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Old bad habbits comming back..

January 15th, 2009, 05:11 PM
Our dog Kira is about a year an a 1/2, and lately she hasn't been being a very good girl. Shes taking tissues out of the garbage, taking food off the kitchen table and counter, being food possesive, she actualy attacked our cat tig 2 weeks ago because I gave him a piece of ham. Why is she acting up? Nothing changed, no new animals, no new atmosphere. She actualy begs like she wants to go outside and then when you go to take her outside she walks straight the fridge or oven. She will take food and tissues out of the garbage right infront of me. :eek: I discipline her, but it seems like the discipline is worth it for the food. What do I do?

January 15th, 2009, 07:49 PM
Ahhh, we have one of those too :rolleyes:. Ava's not food aggressive with us but does like to counter surf when she thinks we're not looking and loves used kleenex too :yuck:.

We have to keep all food off the counters...always...because if we don't, we're providing the positive reinforcement. If she never finds food, then she'll eventually stop looking for it.

Have you tried looking for garbage cans with lids that close tight? Even large pails with covers can do the job of preventing her from access. Or perhaps get a garbage you can fit under your counter or in a pantry?

January 16th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Nothing has changed in the household but her AGE! She is in the last throws of teenage stride and verging into adulthood. Many dogs will start to act out again at this stage. Sometimes at about 2 yrs a dog will make her last ditch effort to take charge.

There is a very good chance that the family has become slack in their training, rules and boundaries. Often we get a dog good at the basics and then back way off - as if your dog is done learning. Your leadership position has to last a lifetime and that means you need to keep the communication and boundaries going for life.

We picture leadership as a ball with the word 'leader' written on it. A 2-legged must carry this ball at all times because the dog believes that if no one carries the leader ball the pack will perish. People are great about carrying the ball in the early stages of having dog but then life gets busy, we start to take things for granted, we get lazy and put the ball down. Maybe you are cooking dinner - ball gets put down. Now you are serving dinner and forgot to pick the ball up again. The dog sees that no one is carrying the ball and runs to get it - and you didn't even notice. He's had the ball for days now and no one has tried to get it back so guess whose the leader now? Some dogs seem to lay in wait for someone to drop the ball, others grab it just because no one else did and others really don't want the ball but they have to pick it up because no one else will. I think your dog grabbed the leadership ball a while back and you are only just starting to notice.

Catching your dog in the thought of stealing food is important - which means you need to start watching her like a hawk. Put food on the counter on purpose and walk away but watch her. The second her nose lifts in the air to sniff the food you need to march in and tell her 'leave it' and back her out of the kitchen. If she respects you the she will back right off. But if she doesn't then she might just lunge for it. It's like a child reaching for the cookie jar just before dinner - it should only take a look from you and the child backs away from the jar, even better-the child would never dream of disobeying household rules of no cookies before dinner. But a disrespectful child will make a face and grab a cookie. These are symptoms of a relationship that is out of balance.

She just needs you to get back to old structure and boundaries. her behavior is a red flag that your work is not done yet.

Tissues - too many people avoid teaching by putting the tissues up high where the dog can't reach them - the dog never learns not to go for tissues. So we say put 5 tissues in the middle of the floor and put 5 toys in between . Each time your dog goes for a tissue you tell them 'leave it' and each time the dog goes for a toy you praise with 'good toy'. Teach your dog to think before they act. If your dogs 'leave it' skills aren't up to snuff then you have to back track, put a leash on and start from scratch until they learn. Then present the dog with higher and higher challenges until they will leave a 'steak' in the middle of the floor and not dream of touching it.

January 16th, 2009, 05:39 PM
Wow, thank you so much. Great advice, i'll be starting to "re train" her ASAP.