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I inherited a rescue dog not too long ago and she had puppies on 7/21. She is showing food aggression toward them and I don't know how to ease the situation, to move along the weening process, which according to everything I've read starts at about 4 weeks and should be completed by 8.5 weeks. She is the first dog I have had that I didn't raise from a puppy and she hasn't proven to be quite the difficult young lady(roughly 3 years old) She came from somewhat of a chaotic environment. I do believe there was abuse involved. I've tried to stick with positive reinforcement, instead of yelling and the like, but I just feel like I've made no progress. She has been an extremely good mother otherwise. She's very attentive to her puppies and they're extremely healthy. I refuse to let her take chewing treats in her puppy room with her, due to her aggression and the only thing I've found effective is moving the food somewhere, where the puppies cannot reach it, when I'm unable to supervise them. Should I just start to put her outside for awhile and leave the food available to the pups so they could at least sniff it? Leaving her food aggression to deal with after they're weened? I'm at a loss.
 

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I don't have a lot of personal experience with young puppies and their mothers, or really much experience from research either. Certainly, that doesn't sound like normal behavior and does sound like something worrisome.

I'd be worried the puppies could be learning this kind of resource guarding from her, which is not something that will make them more adoptable. I do think not leaving food out when you aren't there to supervise is a good idea. I don't think the pups are old enough for her to be separated from them, though.
@LoveMyFosters has puppy experience, maybe they can help.
 

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I do leave the food out while I'm unable to supervise as they're still nursing and the mother needs to stay nourished in order to keep the pups healthy, but it's out of reach of the puppies and I have nanny cams for when I'm away. I'm absolutely not planning on pulling the pups away from their mom permanently, but maybe an hour a day, just to put the food out for the pups to sniff around. She shows no aggression towards me, just other animals. Both dogs and cats. I'm really just trying to figure out the best way to ween around her food aggression, or even work on minimizing it while she's still nursing. I've been working with her for several months and I've made some progress, but not enough. She did show aggression towards me at first, but I think the only reason that went away was because I obviously don't eat her food. The bowl is never empty either. I make sure to fill it when I wake up and before I go anywhere. Her weight was an issue when I got her, because she'd only ever been fed cat food(Fear not, this does not happen in my house) After about 6 months the vet gave her a clear bill of health and her weight was back in a healthy range. I'm not sure if this is pertinent info, but she is a small chihuahua mix. Pomchi for sure, but may be partial daschund.
 

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I do leave the food out while I'm unable to supervise as they're still nursing and the mother needs to stay nourished in order to keep the pups healthy, but it's out of reach of the puppies and I have nanny cams for when I'm away. I'm absolutely not planning on pulling the pups away from their mom permanently, but maybe an hour a day, just to put the food out for the pups to sniff around. She shows no aggression towards me, just other animals. Both dogs and cats. I'm really just trying to figure out the best way to ween around her food aggression, or even work on minimizing it while she's still nursing. I've been working with her for several months and I've made some progress, but not enough. She did show aggression towards me at first, but I think the only reason that went away was because I obviously don't eat her food. The bowl is never empty either. I make sure to fill it when I wake up and before I go anywhere. Her weight was an issue when I got her, because she'd only ever been fed cat food(Fear not, this does not happen in my house) After about 6 months the vet gave her a clear bill of health and her weight was back in a healthy range. I'm not sure if this is pertinent info, but she is a small chihuahua mix. Pomchi for sure, but may be partial daschund.
How old are the pups? Could you explain exactly how the mother is acting toward them when they get too close to her food?

Is she allowed to free feed or is the mother on a feeding schedule?

That is correct, the weaning process should begin right around 4 weeks old. Are you feeding the mom puppy food? If not, you will need to get some for the pups and I would highly suggest starting the mother on it as well. Start weaning by mixing some puppy food with water, let it sit for about an hour or so, (until the pieces of food are soft) then put the food into some low rimmed dishes, (plates work well for the first few feedings) then take a fork and mash the food up a bit. I like to put two or three puppies to a plate/pan, so make sure there's enough on each plate to give them a good taste, but not too much or they will stuff their little bellies. Make sure you lock momma away while doing this so she doesn't steal any of it. For the first day, I generally give them two small helpings of the mash, once in the morning and once in the evening to start, then slowly increase. Do NOT allow them to get hold of the mother's dry kibble, they could easily choke because they are unable to chew well at this stage.
 

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The pups were born 7/21. She snarls and barks at them when they go near the food. Yes, she free feeds, which is what the vet recommended for trying to ease the food aggression several months ago. She's been on puppy food since midterm, and the vet recommended she remain on it until she's completely done nursing. Thanks for all the advice. I could definitely use all the help I could get at this point.
 

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The pups were born 7/21. She snarls and barks at them when they go near the food. Yes, she free feeds, which is what the vet recommended for trying to ease the food aggression several months ago. She's been on puppy food since midterm, and the vet recommended she remain on it until she's completely done nursing. Thanks for all the advice. I could definitely use all the help I could get at this point.
I would highly suggest giving her somewhere away from the pups to eat, such as outside of the puppies pen or in another area that is completely blocked from them, like a crate or connected playpen with a divider the pups can't climb over. Management is key. Though in her case it is likely due to the fact that she already came with food aggression, in some cases mothers will simply guard what is "theirs" from the pups. I had a mother who would growl at her pups if they got too close to a toy she had, though she would let me take it away without any fuss. I removed the toy and didn't allow her to have it unless completely separate from them and it cleared up quickly.

Does your dog have run of the house or a at least the room where her pups are? It is very important that the mother be allowed to have time away from their pups so they don't become overloaded. Once trustworthy, my moms have free access to the whole house when I am able to watch her, and when I am not she has run of the dog room where the pups are so she can get away from them when need be.

Also, at this time I would recommend giving the puppies a shallow pan with water in it, so they can begin to learn how to drink. If they do not show much interest in it yet, that is perfectly fine, but it's good to start introducing it now.
 

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Her food is away from the pups, but in the puppy room. She can jump the barricade to get to it, the puppies cannot. Her room is completely blocked off from the house. I've opened up the door and allowed her in and out of the house as she pleases as soon as she started going outside again. Roughly two weeks ago. Before that she wouldn't leave the room at all. She showed no aggression with the water dish, when I tried to introduce the softened food to the pups, so I left that accessible to all. She still has a nice sleep area in the room outside the pen, but normally just sleeps in the pen a couple feet away from the pups.
 

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Her food is away from the pups, but in the puppy room. She can jump the barricade to get to it, the puppies cannot. Her room is completely blocked off from the house. I've opened up the door and allowed her in and out of the house as she pleases as soon as she started going outside again. Roughly two weeks ago. Before that she wouldn't leave the room at all. She showed no aggression with the water dish, when I tried to introduce the softened food to the pups, so I left that accessible to all. She still has a nice sleep area in the room outside the pen, but normally just sleeps in the pen a couple feet away from the pups.
Excellent, sounds like you have things under control. Make sure those puppies get plenty of handling from you, very important at all ages. :)

Do you have any other questions for me at the moment?

Please let me know if you have any questions about anything in the future, you are welcome to PM me as well. Always here to help!
 

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Oh they've been getting more handling than she can stand. I just cant resist the cute pudgy little dumplings. I started socializing them with the pops dog last week, and let one of the cats into the room Yesterday. I've been rotating bringing them into the living room every night to sit on the couch and watch some tube. She always follows and plops down onto the arm rest right next to me. LOL My biggest concern was the food aggression and making sure I'm going about their weening process in the correct way. Any tricks on dealing with the food aggression with an abuse rescue, post pups? I'm seriously at a complete loss there. I've had her for about 10 months now and I feel like the progress is at a stand still. I was able to break her of her aggression towards me and her possessiveness of me and she now gets along and sleeps right beside my other dog and cat(Which she definielty would not have done ten months ago), but that's it. My boy has minimal aggression with treats, but he's extremely passive of her behavior. He always wants to play but she jerks the toy out of his mouth and goes and sits on it. He loves eating, but he'll sit back and wait for her to get her fill, before approaching the dish. He's been the only other dog in the house and is so passive, so I don't know why she doesn't calm down with everything. I haven't seen any behaviorists or trainers. I live in a small city in Alaska. My resources are limited, but I've gone with everything the vet recommended. Positive reinforcement. Rewarding good behavior and ignoring poor behavior, instead of snarling back.
 

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Yes, I can post some when I get home. I just got to work for my shift and cell service is quite spotty out here. All my photos are on my handy dandy phone.
 

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The bottom two are mom and dad.
 

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Oh they've been getting more handling than she can stand. I just cant resist the cute pudgy little dumplings. I started socializing them with the pops dog last week, and let one of the cats into the room Yesterday. I've been rotating bringing them into the living room every night to sit on the couch and watch some tube. She always follows and plops down onto the arm rest right next to me. LOL My biggest concern was the food aggression and making sure I'm going about their weening process in the correct way. Any tricks on dealing with the food aggression with an abuse rescue, post pups? I'm seriously at a complete loss there. I've had her for about 10 months now and I feel like the progress is at a stand still. I was able to break her of her aggression towards me and her possessiveness of me and she now gets along and sleeps right beside my other dog and cat(Which she definielty would not have done ten months ago), but that's it. My boy has minimal aggression with treats, but he's extremely passive of her behavior. He always wants to play but she jerks the toy out of his mouth and goes and sits on it. He loves eating, but he'll sit back and wait for her to get her fill, before approaching the dish. He's been the only other dog in the house and is so passive, so I don't know why she doesn't calm down with everything. I haven't seen any behaviorists or trainers. I live in a small city in Alaska. My resources are limited, but I've gone with everything the vet recommended. Positive reinforcement. Rewarding good behavior and ignoring poor behavior, instead of snarling back.
I haven't had any experience with fixing a food aggression dog, so I am afraid I won't be much help there. Best suggestion I have would be to do some research, there's plenty of helpful info around. Until you can fix the problem, management is key.

Do let me know if you have more puppy questions. :)
 

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I inherited a rescue dog not too long ago and she had puppies on 7/21. She is showing food aggression toward them and I don't know how to ease the situation, to move along the weening process, which according to everything I've read starts at about 4 weeks and should be completed by 8.5 weeks. She is the first dog I have had that I didn't raise from a puppy and she hasn't proven to be quite the difficult young lady(roughly 3 years old) She came from somewhat of a chaotic environment. I do believe there was abuse involved. I've tried to stick with positive reinforcement, instead of yelling and the like, but I just feel like I've made no progress. She has been an extremely good mother otherwise. She's very attentive to her puppies and they're extremely healthy. I refuse to let her take chewing treats in her puppy room with her, due to her aggression and the only thing I've found effective is moving the food somewhere, where the puppies cannot reach it, when I'm unable to supervise them. Should I just start to put her outside for awhile and leave the food available to the pups so they could at least sniff it? Leaving her food aggression to deal with after they're weened? I'm at a loss.
It is not uncommon for mother dogs to sound very menacing with her pups. Of course accidents do happen but it is because they have no true intentions to hurt the pups she is extreme with her vocals and posturing. This being said I am assuming you have greatly increased her food intake because of the nursing if she is starving this will increase this so called aggresion. Other wise their is nothing wrong with feeding her separate from the litter some mom's need a break. Just because a dog growls and uses posture doesn't mean their is aggression it just means she is a dog.
 

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I stated earlier on (My 2nd post to this thread) that her food dish is never empty. I'm sure to fill it to the rim day and night, so no I'm not "starving her". Additionally I also mentioned that this poor behavior has been ongoing for several months(which would connote going well beyond the beginning of her pregnancy), and no she is "not just being a dog" It IS food aggression and it is an issue with multiple dogs. In my 4th post I stated that her puppy room has been left open so she can get away whenever she wants, giving her 1700 sq feet of freedom, not including when she decides to go outside... So Again, it's not that "she just needs a break". Please read the post in it's entirety instead of thinking I'm starving my dog, or making up "food aggression".
 

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I have a question for those who can help my dog that we have had since a puppy just had puppies on Christmas has just killed a puppy that wondered near her food what should I do we have an extra large cage that the puppies stay in while she eats her she eats outside the cage to eat but this puppy got close to the edge of the cage that was more than 6 feet away from her food and she nipped at it and killed it please any help would be great and appreciated
 

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I have a question for those who can help my dog that we have had since a puppy just had puppies on Christmas has just killed a puppy that wondered near her food what should I do we have an extra large cage that the puppies stay in while she eats her she eats outside the cage to eat but this puppy got close to the edge of the cage that was more than 6 feet away from her food and she nipped at it and killed it please any help would be great and appreciated
And for the most part she is not eating much at all her food and water bowls never get empty for she just eats a little at a time
 

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I have a question for those who can help my dog that we have had since a puppy just had puppies on Christmas has just killed a puppy that wondered near her food what should I do we have an extra large cage that the puppies stay in while she eats her she eats outside the cage to eat but this puppy got close to the edge of the cage that was more than 6 feet away from her food and she nipped at it and killed it please any help would be great and appreciated
That’s very serious. It’s probably severe food aggression/resource guarding, which is trainable, but when it has gotten to this point you really need professional help. It could also be some more serious mental problems, which may not be fixable. You need urgent help especially since she’s a danger to her puppies and also everybody around her. For now, never let the puppies be around when she’s eating, take her to a different room to feed her. Don’t let food, bones or toys near the mother and the puppies. Never leave then unsupervised, always keep an eye on them.

It’s also important that you pass on this information to the new owners of the puppies, they need to know this since the same or similar behavior is likley to be inherited.

What kind of breed is it? Does she have other problem behaviors?
 
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