Severe food aggression please help

Posted by constantini7
Dec 1, 2008
I have an 8 month old Neapolitan Mastiff who has been food aggressive since 10 weeks old. I have always worked on being the alpha dog with him and he passed obedience class with flying colors. The problem is with his food. He attacks me every time I feed him. I have tried everything, changing locations, making him earn the food with obedience, hand feeding etc. Nothing has worked. He is now 120lbs and will lunge at me if I even look at him when he is eating. I have been bitten a few times and now wear a heavy jacket and gloves to avoid injury when I feed him. I never let him know that it hurts and do not project any fear when he acts this way. I live in a rural area and professional help is not an option. I need help
Posted by stephanie-Craddock
Dec 5, 2008
wow, that sounds pretty scarey, don't know exactly the breed but if it will be as big as a normal mastiff, you need to tackle this before he gets bigger.
It sounds to me as if he is not seeing you as the Alpha, which for a dog of that size is pretty important. how is he in general obedience, and other things?
I can't really give you any other advice as i am not an expert, and i hope someone who knows more will also post some advice for you. I know you said you live in a rural area, but professional help I would definetly look for,
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Dec 6, 2008
Hi constantini7,

It is hard for me to imagine that your dog is obedient but still shows such bad food aggression toward YOU, the owner...

How does he react for treats? Does he take it nicely from your fingers, or does he snap it?

Does he act differently (ie. very aggressive or enthusiastic around the meal times)? How many times are you feeding him?

Does he lunge you when he has his food bowl even if it is empty?

How did it work when you tried to hand feed him? I would just put a few kibbles in his bowl to start with. He gobbles it up and he would probably look at you... then, put another handful of kibbles... and repeat this. You can make him sit in between.

He should learn that the food is only coming from YOU and you are not the one that he should guard his resource (food) from.

I am sorry for asking so many questions. I still can't figure out why he gets so protective about food only.
Posted by constantini7
Dec 6, 2008
Thanks for responding to my post, I will try to answer your questions. He is very good with treats and takes them from my hand very gently. I feed him twice a day and is fine while I'm filling the dish. It's after I put it down for him. He eats a little and them starts growling at me. If I leave the room he will follow me and then trap me in the room I went to. When I hand fed him, he would eat out of my hand but knock most of it on the floor and when I tried to pick it up he snaps.

I'm sure he's battling me to be the alpha because if I completely leave him alone until his food is gone he will challenge me elsewhere like for a chew toy or to go back in his crate. If I challenge him while he's eating he is fine in the other situations.

I'm a little nervous about adding food while he's eating because it puts my face in harms way but I can probably get him in a sit stay a few feet away from the dish while I do it.