Food, Glorious Food

I have a Border Collie that would rather guard his food from the other dogs than eat it himself. The deal is I have to sit with him and another female dog because if I'm not there he stops eating his food and goes to hers... she then lies down with her head in the corner while he eats hers (no fighting whatsoever). Then he goes back to his which he can't finish but he stands guard over it. Hmmm... maybe he's trying to starve her to death to be the only dog. What is this all about?

Food guarding is a method of displaying dominance. My alpha bitch will guard the food for 3 days upon the entry of any new rescue into the house. The food's out all the time and she doesn't guard it any other time - it's just her way of saying "I'm boss". I let her do it because it is one of those subtle ways of establishing dominance and it teaches the rescues their place in the order of things.

I'm not sure why you would want to sit with the dogs, in order to ensure that they get enough food to eat. Mealtime should be easy for you, not a pain in the neck. I would either free-feed (then you can let them guard all they want - they can't do it forever) or feed them separately so that you don't have to stand watch. If you spend more than 5 minutes feeding your dogs (and this should be in preparation of the food), then you need to modify the setup. We all have better things to do than to watch over our dogs while they eat.

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