As dog parents, we are all well aware of the fact that most dogs can’t resist the sight (or scent) of food. By the time they realize you won’t give in to their pleas for delicious human food, they usually find some other ways to get what they want – even if it means clearing the kitchen counter of all your kept food, especially when you’re not around.
This is not an isolated scenario, as this has been a common situation all over the US. Leave your food unattended, and your naughty dog will surely get a hold of it.
However, it is important to keep in mind that this “stealing” behavior should not be ignored. In fact, it should be corrected as soon as possible, as it might lead to your dog ingesting potentially deadly human food, such as chocolate and grapes.
So, how can we deal with the cute and cunning thief in the house?
Keep your food out of dog’s reach. Before leaving your kitchen, make sure that you clear all the food on your counter and all the other areas within your dog’s reach. Make this a habit, so that you dog won’t have to anticipate the availability of food within his reach every time you leave your kitchen.
If you have kids, teach them to clean after themselves; keep food inside the refrigerator if they need to, or put food somewhere high up so that your dog can’t reach it.
Make your dog think that you’re always watching him. Your dog might not understand what you mean by NOT stealing human food, but there’s a huge chance that at least he is well-aware that you won’t let him eat human food, whenever you’re around. Hence, your dog always taking the opportunity to grab something from the kitchen when you’re away.
So, the best way to correct this is to make your dog think that you’re always around to correct his behavior.
Here’s something you might want to try:
Try leaving something delicious on your table – where your dog could check it out but can’t actually reach. Leave the room. Whenever your dog tries to investigate the good stuff, by sniffing, rush back into the room and say “Leave it!” to interrupt his behavior.
If you could do this method regularly, you dog will eventually understand to “leave” the stuff on the table, and not do something about it.
To be able to monitor your dog from outside the room, you may use a web cam or simply hide somewhere, out of your dog’s sight. A hand mirror might also come in handy.
Randomly doing this activity – at any time of the day or any time of the week – will make your dog think that you’re always watching him, and that it means he can’t get away with stealing anymore.
Always remember that it also takes a bit of management skills to fully train your dog not to “steal”. Try asking for advice from dog trainers should you feel like you’re stuck with your dog’s larceny.