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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girl dog, Ember will occasionally go after my boy dog, Riley, aggressively, to the point where blood was once drawn. It has only happened when food was involved, but it doesn't happen all the time.

For example, one time I gave them treats, and Riley ate his faster than her, and when he went near her she interpreted this as a challenge and went after him. One time I was grabbing her Kong out of her crate (she gets a food stuffed Kong when we have to crate her during the day), and Riley came up to investigate what I was doing, and Ember went after him. This was the time she nipped his ear and drew blood - it's always his ears that she goes for. Yesterday she didn't eat her breakfast (she has been having tummy issues) and I had forgotten to take it up before I left for work, so when I brought her home from daycare she immediately ran to it and started to eat, so I picked it up to throw it out and Riley happened to be near, and she went after him.

All other times the interaction between them is non-aggressive with Ember deferring to Riley. She will bother the crap out of him if he's chewing on a toy, but it's not aggressive. The only time she's been aggressive is with food. I wonder if this has to do with her tummy issues....
 

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Dogs usually only protect their food and toys from a dog of the same level or lower so she sees him as a lower or similar rank. You need to stamp it out fast but it is hard to do without seeing it but try verbally correcting her when she gets too protective of her food then praise her when she stops. I would suggest a trainer to do it in person though.
 

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Food is usually higher in value than most toys.

My Chisum did a similar thing upon arrival so I just started feeding him separately and giving high value treats separately as well.

I have started to let them be together sometimes in these situations, but always with me present and monitoring carefully.
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This has a name-resource guarding. There's a sticky on the topic if you want to check out previous people's advice and information on the topic.

There's things you can do to help make the situation better, but #1 that needs to happen is just to separate them while they're eating. You'd get grumpy and snarky if someone drooled on your plate while you were eating, too. Prevention first :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep, I know about resource guarding, but it's just weird because it is not constant and all other aspects of their time together Ember defers to Riley.

This actually seemed to be more due to Ember's tummy/worm issues that came to an awful head last weekend... Ever since then she has not gone after Riley with food present, and I've been hyper-vigilant about it. When she was doing it earlier I was able to catch her signs - she doesn't growl but she tenses, and you can feel her energy change. Riley also starts to look away/lean away from her. It was in these moments that I diffused and redirected her. I fed them separately for the next few days and once Ember was eating regularly again and seeming to feel better I started to test them with treats and she was back to waiting her turn again.

I definitely will continue to remain vigilant though and I do not leave the room when they are eating. They don't eat side by side but Ember does tend to finish before Riley and then work her way over and sit while he finishes, then goes to see if he left anything when he walks away.
 
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