Does your dog steal food from your kitchen table, or even from your plate?
If so, this guide is going to explain what you can do to stop your dog from engaging in this behavior. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll understand why your dog may have learned that it’s ‘okay’ to steal food, and what you can do to gently re-educate them on the matter.
Firstly, it’s important to realize that it’s instinctive for your dog to look for food, and if they find anything at all, they will feel very rewarded for their efforts.
Of course, this will only encourage your dog to continue, so you need to prevent them from succeeding as much as you can by reducing their opportunity to successfully steal.
Sending Clear Messages
One of the key lessons for your dog to learn is that they should eat from their own food bowl only – especially if they have a stealing problem. This is also one of the first things you need to teach a new dog or puppy.
Hopefully, when they’ve learned to only eat from their bowl, you’ll notice that they’re less likely to steal food which isn’t theirs, too.
Additionally, you shouldn’t leave food in places where your dog can easily gain access to it, and you should never feed your dog from the dining table if there are food-stealing issues.
You should also make sure your garbage is in a secure location (with a firm lid) to stop your dog from opening and scavenging inside.
Step By Step Training
Scavenging or stealing food is very rewarding for your dog, so it can be difficult to ‘train’ them out of the habit.
However, it’s certainly not impossible – so here’s a step by step method you can use to change this behavior and generally make them less likely to steal food in the future. Let’s take a look.
- The first step is to create a situation where your dog will ‘steal’ the food in your presence.
- When you catch them in the act, give them the command to ‘leave it’ in a firm voice, with a strong ‘down tone’ to your tonality.
- Now simply repeat this whenever you catch them investigating your food in the future, to ensure they’ve learned that this food isn’t for them.
How To Stop Your Dog Scavenging Your Garbage
If your dog likes to scavenge through the garbage when you’re not around, then you may need to try a different strategy. While it’s best to prevent access to your garbage entirely, this may not be possible for some.
In these cases, you can spray your garbage area with a non-toxic spray to make the garbage less appealing to your dog. The bitter taste should help to make the experience less self-rewarding to him which will discourage further scavenging.
Begging For Food
Many dog owners succumb to giving their dog the occasional treat from their table, but unfortunately, this can lead to your dog begging for food while you’re eating, too.
The cure to this is to simply not give in to the begging – it’s a battle of wills, and whoever is more stubborn will usually win!
In addition to this, here’s a step by step technique you can use to teach your dog that you’re ‘in control’ when it comes to food, rather than them.
- First, tell your dog to ‘sit’ while you’re preparing their food. Make sure you do this away from the table where you usually eat.
- Next, put their food on the floor, but keep them in the sitting position until you give them permission to eat by giving the command ‘ok’.
While this is a simple technique, it should help to change his behavior if you’re persistent.