First off, every dog should have good eating etiquette towards you. This means that they are not food aggressive. Starting when you first get your dog, practice taking their food (or rawhides) away from them and then giving them back. They need to know that you control the food and that it belongs to you first and foremost. They do not have an ownership over their food and therefore should never be aggressive over it. One trick that I like is to make your dog sit and stay before allowing them to eat. For example, prepare their meal and then make them sit and stay away from their bowl. Set their food down but do not release them right away. Make them wait until you release them with a command. This will help to signify to them that you are in control of their food and that they must listen to you if they want to eat.
If they are protective over their food towards your other dogs, however, altercations can be avoided if you are aware of your dog’s behavior. Dogs should be fed separately in order to avoid any type of possible aggression, especially if you have a dog that eats faster than the other one and might bully them away from their food. This poses the problem of one dog overeating and one dog not eating enough, and also if the dogs are on different diets (such as regular and senior diets) this could potentially be harmful to their diet or in the least, upset their stomachs.
Either feed your dogs in crates or separate rooms, or supervise feeding time to ensure no bullying, food stealing, or fighting occurs. If possible, the dogs should not be fed in the kitchen to reduce the behavior of begging for human food. By feeding in the kitchen they might start to think of the kitchen as where they get their food and in turn become “counter surfers” or bad beggars of your own food.
Look out for my next blog post about more dinnertime etiquette – learning about when and how to feed your dog and what’s best for their health!