Stealing and The Chase: Prevention is better than cure
Puppies and young dogs steal things and run away more because they want to be chased and see you get excited and force you to interact with them. Sure sometimes they may want to simply lie under the bed and chew your socks but the solution is really still the same.
- Prevention is better than cure so move your special items off the floor out of reach
- Never make it into a game
- Check your puppy has been exercised and has got plenty of chew toys to play with
The best procedure for taking something off a puppy:
- Say absolutely nothing.
- Close the doors to all the rooms.
- Walk slowly over to your puppy and then quickly, calmly and firmly take it off your puppy.
- Give your puppy a toy that he is allowed to play with – make it rather like a swap.
- Walk away without a word being spoken and without making eye contact.
Your puppy will know that the behavior was not appreciated and your puppy will also have not received any attention from you.
The persistent puppy
If your puppy just refuses to give up and keeps attempting to steal the same object or another one and refuses to stop then you can isolate her.
Many chew toys are too hard for puppies especially when they still have their baby teeth. Try softer cloth materials like a T-Towel. Often if you make it damp and then tie a knot in it your puppy will have hours of fun with it! Be creative!
Making it a game
The biggest reason that puppies steal things and run away is that they want to play. They learn very quickly which objects will get a response from you and focus on these items! When you shout, chase, get excited and run after your puppy a number of things happen…
- has fun
- gets attention
- is spoken to
- is looked at
- gets you to respond
- is chased
- plays games
- ignores you
- does what he wants…
and so on. Now can you see why making the situation boring and calm, and giving no attention, is so important to stop a puppy from doing it again!
If the possession is not particularly important you can ignore
Sometimes the thing that your puppy has stolen is not actually important and you can hold off, often making a big fuss immediately will ignite everything into a chase. However if you leave it for 60 seconds your puppy will just walk away, leaving the item on the floor for you to pick up and place out of reach.
Doggy Dan’s Q&A
Q: Why does my puppy insist on chewing my socks?
A: This is really to do with scent and texture. Your puppy will know they are yours. And often chew toys are made of hard plastic or rubber and are not the correct soft texture for their little teeth. Try a web T-towel tied up in a knot and see if your puppy loves getting her teeth into it. You may well be surprised.