If your dog has been waiting for you to leave before it starts eating, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog wait for me to leave before eating? Common reasons why dogs wait for their owners to leave before eating are that they are actually letting their owners get first pickings at the food, they are being possessive or that they feel vulnerable when they are eating.

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.

Reasons why your dog waits for you to leave before eating

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

It is letting you get first pickings as the pack leader

In the wild, the leader of the pack would normally eat first. The reason why your dog has been waiting for you to leave before eating might actually be that it is waiting to see if you are going to eat it first. This would be more likely if your dog does not show signs of the other things mentioned below and its body language seems normal.

It thinks you will take its food

Another possible cause is that it thinks that you are going to take the food and it is waiting to see what you are going to do before it starts eating it. This would be more likely if it seems to have slightly anxious body language when you are in the room and it watches you the whole time.

Training

It could be the case that your dog was previously trained to eat on command. This would be more likely if you got your dog when it was an adult.

It feels vulnerable

While eating, your dog will be vulnerable. The reason why it might be waiting for you to leave before it starts eating might be that it feels vulnerable. This would be more likely if you have only recently got your dog and it has not fully gotten used to being around you yet.

Possessiveness

The cause might also be that it is being possessive. This is where it feels the need to guard things that it believes belong to it. This would be more likely if your dog becomes aggressive when you go near it when it is with food.

Consider the body language it shows

When figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it, it would help to consider what body language signs it shows. If it shows signs of being submissive such as hiding its tail and making itself appear smaller, it would be more likely that it is waiting for you to eat first. Whereas, if it shows more aggressive signs, such as by snarling, it would be more likely that it is being possessive.

What to do about your dog not eating until you leave

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Let it continue

It is actually not a very unusual thing for dogs to do. If it is not much of an inconvenience for you, the easiest option would be to just let it continue doing it.

Avoid provoking it

If your dog seems to be doing it due to being possessive, it would help to avoid going near it since dogs, that are usually friendly, can be aggressive when they are guarding food.

Get help

If your dog becomes aggressive, when you go near it, when it is with its food, it would help to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing your dog to behave that way and how to get it to stop safely.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.