stealing dogs


New Member
I know I don't post so much on this site but I have to say that I am somewhat concerned as to the local press.

A couple of weeks ago a GSD was stolen outside a shop when the owner went into buy something. Then this week in my area an owner was confronted with someone trying to steal her GSD while out on a walk.

As the owner of a very young GSD I want him to get on with people but am very confused as to how to go about this. On one hand you want them to go with the vet nurses or with trainers but on the other hand how do you stop them from going with people you dont want them to?

My Duke, bless him, has had a tough life in his last 12 months of his life (he is roughly about 12 months old now) and we have taught him from when we got him at about 8 months old to trust people. He will go with the vet techs out of my sight and with the trainers at his training class. But with this news I have to say that I am worried, as this happened only a few miles away from me.

I think that he would bark and throw a fit if anyone was to try to steal him and I don't want to train him to be wary of strangers. Its a fine line that we walk as dog owners but then I think to when my kids were small and its a small comparison.

I thinking that I might try to train him to object to something that displeases me. but I am unsure as to how to go about it. I dont want anyone to steal him (although he is microchipped but that does not mean that the thief is going to be in a position where the microchip is worthy), and I dont want him to be scared of strangers. Any ideas????? I'd be most grateful for any feedback.


Experienced Member
I suppose really the answer lies in never leaving him a position where he could get stolen - I'd certainly never tie Milo outside a shop - but I have friends that do.

Here in Surrey, we have a couple going around the various walking spots trying to steal dogs. A woman calls the dog to her, ostensibly to pet or fuss the dog, then a man distracts the owner - while they are talking the woman legs it with the dog. Posters have been put all around advertising the fact with a description of the pair.

Milo loves people but at the same time he is wary of them and will often stop and stare at people approaching - unless they are with a dog which seems to indicate all is OK!

So, in short, no particular answer. As you say I want my dog to be confident around people - he's not a guard dog so I never want him to be aggressive to people - I had this problem with my last dog who just didn't fully trust people - including us.

My husband insisted I take a Labradoodle Rescue sticker out of my car as it advertised that I more than likely had a labradoodle on the back seat -i ts in his car now which is never used for the dog.



New Member
There are places where you can buy locks for your dog's leash. Yeah, all a person would need to do would be to cut the leash or collar, but it would take a little bit of extra time, giving you the chance to return to your dog in time, and also, you have to remember the criminal mentality- they're predators, and predators always take the path of least resistance. It's a decent mental deterrant to all but the most dedicated dog thief.

night watch

New Member
Steal proof

I have considered your concern and here is my opinion, 1 Teach your dog "no." and "ok" 2. make him sit and stay. 3. Have a friend aproach the leash and pick it up and start to walk away. If the dog starts to walk say no. 4.have a friend approach this time say "ok go with" Practice both no or stay, and ok go with with practice your dog will know not to go with anyone unless you say ok go with. Always reward the proper action w/ lots of praise!!! IMHO GOOD LUCK


Well-Known Member
Like night watch suggested, I've taught Charlie not to go with anyone until I give permission, but that once he has permission he is expected to go with them. He does not take commands from anyone but close friends and family.
Fortunately his temperament is on my side - he doesn't care about strangers, and has separation anxiety... he also understands that whoever is hold the leash is in control and actually tries pretty hard to keep the leash out of someone's hand... I used to take him to handling classes and pass him off to other people to get him used to it, but when he felt the hot dogs they offered weren't worth it he started grabbing the leash in his mouth and holding it so that the portion attached to his neck was loose :D

Along the same lines - teach your dog to never accept food unless it came from you... years ago my neighbor had his friendly little Sheltie poisoned in their own back yard - someone tossed a chunk of meat to her...


Experienced Member
the good thing i supose about storm is, he is really me orientated, if someone unties him or lets him out he comes straight for me and if someone pulls him away from where i am he pulls them harder toward me, i cant remeber how he learnt it, he was always focused on me throughout training and when my trainer tried to pull him away from me storm decided NO WAY and he sticks in his feet and drags them to me, so i can feel pretty safe that no one can steal him, but thats awful whats happening over where you live i know we have dogs go missing here too, about a month ago someone stole two show bulldogs out of there backyard but a couple of days later they were returned no worse for wear, but its still horrible i couldnt imagine life without my dogs


Experienced Member
My Granddad always uses his own special word when 'parking' his dogs, which acts, I suppose, like an electronic key in a car. When his dogs are 'parked', you can walk up to them, you can stroke them, take their collar off, and more besides. But damn, you won't get them to move without saying his key-word. If you try, they will bark like mad. He's always done it as far back as I can remember, and it works like a charm.

Aside from that, I think it's important to be vigilant, yes, but don't get overly concerned about it. Statistically, it's highly unlikely to happen to you. If you start limiting what the dog can and cannot do, or where you will and won't take the dog, based on what 'could' happen, then that would be a huge shame for both you and your dog. As jasperaliceuk stated above - I think the best policy is just to do your best not to leave your dog in a position where theft is made much easier.