What’s a dog to do?

What’s a dog to do?  Not just once, Marley is making a habit of snaffling my dinner, beating me to the bowl night after night.  My mum just laughs, says there’s plenty and that I’m much bigger than him so could easily barge in.  Thing is, I’m frightened; he has claws and teeth and isn’t above swatting me if he feels like it.  His food is put up aheight, out of my reach, so I don’t think it’s fair that he should help himself to mine.  I could starve to death!