- Brendan Knijf & Gemma Johnston
Does Your Dog Steal Household Items?
This is another normal behaviour for dogs to do. Just like kids, dogs will also want to investigate fun & exciting objects they come across!
When our belongings have been taken by the dog (some of which may cause harm to our dog if swallowed or other important objects that we don’t want to be destroyed), we panic & try to remove the object from the dog as quickly as possible. We run towards them, sometimes angry & telling them off, prying their mouth open to remove the object.
We see this as the dog has stolen something from us.
The dogs see it as we are stealing something from them!
Even though the object is technically the humans, I’ve got bad news for you! They found it, it’s now theirs & they value it. So, when you pry it from them, YOU are actually stealing from them.
It’s important not to rob your dog of the items (Or Food!) it has picked up, as this can cause a lot of issues!
It can cause:
A dog that becomes possessive & aggressive around objects (or food)
Trust issues between dog & owner
A dog that steals objects & runs away from you
That running away can become a fun game of chasey for the dog (Not so fun for you)
To put it in a humanised scenario
You are walking down the street every morning with $50 in your wallet to spend. Each morning the same person mugs you of that $50. How do you begin to feel about that person & place? How might you respond?
Become aggressive & defensive, punching them in the face next time you see them
Run & hide, avoiding that person at all costs trying to protect your $50
Crumble in fear & give up your $50
Never walk down that road again in fear of being mugged
Everyone is different & will respond differently. Your dog is no different to the above.
What we should/can do instead:
Put away & pick up objects you don’t want the dog to have access to
Close doors to rooms you don’t want the dog to have access to
Address any counter surfing issues
Supervise your dog to prevent them from taking any objects
If you can’t supervise them, put them away (Crate or Kennel Run) so they are physically not able to take anything
Stop! & don’t chase or approach your dog if it has taken something
Encourage or teach the dog to come to us with the object or all objects (This can be made into a game that’s in your favour)
Formally teach your dog a “Bring It Here” command
Teach your dog to chase you instead
If you need to approach your dog, bring food with you to make a trade off
If you need to approach your dog, bring food or a toy with you to make a fair or better trade off (Food or toys value should outweigh the value of the object the dog has)