Dog growls at Cesar
Cesar Millan's Leader of the Pack
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Cesar Millan's Leader of the Pack

Cesar Millan Helps A Stray Dog Overcome His Intense Case Of Food Aggression!

In order to find his forever home, this stray mutt will need to learn to NOT bite the hand that feeds him!

Miles may be a little dog, but he has a big story! The small Pomeranian mix was a stray dog living in Southern Italy when he met Rebecca, Jane, and the rest of their family. While Rebecca and Jane’s family have been staying in Italy, they started to take care of Miles by feeding him when they could. Rebecca and Jane tried not to get too attached to Miles because they knew they couldn’t adopt the little dog, but Miles stole their hearts anyway. 

Rebecca and Jane weren’t able to keep Miles when their family returned to the United States, but they still wanted to help Miles find a good home to live out his golden years in comfort. However, Miles had a big problem: food aggression. This is where Cesar Millan comes in. On This episode of “Cesar Millan’s Leader of the Pack,” Rebecca and Jane entrust Miles to Cesar’s care, knowing the expert dog trainer will be able to rehabilitate Miles and find the little dog his forever family. 

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One of the first things Cesar does after meeting Miles is evaluate his food aggression. As expected, Miles attacks another submissive dog Cesar is using to test Miles once the food comes out. Miles even tries to snap at Cesar when he felt his food was threatened. However, this show of food guarding and aggression gave Cesar the perfect opportunity to begin to correct Miles’ bad behavior. 

Believe it or not, food aggression and resource guarding are more common than you might think. According to one study, nearly 20% of all dogs show signs of food aggression. Dogs may guard their food, toys, or other resources that they deem valuable because they are afraid you are going to take it away from them. Cesar explains that dogs can exhibit food aggressive behaviors because they can instinctually become more dominant, aggressive, and competitive once food is placed in front of them. In Miles’ case, the little dog is protective of his food because he is used to having to fight for his food on the streets. He’s also lacking some basic manners and obedience training simply because he’s never had a home or family before. Cesar explains that he will have to change Miles’ survivalist mindset of needing to fight to eat, but was confident the little dog could eventually be rehabilitated and placed with a loving forever family! 

If you’ve noticed your dog struggles with resource guarding or food aggression, we encourage you to seek the guidance of a certified dog trainer who can help you stop the bad behavior. Do not attempt any of Cesar Millan’s actions in the above video at home. Cesar is a trained professional and knows how to address aggressive behavior and risky situations with safety and caution. However, there are some steps you can take to safely address food aggression in your home by making little changes to your dog’s feeding routine. 

1.) Feed your dog when he is in the right mindset. As Cesar notes in the above video, do not feed your dog when he is acting dominant or aggressive. If you have multiple dogs, feed the calm and submissive dog first who is setting a good example. Teach your dog that he doesn’t get to eat when he is acting dominant, but he does get to chow down when he is behaving nicely. 

2.) Teach your dog to see you as both the resource and the leader. One way to do this is to avoid free-feeding your dog. Instead of leaving his food out all day for him to eat when he feels like it, feed your dog at scheduled meal times and make sure he knows the food is coming from you. When you set the food on the floor, make him sit and wait for his food until you give him the signal that it’s okay to get up and go eat. You can also place your dog on a leash before feedings and lead him away from his food a few times during his meal to show you are in charge of his resources. 

3.) Take extra steps to show your dog that food comes directly from you. When your dog learns that you are the source of his food, he will realize that he doesn’t need to protect his food from you. Try hand feeding your dog some of his meals to clearly make the connection that food comes directly from you. 

4.) Make it harder for your dog to guard his food. There are two ways to do this. First, you can spread your dog’s food out on a flat surface, such as a cookie sheet. Dogs are less likely to start guarding when the area they are eating from is larger. The other option is to elevate your dog’s food bowl. When your dog has to stretch his neck to eat, it makes it harder for him to guard. Ultimately, you want to limit your dog’s ability to exhibit guarding behaviors, such as holding his food bowl with his paws. 

5.) Always put safety first. Don’t approach a dog if you can’t do so safely. If you have other dogs or young children, keep them in a separate room while your food aggressive dog eats in peace for everyone’s safety. 

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