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Food stealing

Misery's company
June 19th, 2007, 05:35 PM
My dog Misery, who is about 4 and a half years old, has recently started stealing food off the counter. It's not just that she is stealing but she is being sneaky. She won't steal if anyone is home but the moment someone leaves the house, she's jumping up on the counter stealing. I remember one day, on my way to work, I forgot my book and came back in to her eating marshmellows and she had pulled some chips down for later I assume. Ive tried showing her that it isn't ok to be on the counter by getting her to put a paw on the counter (voluntarily) and then making a lot of discouraging noise, but that only works for a few days. Any suggestions?

ChancesMom
June 19th, 2007, 05:46 PM
Maybe you could get a baby gate to block off the kitchen from her while you are away from home?

Misery's company
June 19th, 2007, 06:11 PM
That's true, but it doesn't correct the bad behaviour. Thanks for the thought though. I've been told to try the whole "put the hotsauce in the piece of bread" but I've caught her eating curry once so that wouldn't discourage her and it doesn't seem healthy...

SnowDancer
June 19th, 2007, 06:28 PM
Having had a Beagle, several mini Dachshunds and now an Eskimo - all gourmands I realize that nothing is safe. No food is left out. Doesn't matter that Dachshunds only weighed 10 lbs. - was easy enough to push a chair over and swing up. I know people who have trained their dogs to open fridge with a towel and then they wonder why the dog is helping himself of a sandwich! Then of course we used to have a very accommodating cat who would pitch food down into their open and willing mouths. I just don't think you will win this one. Of all our dogs the Dachshunds were the more resourceful. Good luck!

Misery's company
June 19th, 2007, 07:35 PM
The only reason I don't want to give up so easily is that this is a new behavior(within the past few months), and I'm not sure where she would have picked it up. We do try not to leave anything out but sometimes forget. I will try harder to remember but at the same time want to discourage this as much as possible. Any hints on effective discouraging tricks would help...:fingerscr

H.P.
June 19th, 2007, 08:41 PM
I read this somewhere, but have not tried it. Attach to the marshmallows, chips, etc that she is likely to pull off, a pop (or beer :p ) can with some coins in it, and the hole taped, so the coins won't come out. When puppy pulls the treat off, she gets a startling racket as the can hits the floor also. It seems like this might make it not so sneaky (fun) for her, and break the new habit and the negative reinforcement can happen even if you are not right there.. Good luck!

Misery's company
June 19th, 2007, 08:57 PM
Hey, that's a great trick! I think I will try that for sure! Thanks!!!! :thumbs up :) :thumbs up

MyBirdIsEvil
June 20th, 2007, 02:13 AM
The best bet is to lock all food she could possibly consume up while you're away.
The reason being, there is no way you can personally correct her for bad behavior when you are not there. Yes it's bad to let her continue with behaviors that are inappropriate, and avoidance isn't always the best option, but when you're not home there is very little choice. Without the aid of something such as a camera (more on that further down), you can't see what she is doing when you're gone, so she is free to consume available items with no consequences

A couple of suggestions:
Get a kong, stuff it with treats and freeze it to give to her when you leave. Perhaps if she has something tasty to consume while you're gone she'll be less likely to go after inappropriate foods.

Assuming you don't free feed, feed her at the exact same times every day. If she is not sure when her next meal is it will only worsen her food stealing behavior.

The problem I see with the coin suggestion is that it cannot be continually reinforced. When training a dog, all but the most obedient or submissive ones need to be corrected and redirected towards proper behavior several times.
Once the coins fall off the counter, she may be startled and then regain her confidence, going back to consume the food that is now on the floor.
As an example, I've seen wild animals and stray dogs knock over metal garbage cans, which make a huge racket. They're startled and run away for a few minutes but slowly work their way back towards the garbage can when they realize it won't happen again. After knocking over several garbage cans they get used to the loud crash that will follow and don't even notice it.
Worth a try, but likely ineffective depending on your dogs personality.

One of the only suggestions that I can think of that would continually deter her from the behavior may be a bit expensive, but could be more of a permanent option.

Install a cheap security cam so that you can see her from another part of the house, somewhere where she won't realize anyone is watching her. Install a loud alarm or horn in the room with her, the type that can be set off with a remote. When you see her try and get on the counter sound the alarm to startle her. Repeat several times until she no longer decides decides to get on the counter. I've yet to try this myself, because I choose just to either kennel my dogs or lock up foods, but have seen it suggested a couple of times by trainers. Although pricey, it seems to make sense.

Other than the security cam option, I can't think of any way to deter this kind of behavior while you're not there. The best and cheapest option is still to lock up all inappropriate food items, or seperate her from rooms that contain said items.
Think about it this way. Would you leave a toddler in room with a plate of chocolate cookies on the floor and expect them not to eat it? Not going to happen. Dogs have a mentality much like a small child ("it's there so I can eat it!"), a high food drive, and a MUCH better sense of smell. If food is there they will find it and try to eat it.

SnowDancer
June 20th, 2007, 10:26 AM
In watching my husband last night, I thought how could I possibly blame my Eskie for helping myself, when my husband takes and eats the specific items I asked him not to! Look at kids being told not to touch the cookie jar - or worse, a fresly iced, round layer cake sitting there with those lovely edges to run one's finger around (gross I know).

ChancesMom
June 21st, 2007, 04:20 PM
That's true, but it doesn't correct the bad behaviour. Thanks for the thought though. I've been told to try the whole "put the hotsauce in the piece of bread" but I've caught her eating curry once so that wouldn't discourage her and it doesn't seem healthy...

Hi!

I was only suggesting this from when you were away from home and unable to stop or correct the behavior to avoid the potential of your dog getting into something that may be dangerous.

As far as your husband goes, he is adult and would be able to figure out the baby gate, most likely. heehee!

Good luck.

kiara
June 21st, 2007, 10:07 PM
My son has the same problem but with his male cat. He seems to be hungry all the time. He used to steal food and tried to open the kitchen cabinets. He seems like a dog he would eat anything. I think he may have lived on the streets at one time. So my son had to install child-proof latches on all his cabinets. And he does not leave any food on the counter anymore. We all think this is too funny!!!

Jim Hall
July 6th, 2007, 01:48 PM
Then of course we used to have a very accommodating cat who would pitch food down into their open and willing mouths. I just don't think you will win this one. Of all our dogs the Dachshunds were the more resourceful. Good luck![/QUOTE]


lmao when the pets gang up on you you know your in trouble

Misery's company
August 16th, 2007, 03:57 PM
Just a quick update ~ Misery hasn't stolen anything in a month! I haven't really done anything differently but she seems to have out of it... YAY Miso!