Puppy stealing food from counter tops

  • Puppy stealing food from counter tops

    Posted by ilan on March 21, 2021 at 1:05 PM

    Hi all

    I have a 5 month old Great Dane puppy. Her training is going really well. I have followed all Robert’s lessons and a thank you to him because he has taken the experience of owning a dog to a new level for me

    I am however having a problem with her jumping up and what’s more troubling is that she will take food and other items from counter tops.

    The second I put her on leash she is good as gold but I don’t seem to figure out a way to control her when I take her off leash when it comes to this

    Please help

    ilan replied 3 years ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Alin

    March 22, 2021 at 4:43 AM

    Is she unsupervised when she is doing this? Or she does this no matter what in front of you?

    At 5 months, my GSD didn’t get to do what he wanted around the house. If I wasn’t next to him then he would be in the crate. I also had him on a 15ft leash tied to a heavy couch so he could roam around a bit but I also had my eye on him from my office at the same time.

    So he never developed bad habits. If I saw him doing something like chewing on a shoe, I would tell him NO and give him a bite toy instead.

    Now he’s almost 2 and I can leave him around the house because he is more mature and behaved.

    • ilan

      March 22, 2021 at 1:04 PM

      Hi alin

      Thanks for your reply.

      I would say that she is semi supervised when she is doing it. It’s definitely something that she is looking to do all the time and will take a gap if it’s there. I know that for a puppy to be semi supervised when out of her crate is not ideal but we have young kids and sometimes when she is out of her crate it’s simply not possible to have our full attention on her all the time

      The bad habit is certainly being formed now and I would like to break it as soon as possible. Just to give you some context, She is a particularly attentive Great Dane and I have formed a wonderful relationship with her. It’s just this particular area that I am struggling with

      Question. I am busy watching Robert’s course on e-collars. Do you think that it is too early to start using an e-collar to correct her when doing this, in order to break this type of behaviour early?

      Look forward to hearing from you

  • Riggan

    March 22, 2021 at 3:28 PM

    Ilan, What I have done in the past with my bottomless pit Golden Retriever pups is a combination of management and training. For management, as you know, the best is constant supervision, but that can be tough will little children. The other management aspect (which is also difficult but critical) is to make sure that food is NEVER left where she can get it. Getting food off the counter is incredibly highly reinforcing and it will be almost impossible to break the habit if she learns that it is a great way to get a tasty treat.

    For training, I heavily reinforce “4 on the floor” whenever the dog is in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter whether I am training or just working in the kitchen. If the dog comes into the kitchen (or wherever there are tempting counters) and has all 4 feet on the floor, I praise and reward. I also use these areas a lot for training Sit and Down. Once the dog starts to understand these commands, I’ll keep her on a loose leash and let her sniff or move around the kitchen. As soon as the nose goes up to sniff the counter, I’ll say “No!” (firm, not angry), “Sit” (or “Down”, whichever is her best command, or you can vary it). If she doesn’t respond, then I can correct for the sit or down with a leash pop and repeat the command. If she does comply, praise and treat. You want to catch her BEFORE she actually goes up on the counter, but when the thought is just starting to cross her mind. If you aren’t quick enough, give a sharp “No!” and leash pop to get her attention on you and give her a command. Then also give yourself a wrist slap for missing on your timing! 🙂 You can also use a “Leave It” command, but I prefer this to be an automatic behavior rather than a cued one – I never want the dog (especially one the size of a Great Dane!) to put a nose up to the counter sniffing.

    Also, until this habit is broken, don’t put treats on the counter and treat her from there when you are training. Use a treat pouch or something. You don’t want her to associate that the treats come from the counter.

    Good luck!

  • ilan

    March 23, 2021 at 1:55 PM

    Hi Riggan

    Thank you so much for taking the time to help me by posting such a in depth and insightful response

    I have already started using some of the methods you suggest and although this is definitely going to be a process, I can already see that your suggestions are going to be affective

    I really appreciate the help

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