It happens without you noticing. Slowly, the whole family, possibly even your company, accommodates your dog's aggression. We all grew up being told not to bother a dog when it was sleeping or eating because they could be aggressive. Now, you shouldn't purposely bother a dog who is sleeping or eating. However, you should be very realistic about your dog's ability to deal with situations and train or manage appropriately.
When you have a puppy or a new dog in the house, do some exercises with them regularly to ensure that they don't become worried or reactive in certain situations. Doing these exercises also gives you a chance to observe the dog to see if there is any concerns that need to be further dealt with.
A Simple Exercise for Preventing or Changing Food Bowl Aggression
- While your dog is eating, walk by and throw a piece of high value treat. (I use breakfast sausage; it throws well and the dogs love it.)
- Observe your dog as you approach. Does he stiffen, eat quicker, or put his body further over the bowl? These are all signs of guarding and will escalate in the wrong situation. Stay outside of the guarding radius when doing this exercise.
- Keep performing this exercise until he stops eating and waits for the sausage as you approach.
Always observe your dog in different situations, like when you have company in your house. Keep your dog safe if there is a situation he is not comfortable with. After something bad has happened is too late.
If you are having aggression issues that concern you, contact a professional. Going about this the wrong way could make your dog more aggressive.