My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
Many of these smaller dogs tend to become very dominant if the owner does not keep up with their obedience training. In addition, the behavior you describe is considered resource guarding and it can be dangerous if not addressed correctly. I have to tell you that it is best addressed in person with a professional behaviorist. However many owners are able to help their dogs overcome this unwanted behavior with lots of patience and hard work. The following sites go over this in great detail. The last site give many different ideas and techniques to help resolve resource guarding.
If you have taken the time to read the above sites you will notice that the owners gained their dog's trust by not taking things from them unless they gave them something even better. In the case of food, I've found that hand feeding gets the dog used to you being around the food.
You might start working with him by actually giving him bones but not actually letting them go. In other words, wear a thick glove as a little protection in case he gets aggressive and hold a bone for him to gnaw on but don't let it go. Let him know he can chew on it but only while you have it. After a few minutes of him just chewing it, offer him a treat of some raw liver or a hotdog slice. When he takes that, move the bone away for a few minutes. Then repeat again. You can use the leash to provide some negative reinforcement such as a quick tug and firm low toned "NO" when he growls. This will help him learn that you control the bone and if he doesn't growl or try to bite, he gets something even better which is why it has to be a good treat like liver or hot dog slivers. It will also help teach him that even if you take the bone, you are giving it back.
I also want to give you a site that teaches the leave it command:
I also want to be sure you work with him on obedience training . The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques on the previous website, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.
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Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.
I just realized I gave you an american site and you are in australia. Let me give you an australian behaviorist site.