Dogs cannot resist the temptation of food lying around. They just submit to their instincts and grab the food and run! This is a perfectly natural reaction for dogs which can be trained out so that they learn to respect food that is not theirs. There are things that you can do:
- Avoid feeding your dog morsels of food at times other than his actual meal times. It is important that he have regular meal times so that he comes to expect food at those times and not start hunting for it beforehand. The entire family must be quite strict on these rules for the retraining to work.
- When you have the time, try leaving food on a low table where your dog can access it easily. When he shows an interest in taking the food reprimand him with a strong “No”, then take him away from the food so that he does not just sit and look at it. Continue with this procedure as long as you are able to watch over the food.
- If your dog is a scavenger who likes poking around in your rubbish bin for food then it is a good idea to remove the bin so that he cannot get to it while you are out. If you are present, then leave the bin out and in the open, when your dog starts becoming interested in the bin reprimand him sternly. This is an extremely effective method of teaching your dog that the rubbish is off limits.
- Set your dog a booby trap whereby you tie one end of a piece of string to food and the other to a pebble-filled tin can on a table. When he takes the food, he will pull the can off the table causing a loud noise that will frighten him. There are of course several other similar types of traps that you could set him limited only by your imagination.
This is a small excerpt taken from Secrets To Dog Training – STOP Your Dog’s Behavior Problems training book, courtesy of the author Daniel Stevens.