Owning a dog can have many challenges, including barking. But what do you do if your dog starts barking at his food and what are the reasons for it?
Dogs will often bark at their bowl to indicate they want more food. Just like young children, dogs don’t understand the structure and so when they want something they think they should get it instantly.
In this article, we will explore the reasons why dogs bark at their food and how you can discourage this behavior.
Why Does My Dog Bark At His Food
1. They Want More Food
Dogs can be very much like children in the way they push the boundaries. In this scenario, your dog may well be trying to get an extra scoop of kibble, some treats on top, or even human food added to their meal.
A great example of this higher-level manipulation is when our pooch goes and stays with friends or family. We stipulate that our healthy dog should be given a certain amount of kibble at these specified times. Now our friends and family are not so familiar with the puppy dog eyes and are giving him extras such as leftovers. this is OK but it is usually added to his main meal, which he then gets used to eating every night. Of course, when we get home all we see is our dog staring bewildered at his food with the occasional bark demanding we rectify his meal to suit what he has had the past week. Luckily our Golden Retriever is not such a vocal dog but if you have dog breeds that don’t mind using their voice, you will find them barking excessively at their meal. Smaller dogs can often be the most vocal and certain breeds such as beagles hold this reputation. For more information on noisy dogs, have a look at our article, “Why Do Small Dogs Bark So Much”.
Many dogs are capable of being vocal, so it’s best to find out exactly why they are barking. The above is a common reason I myself have experienced, but there can be other reasons which we will discuss further in this article.
2. They Are Excited
Excitement is something that dogs often get when they are experiencing anticipation. Anticipation can cause dogs to run around like crazy, jump in the air, or in many cases bark. Because dogs love food so much, the concept of dinner time is something to get excited about. Your dog will most likely start barking as dinner approaches, dogs seem to be able to tell the time, especially with matters involving food or walks. Once you start making their dinner, they will either quiet down or start barking even more. As the bowl is filled with a food your dog will bark at their food bowl cheering it on, waiting for it to reach the floor. Of course, once it is at floor level and they can eat it the barking stops, although you may find they bark after their dinner too, this is a sign of enjoyment and happiness.
3. Something Changed
Despite their one-track minds, dogs can often be very observant, given the opportunity dogs to assess as much as they can in a situation. This assessment tends to come from their sense of smell, which is many times greater than ours. A dog’s sense of smell can guide them through many scenarios, even allowing them to remember past smells that may conjure up certain times in their life.
It is no wonder that due to this talent they can sense a change in their food, from a small added supplement you are trying to give them to a healthier option. If it is something they are not keen on then they will often tell you about it. Barking at their food is one such behavior that occurs when you change your dog’s food. Many times they will just turn around and leave it, but if you have a particularly vocal dog they will probably decide to tell you about it.
The best way to avoid barking in this scenario is to use a food that your dog really enjoys, I mean if you were to throw a slab of beef into their bowl they are not going to notice the change you have made. Now I’m not saying you have to throw a whole slab of beef down…that was a joke, but add something they will enjoy, this should mask the taste or distract them long enough that they end up eating their food anyway.
4. They Are Uncomfortable Eating
There is one scenario that you as an owner will need to watch out for, and that is discomfort. Your dog may be barking at their food because they are uncomfortable whilst eating. The most obvious scenario is that they have something wrong with their mouth, whether that is their tongue, gums, or teeth. Other reasons could be a pain in their legs or neck, along with stomach issues. It is important that you check your dog is not in pain by taking them to your local Vet, the quicker you get the issue identified the quicker your dog will be able to start enjoying his food again.
5. They Are Frustrated
Frustration is another common aspect of being a dog and although you as an owner try your hardest to keep their content, they can easily become bored and frustrated. Sometimes with certain dogs, food is not top of their agenda, this means that they vocalize themselves. Frustration in a vocal form may develop into more destructive tendencies, therefore it is important for owners to keep on top of their dog’s energy levels, both mentally and physically. Check out our article “How to Manage Your Dogs Energy Levels”. Frustration can
6. They Are Being Guarded
Thinking about where your dog eats will help you understand why it appears they are barking at their food. Barking in this instance will usually be because your dog is protective of their dinner, this could be for a few reasons. Firstly anxiety in dogs does exist and it could be that your dog is not trusting their food is safe. another reason could be the positioning of their food and the environment they are eating in. For example, if your dog is having to eat facing a wall then they won’t be able to keep an eye on what is behind them, this can make your dog nervous which may result in barking. The final reason could be the presence of other dogs in the house. Other dogs will usually be interested in any food that is on the ground, and your dog’s dinner is no exception. If your dog lives with the other it may not be a problem, but dogs that have been invited in from the outside will not be trusted by your dog. Barking and low pitch growls will usually be used to warn other dogs away.
How To Train Your Dog Barking At His Food
Stopping your dog from barking at their food involves identifying the main reason for the barking. You can do this by using the advice detailed in this article. Once a reasonable reason has been established, you must determine whether the behavior is because of frustration, joy, protection, or discomfort.
- Make sure your dog is getting enough activity, both mentally and physically. Try playing some games with your dog on walks, with scavenger hunts being the best type of game to stimulate your dog’s mind. Check out this article “9 Games To Play With Your Dog On A Walk”.
- Check to see if your dog is able to eat their food, there could be something in or around their bowl that is causing this frustration.
- Is there something wrong with your dog’s food, check to make sure it is fresh. You may have to do a replacement bowl of fresh kibble to test if your dog stops barking.
- Is your dog being a spoilt brat, dogs can be like children and if they are not satisfied with what they get, they will let you know. Training is the solution to this problem, have a look at this article on stopping your dog from barking.
- Training your dog to stop barking is the most effective measure for this, it may take some time but using tutorials such as the one above will help you get through.
- If your dog is barking for joy, you may not want to dampen their spirit but at the same time, you can’t have a noisy dog in the house. Try moving their meal times to a more appropriate barking hour or move their bowl outside just for dinner.
- Some dogs are protective by nature, you may find smaller dogs act more defensive whilst eating their food, this is because they experience life in an unequal way. Barking is a small dog’s way of making themselves heard and they may be using this to deter any hungry on-lookers.
- Aggression is something that needs to be dealt with early on. If your dog is allowed to act this way it may be only a matter of time before they decide to lash out. Again training can help both with barking and with food aggression, training should focus on being able to take your dog’s food away from them without them growling or barking, remember you are the alpha along with other people living in the house.
- It may be the fact that they feel threatened in the area they are eating in. Again moving their bowl to a secluded space where they can eat in peace will help alleviate any protective barking.
- Dogs injure themselves from time to time, with such active and curious lifestyles it’s no wonder it happens. If your dog is having trouble eating it may be in some sort of discomfort. Checking for injuries is a good place to start, otherwise visiting your vet to figure out if it is something more internal is a good idea. In my experience the summer is often when I see my dog feeling uncomfortable eating his food, it is usually because he has eaten a bee…….still he never learns. Check out this article on what to do if your dog gets stung by a bee.
- Dogs can easily put a strain on their joints and necks when eating from a surface-level bowl. In some cases raised bowls are great for dogs who have injuries or are older, as it puts less strain on their necks. Research indicates that they can drink water better from a raised bowl, simply because it does not have to travel against gravity as much. Try getting a small stand for your dog or even building one yourself at home.
My Dog Barks At Their Food Bowl Before Eating
Your dog may well be barking at his food whilst eating but in some cases, dogs will bark just as much at an empty bowl. This is usually an indication that they are hungry, or they want their dinner now. Of course, this is Ok to a certain point, but sometimes your dog has finished their dinner and is now demanding more food. If this happens try training them that you are in charge of their food by taking the bowl away while they are eating. In addition to this keeping, your dog bowls out of sight during the day may well stop your dog from being reminded of their food every time they walk into the kitchen.
Much of the time it can seem like your dog is barking for no reason, but there is usually a hidden reason behind their barking. Take the time to assess your dog’s surroundings, their food, and whether they are anxious about the people or dogs around them during dinner time. try out some of the tips in this article and see if it helps reduce your dog’s need to bark at their food. Hopefully, you have enjoyed this article and for more great dog content check out our homepage.