Friday, January 21, 2011

Hey, That's My Shoe!

While your dog may never steal your money (unless there’s some peanut butter on it), other household objects that are lying around like your brand new heels are attractive chew toys for your canine companion. If possible, avoid leaving these valuable objects lying around for the taking. If it cannot be avoided, realize that the motivations behind your dog’s behavior are far simpler than you would think. 

Entertain and Engage
If your dog spends a lot of time home alone watching the minute hand tick she may resort to undesired behaviors. We may not understand the appeal of rifling through old smelly garbage, but to your lonely dog, it’s a gold mine of activity. However, if you make an effort to exercise your dog by taking her on walks or playing fetch in the backyard, you are expending some of the energy that would be used to steal your belongings. After physically entertaining your fuzzy friend, you should engage her mentally. Play with her and her favorite squeaky toy. When you sit down to watch a movie, hand her a food dispensing toy that will keep her occupied for a while.

The Cold Shoulder
If you’ve already physically and mentally stimulated your dog and she still goes after household items that are better left alone, there are a few techniques you can try in order to nip that behavior in the bud. Resist the urge to run after her screaming when she steals your fabulous new throw pillows. This can be extremely hard, but if you do, she will think you are playing a game or that whatever she has is in her mouth is very valuable, (it might be) and is worth holding onto. Instead, walk the other way or turn around and ignore her. Part of her motivation is to capture your attention, so don’t reward her with it.

Create a Diversion
While your canine companion is going to town on your treasured belongings, yell in a happy excited tone a catchphrase she loves to hear such as “Let’s go for a walk!” or “Go check your bowl!” Of course after she stops chewing, you actually have to follow through with a walk or food. If you don’t, she will eventually become hip to your lingo and learn not to trust you. You can also try squeaking or throwing her favorite toy to create a distraction and get her involved in some playtime.And there's always daycare at Morris K9 Campus, where she'll have free roam and lots of playmates.

Tricky Treats
If all else fails and your new shoes are one step away from being destroyed, give your dog a treat or distract her with food. Just remember that this behavior may reinforce the behavior, so be diligent in your efforts!

Pat Miller, CPDT-KA, CDBC, is WDJ's Training Editor. “Five Things to Do the Next Time Your Dog Grabs Your Stuff and Runs.”

No comments:

Post a Comment