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How can I stop my dog from stealing food?
As you all know she is a new addition to our family but she keeps stealing food and peoples drinks. She has constant water and two meals a day and is the right weight for her size, she has also been wormed but still she steals everything.
asked in dogs, food, stealing

Redslap answers:

You need to create a reaction in the dog so that it associates very unpleasant things with taking stuff (whether that is food or shoes or anything else it is not allowed). Everyone in the family has to be very united in delivering the same message to the dog - one voice of dissent can mess up the whole thing.

So, a loud clear "no" or "leave" as soon as it steals, followed swiftly by removing the dog from the thing it's trying to steal. If you need to ramp it up, try an empty plastic drinks bottle with something noisy like stones in it... rattle this loudly at the same time as saying no.

Reinforce your position as pack leader and thus strengthen your authority over the dog by making it wait before being allowed to eat its food. Simply restrain it while saying "wait". Don't let go until the dog stops any struggling and just waits calmly. It will get the idea *really* quickly, and in time you'll be able to simply say "wait" and the dog will stay put by itself. When the dog is calm and has waited to your satisfaction, just say "yes". In time, that one word (yes) will mean "I'm allowed" to the dog and can be applied to just about anything.

Once that's bedded in, the dog should be well used to not taking things without permission from you and will look at things, and then you, waiting for you to say yes *before* taking them.

It worked with our dog - she won't even touch a roast dinner left on the coffee table when she's alone with it.

Takes time and effort but really worth it. Good luck.

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Messerwisser answers:

I have been told that dogs dislike some sounds very much and when they intend to do something they shouldn't you can slap a roll of newspaper in your hand.

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tracieboo answers:

Is she stealing food from the kitchen work tops? Luckily mika can't reach that high, but i was told that a little bit of black pepper will do the trick. They don't like it and after a few tries and ending up sneezing they will get the message!!

The other method of making a noise, shaking a shaker is good, but you actually have to be there in order to do that. If she is sneaky she will wait until you have gone off to do something, like mika does!

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wumpus answers:

I did it with Max by training him to do the "on trust" thing.

Supplement from 02/08/2009 08:00pm:

Oops, I only went to login, didn't realise it was going to publish the text.

Put a SMALL amount of food down, get the dog to sit some way away from it, and say "on trust".

Dog will try to get to the food, but keep taking them back and sitting them back down again. It takes a long time, and many attempts.
Don't put a full food bowl down, in case it gets past you and starts chomping.

But once the dog gets the hang of it, it realises that it doesn't need to eat every bit of food as soon as it goes out.

Which then leads on to it not needing to eat every bit of food it can see.

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