Dogs are wonderful companions and quite the curious creature to have by your side. There are plenty of things that your dog may do that baffle and confuse you. There may even be some behaviors that leave you more concerned than anything else.
When you are caring for a dog, it is important to make sure that you know the difference between natural and unnatural behaviors, as unnatural ones can often signal that there is something wrong. It is also important to understand where your dog’s behaviors and habits stem from if you are planning to remedy them.
After all, when you understand why your dog does a certain thing, then you will have a better grasp of how to go about preventing your dog from doing that. For example, if you do not like it when your dog lies down to eat, the first thing you should do is understand why your dog does this. From here, you can begin to think of ways to prevent your dog from doing it, if you can.
Why Do They Do This?
It is a well-established fact that wild dogs (and other wild canines) will lie down to eat their food. This is an innate behavior that wild dogs have learned how to do for their protection. When lying down to eat, wild dogs can have a firm grip on their prey while still being able to angle their heads to see incoming threats.
With that being said, domesticated dogs do not have to take this precaution, as there aren’t any predators coming for their food. Or so one would think. Often when a domesticated dog lies down to eat its food, it is doing this because it feels that it needs to keep a close watch on potential threats.
In a sense, your dog is doing this because it feels the need to protect its food. This belief can be valid, and there could be territorial issues between other animals in the house and your dog needs to protect its food from them.
This belief can also be perceived, meaning that your dog is doing it because there is an underlying behavioral issue (possessiveness, aggression, fear, or anything that would cause a dog to fear that its food is not in a “safe” area).
How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Doing This?
The first thing you should do if you notice that your dog is being territorial, is consider why your dog is acting this way. You should rule out any competition between other animals in the house as well as any behavioral problems. Chances are that if your dog feels the need to protect its food by lying down to eat, then it will exhibit other protective tendencies.
You should also make sure that your dog isn’t doing this because standing or crouching to eat is painful for your dog. This would be seen as your dog limping or not wanting to stand up for long periods of time. Ruling out health and behavioral issues is always a must with corrective problematic tendencies in dogs.
From here, you will simply want to limit the amount of space that your dog would have to lie down around its food. You may want to put down things with an undesirable texture around the food so that your dog can still stand and crouch to eat, but it will not want to lie down to guard the food.