glad that you found something that works for you. Sherman was showing signs of food aggression a few years ago, I think he learned it from my Beagle,it took some time but we finally were able to overcome it.

The Daily Pip said...

Good job, Brut! I can't get over the cuteness of that picture of all the pups eating together.

Your pal, Pip

Pup Fan said...

It's great that you've found something that works for you!

Also, I adore that first photo.

Linda said...

Sometimes we just need to put ourselves into our dog's footprints and try to see things from their view. You said it in one word, respect!

Love the top photo! So cute!

Emily said...

The woman we volunteer with has sometimes up to 20 or more rescue puppies at her house. They all eat together and there is always food. The only "issues" that ever occur is when a new pup comes in without any litter mates--it seems those pups often come in with an attitude and the current pups quickly put them in their place to let them know what's allowed. Our first foster came to us with some signs of food aggression but once she realized her place she stopped. It can be scary though, it happens very quick.