Dogs steal food because -
- Food has been given to him/her when they are begging at the table and they are coming back for more.
- He or she is bored - make sure your dog is getting out and and about exercising and sufficient mental stimulation.
- You have a hungry dog. This may sound ‘obvious’ but there are health problems that can make your dog hungrier than normal and this may need to be investigated. Also, review your dogs diet to ensure he or she is being fed sufficiently (have a chat in at your vet clinic if you are unsure).
What to do about food stealing?
If you punish your dog for stealing food it will only learn not to steal food when you are not around, to avoid punishment.
You will never hear it happen or it will happen pretty darn quick.
Instead, do some short training.
Have your dog on the lead and the moment he or she goes to go for the food, utter a deep growl “Ahhh!”
Repeat this a few times over the next couple few days.
You can also teach ‘Leave’ as in previous blog posts (under ‘Obedience Type’ Command Instruction) and a ‘place’ command such as “Mat” or “Bed” to go to around feeding times*.
*Remember in initial training, always say the word “Mat/Bed” when your dog is on the object, for that word to be linked to the action, Selina McIntyre, Dog Behavioural Consultant and Dog Trainer, Dogs Best Friend.