Would you like another serving of mashed potatoes?

In my “travels” I run across many people who will tell me that they teach their puppy not to be possessive about their food bowl, by taking their food away while there are eating or sticking their hands in their food bowl while they are eating. (As seen on TV?)
I understand the concept, but would like to challenge the thinking. I don’t know about you, but I would not want someone to start sticking hands in my food or take their fork and steal my potato without my approval. (I guess that makes me food aggressive) – But all jesting aside, while it is nice to be able to know that your dog will surrender his resources (i.e. his food) to you – I would like to offer an alternative that might make more sense to your dog: Another helping!
Dogs are by nature resource guarders – they do not know that there is more food in the cabinet and a whole bunch more in the store, so in their minds there is a concern that they might run out of food – After all Nature did not program animals for All-You-Can-Eat Buffets.
With that in mind, which person do you think your dog likes more – the person that takes their food and sticks his fingers in it and returns the bowl, or the person that walks to their bowl and simply adds another wonderful morsel like a piece of chicken or hot dog to their dinner and then leaves them to finish their meal?
Your dog might handle the intruder messing with their food, but I bet that the “extra portion” person will be met with much more enthusiasm after he has learned that the approach of a person simply means more good stuff is on the way.
On the other hand, if you already have a dog that has food or other resource guarding issues, I recommend that you get professional help. The best resource for competent certified professional trainers in your area can be found on http://www.ccpdt.org
But if you are just dealing with a puppy and you simply want to prevent future problems:
Put the food bowl right in the middle of the floor where everyone lives and moves about and while he eats, go to his bowl, add something extra good and give him a light petting then leave him be. Before you know it he will be happily wagging his tail with anticipation…“Yes, I would like another helping of Mashed Potatoes!”


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