Does your dog love attention? Does he finds it very amusing to steal the dishcloth, your shoes, a sock in your room or your child’s favorite toy? Are you tired of running after your dog all around the house? Here are my tips to help you find a new activity for your “outlaw” dog.
Why is my dog doing this?
Simply to attract your attention and spend his energy. Dogs won’t do unpaying behavior. So, at one point or another, your dog is having fun and enjoys the interaction you create with him during his “shoplifting” episodes.
A dog needs between 3 and 5 hours of activity per day and if his needed are not met, your companion will himself find activities to spend his energy.
How to change the situation?
- Store items that stimulate your dog. Do not give him the chance to create a situation of failure. Allow your dog to learn the best behaviors in an environment suited to his skills. This step is temporary and you may be able to put your cushions back on your sofa.
- Instead of paying attention to him when he steals objects, reward him when he is calm. We have long believed that we learn from our mistakes, but in reality, we learn more from our success and the same goes for dogs. If your dog is rewarded when he behaves well, he will have the reflex to repeat this action over and over again.
- The two most important words to remember are: environmental enrichment. Add playful and food dispensing toys, activities like games and chewing at home to properly stimulate your dog’s many needs. A slow feeder and all toys that are good for chewing are a great option. You just need to find the different toys and the ideal routine to offer him at different times in the house.
Teaching to your dog “grab” and “let go”
With a dog rope, you can quickly teach him to “grab” and “let go” any object. Dogs do not like confrontation, so I propose a game!
Simply present the rope toy (ideally long enough to allow you to hold it with your dog) and as soon as he puts his mouth you can say “grab”. After a little practice, you can easily ask him to “grab” anything in his mouth. Thus, your dog will have the reflex to look at you before taking a few things for the purpose that you tell him “grab”.
Then, to teach him to “let go,” you just have to play with the rope and bring it between your legs and stop playing. Your dog will quickly find the game annoying and he will release the object. At that same time, you can say “loose” and start the tug game again to reward him.
I strongly recommend that you consult a behavioral specialist if your dog shows signs of anxiety or aggression when taking an object from him. You could take advantage of a specific intervention depending on your situation and your dog.