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Growling while eating

January 22nd, 2007, 02:33 PM
My 12 week old Springer spaniel just started growling while she is eating. When we feed her we make her stay until we say it's ok. I have to inch her forward because she will go flying up to the bowl and food goes everywhere. She eats it so fast that I don't think she is chewing. She snorts and sometimes gags on it because she is eating so fast. Acouple of days ago i told her ok. When she started eating I petted her on the back and told her good girl. She growled at me. I'm not going to have a dog that does not let you touch her/walk by her while she is eating. When my choc lab was a puppy and I still do to this day, I put my face right next to the dog bowl and praise him. I don't want my dogs to bite somebody for being to close to them. I can understand if it's another dog, but not a human. I don't know what to do to slow her down and to make her not growl at me when I touch her. I feed both of my dogs, Iams. Do I need a different type of food, to slow her down? Also what can I do to make her stop growling? Am I doing the wrong thing?

January 22nd, 2007, 03:00 PM
I would put your dog on another food not that it will slow him down but because it is not a very good food. It has a high amount of preservatives.

To slow your pup down and to get him used to you touchig his food I would start by placing a hand full at a time into the bowl and lay your other hand in the bowl. Your pup will have to eat around you. There are many other things that you can also do but this will get you started.

Once you have taken care of the food issue you can place a large heavy object(clean rock) into the bowl. Have it large enough that he can't take large bites.

January 22nd, 2007, 03:03 PM
It sounds as if your Springer is food possessive:

I would highly recommend finding a good trainer, and enroll her in puppy kindergarten class. I did this with my Scottie when he was a pup, and nearly ten years later, I think it really helped shape him into the great dog he is today.

I would also consider putting your pup on a higher quality food, such as Wellness. This is a good site that might help find the right food for your pup:

Hope this helps!

January 22nd, 2007, 03:24 PM
Great, thank you both!

January 22nd, 2007, 05:31 PM
If this were my dog I would hand feed it and make it work for it's dinner. IF your dog is growling and wagging it could be just talking, if the dog stiffens up and growls then she doesn't want you near the food. Take a step back and develop some trust and bond by feeding her by hand. As well with each kibble say gentle so that in the future when you find your dog getting tense you can say gentle and that will help relax your dog.

January 22nd, 2007, 05:38 PM
I agree with MIA, hand feeding would be a good option right now. They do not receive the food until they are sitting calmly and not grabbing for the food. They usually figure it out pretty quick.

January 22nd, 2007, 05:47 PM
When you progress past hand feeding and start to feed regularly then I would also recommend making sure she is calm before giving her the food. With my dog Riley he would be all hiper and barking at us (while preparing his food) so I would put his bowl down on counter and walk away. When he stopped I would go back and pick up the bowl. If he barked again then I put the bowl back on the counter and walk away. Only when he did not bark at all did I put the bowl down for him to eat. It only took a few meal times for him to get the idea to sit quietly to get his food.

After he got good about sitting quietly I starting working on the "wait" command where he now has to wait until I tell him it is ok for him to eat.

These are all important tools to teaching the dog that you are the pack leader. You might want to look at the "Nothing In Life Is Free" method of working with your animal to establish yourself as the pack leader.

I also agree that Iams is not your best food choice. Check out the dog/cat food forum for lots of great advice.

January 22nd, 2007, 07:44 PM
Good advice above.

I just wanted to add that eating too fast can cause bloat in some dogs. But even if it doesn't, it's not healthy. Try using a flatter dish (or even a tray of some sort) to ensure that the food is scattered so your dog is forced to pick up one kibble at a time (and not a mouthful). Another trick is to add water (NOT if the food contains citric acid), or put a BIG rock (no rock eating, please!) in the middle, so she has to eat around it.

January 23rd, 2007, 08:57 AM
I had no idea that Iams was not a good dog food. I will be switching my dog food, probably to Wellness as it looks to be a good brand.

Thanks for all your suggestions!