My dog is a food thief...and a paper shredder lol

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by sassybrat, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. sassybrat New Member

    I have a 5 month old beagle mix named Sophie, whom we rescued from the humane society. She's been with us since she was 6 weeks old, but is now tall enough to do some serious thievery!

    She has learned leave it, and if I SEE her doing something she shouldnt and say "leave it" she responds immediately. However, she is a sneaky little thing and if I don't have my eye on her every second, she is shredding paper, facial tissues are her favorite, but she will go for toilet paper, mail or discarded wrapper that hasn't made it to the trash can. The dog ate my homework comes to mind, as she has gotten my son's homework folder off the table before, luckily we've caught her before she got a chance to shred.

    Also food...she goes for all food! We do not feed her any people food at all, but she sneaks it when she can. I made my son a sandwich the other day and called him to the table, he was washing his hands in the kitchen and I went to pour him a glass of milk..when we turned around the top of the sandwich was mysteriously missing! so nice of her to leave some for him don't you think? at least she shares! :) lol

    Now like I said she will respond to leave it but you have to see her do it! At Thanksgiving I was frying celery and onion in bacon grease for the stuffing and when I went to scoop it out of the pan a big glob fell on the floor, she lunged and I said "LEAVE IT" not wanting her to be burned...she immediately sat down and did not try to get the bacon smelling glob! I was very proud of her! and she got a treat and a good girl after I was done cleaning up the mess.

    So you see she does respond to leave it, but she is sneaky and goes for it when my back is turned...fast too...can swipe a sandwich or a christmas card off the table and be behind the couch in the blink of an eye lol.

    Any suggestions on how to curb her thievery??

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I think that there are numerous was of looking at this problem. Predominantly, it sounds like it could be a boredom issue. The dog gets bored, wants some attention, and has learned that if it eats tissues, toilet paper, etc, it gets attention. It might not be the perfect form of attention it gets, but it's attention anyway, and that is all that matters.

    Does the dog have access to toys? If it does, do you vary the toys randomly? We have dozens of toys for our six month BC, but she will only ever see four of them at any one time and they are always on the floor for her. I always try to include a chew type toy or object, such as a bone, then a tug-toy, and a ball, so that all moods are catered for. :)

    I might change one toy, two toys, or all of them each time, and that might be daily, it might be weekly, it might be just when I feel like it. The point is that I keep it completely random. Touch wood, thus far, we haven't had a single thing chewed, picked up, or stolen, that doesn't already belong to the dog.

    Is the dog getting plenty of exercise? If the dog is storing up unused energy, it might be more inclined to get into mischief.

    Then there is the crate. The idea being that you place the dog in the crate when you can't supervise it. Some people love them, some hate them. I see them as a necessary evil during the early months. If you get the right size, and put it in the right location, the dog often learns to love it as somewhere it can go without being bothered.

    I would look at the toy situation first, shortly followed by the amount of exercise. At that age, energy is high, but in relatively short bursts, so it's quite east to tire them out with some cunning high-energy games, such as chasing a ball across large fields. Good luck.
  3. sassybrat New Member

    Sophie has lots of toys...but I didn't think to vary them...she has stuffed animals, rawhide chews and hooves (her fav), she has balls, things that squeak and tug ropes. she loves to fetch!

    She is not getting outside as much as I think she should, and that could be part of the problem. I take her for a leash walk once a day...and we let her out to run around the yard about 3 x a day but these romps are supervised and because it's so cold, she doesn't get more than 20 min at a time. We have 2.5 acres but it isn't fenced and she always wants to go visit the neighbors, so we don't let her out to just run around.

    I told my son this morning that it will now be one of his "jobs" to take her out in the yard for a game of fetch after school. for a min. of 30 min. she likes to chase him when he rides his bike in the driveway and I used to let him do that, but the driveway is steep and graveled, and he is only 7 and not to good on the quick respose, and he accidently ran into her last week so I put a stop to that one for a while, until she and he both get a little quicker to react! lol

    Thanks for the post!
  4. leema New Member

    Maybe have a look at the training levels, in particular the 'zen' principles
  5. ehasson77 New Member

    LOL That's funny. Flash is a Beagle and he is 9 months... He doesn't steal food but he is a shredder also... The main problem is that it isn't only paper. We have gotten toys for him but he tears those apart too. The only toys we have are tennis balls. He steals my sons stuffed animals sometimes and if he doesn't get caught he will rip it up. I walk him 3 times a day. We play fetch with him. We wrestle with him. We finally broke down and got him a crate. I was very against it and I still am. He knows when I am leaving and puts up a fight about going in it. I wish I could trust him enough to let him stay out but we have work and school. I feel for ya! :)
  6. profiam New Member

    Aren't the sneaky ones fun!? :D My girls are both less than a year. Princess is the really devious one - she literally can sneak into an open bag of potato chips (you know, when the kids forget they aren't supposed to eat in the living room and leave them on the floor) and take ONE potato chip without the bag crinkling a bit!

    She and Arwen were both working on counter surfing IN FRONT of me yesterday! I'd say down, and they'd drop. I also use "not yours" for ANYTHING that doesn't belong to them (paper, kids' stuffed animals, food). So, I did a test and left treats on the counter and hid around the corner. When Arwen had her nose up sniffing, I just said "not yours" in 'that' tone. She just looked at me and went away. I watched her and Princess (she tried it to) for about 10 minutes. Then moved the treats to a different part of the counter. I put 5 there last night at around 6:30 p.m. It's now 11:30 a.m., and there are still 5 treats there. Hope it keeps working!

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