Dogs that are food-related aggressive react inappropriately to people or dogs around food. Generally the higher quality the food, the more pronounced the aggression. It can be difficult to treat because protecting food may be ancestral adaptive behavior.
When directed at people it may be an early indication of developing what was formerly known as dominance aggression later in life.
It is easiest to feed the dog in an area that guarantees no disturbance. The behavior won’t improve, but it won’t worsen. Some behavior modification can be beneficial, but given that most behavior modification uses food as a primary reward, anyone who doubts their ability to execute desensitization around food should avoid it.
Free feeding (as in leaving as much food as the dog can eat at anyone time) is not recommended for health reasons.
**Aggression categories compiled from:
Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, Karen L. Overall, M.A., V.M.D., Ph.D. Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behavior, Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, Mosby, Inc. 1997
The Dog Who Loved Too Much: Tales, Treatments, and the Psychology of Dogs, Dr. Nicolas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, Bantom Books, 1997