Before you begin the food bowl conditioning, make sure you are following all guidelines on the “Daily Reminders” and “Getting Control of the Pushy Dog” and the following.
A dog that guards his food creates a problem for all the people and other pets in the household. Wandering too close to such a dog while he’s eating or guarding could result in an attack. Food guarding can be caused by genetics, having to share the food dish or the food being removed before he has finished. Your dog can learn to accept others near him while he eats, but it takes patience.
Set up your dog’s food and water dish in a quiet location. If your dog eats in the kitchen while you are making dinner, he may feel threatened when others come into the kitchen for snacks or to talk. Put his food dish in a quiet corner or another room where he can take his time and eat in peace and quiet.
Learn how close you can get before your dog gets upset. Some dogs get upset if you are in the same room while they are eating, while others are fine as long as you stay 5 to 10 feet away. You want to determine how close you can get to your dog without your dog growling or tensing up.
Toss your dog a high value treat when you are as close as you can get without him becoming upset or growling. Don’t say anything or try to get him to leave his food. Simply toss the treat toward the bowl, then leave the room and return to what you were doing.
Repeat this process at each meal. Gradually move closer as he relaxes. Overtime you should be able to drop the treat directly into his dish. At this point, when he sees you coming, he will probably look up eagerly rather than protect his food.
Ensure you’ve eliminated the food-guarding habit with this final step of training: Walk by and stop near your dog while he is eating. However do not bring him a treat. Walk away and resume what you were doing. Repeat not giving him a treat and walking away for a week or so. NOTE: If he resumes guarding, go back to step #3