Charles loves a good chew. Every night I gather up all the dog toys and put them in the toy basket and every day he takes them out one by one. He is very partial to anything that Louise prefers. I think it is important for all dogs to have time each day for a good toy chew. Charles’ daily gathering of soft toys to chew on isn’t a problem but marrow bones, antlers, nylon bones, high-value treats, and of course, dinner, needs to be carefully orchestrated or things get snappy and dangerous very fast. Keeping the peace when you have multiple animals and multiple resources guarders* is a challenge.
*”Resource guarding refers to a dog displaying behavior (growling, snapping, etc.) intended to convince other dogs or humans to stay away from a particular treasure or “resource.” The resource can be food, treats, toys, a place (a bed or favorite chair), or occasionally a person. Basically, a resource is anything that is considered by the dog to be of high value.” –YourDogsFriend
Separation is the key with 7 animals. The cats and dogs have always been separated at the zoo when it comes to where they eat but now it is more important than ever. Sofie charges cats near her toys or food, but it never got dangerous until Charles came. The cats usually just laughed at Sofie and jumped up on the counter where they eat. Since Charles and Sofie get into scary dogs fights over resources the cat charging has escalated. This is a concern and something I am dealing with.
Louise has no problem around food or other resources (she’s so easygoing in the house). And, in almost 7 years together, Louise and Sofie never fought over food, toys, or bones (though Sofie has been known to stare/whine at Louise until she gives up just to shut Sofie up). I can pick up the food bowl while they are eating or take any toy or bone from them without any trouble. I trained them this way since they were puppies. But Charles is new here (and almost 9 years old) and he came with some bad habits so now dog separation is a must.
Both Sofie and Charles have resource guarding issues. Sofie has attacked him several times around dinner or treat time, even before I started preparing anything. I think she starts it, but he won’t back down either and fur flies.
My answer – keep as much distance between them when food or treats are involved.
Charles only gets his meals and his snacks in his exercise pen. He is not allowed out until the other animals finish eating or having their treats. Charles has charged the cats from the other side of the room, especially if a human is eating and he is in proximity. I now have strict rules about feeding him outside of his pen because he is just too unpredictable.
As I said, separation is the key around here. As long as there is space, gates, and doors, everyone can have a good chew.