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    1. #1
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      What do I do when the 8 month old steals his rawhide from the counter - then makes me chase him??

      OK - this is a general behavior question. Barley, who really does not often destroy things, decided to chew on the African basket of toys - instead of the actual toys. So - since I like this basket - and he has already eaten one handle - decided to give him a thin rawhide to chew on since he always needs to chew. (He has a nubby dinosaur nylabone and an antler in their basket - and he will chew on those at times - but wanted something more tonight. (like the basket) So - I put a rawhide chip up on the counter. He was so excited - that he did a small scatter pee. (Will this ever end??) I put him out to pee - which he did - brought him back in - and then he snagged the rawhide chip from the counter. (I forget how big he is getting and can reach it!) His favorite game is to steal the dishcloth from the kitchen and bring it to his bed and wait there for me to come and get him. He does not actually chew the dishtowel - just holds it in his mouth. So - I am sure this is my fault - but I think this is really funny and he looks so cute doing this - that it is sort of our morning game. However, tonight - I wanted him to drop the rawhide since he was not supposed to have it until I gave it to him. It was tremendous fun for him to run all over the house with my old dog and I chasing him to get the rawhide from him - and I know that he was having a great time and that I was sort of reinforcing the behavior by chasing him. So, I stopped chasing him - but did not want him to actually eat the thing because he stole it. Once he was in his bed - I took it from him and put it away. My question is this - is the rawhide indistinguishable from the dish towel in his eyes because we were playing the fun game with it? He obviously is not listening when I tell him to "leave it." How do you suggest I treat such a thing in the future?

      (He is now crashed out after playing ball, a long walk, a short training session - and now a game of chase in the living room and kitchen...)
      Forever in my heart - Sweet gentle Moby - lover of belly rubs, bacon, and Barbara 9-10-2001 to 11-2-2015

    2. #2
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      Labradorks's Avatar
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      So, first, you need to roll up a newspaper and smack...yourself...for allowing him to take anything from the counter and then encouraging it by playing a game. You can't allow him to take one thing off the counter and not something else. That's not fair and it's inconsistent. Training a dog successfully is at least 90% consistency.

      Since you made a mistake, I would have let him keep the rawhide and learned my lesson rather than chasing him and allowing him to learn the new game. When you took it away, at that point, you just stole it from him. He's not aware that you took it because of the way he got it. From now on, anything of interest should get put away where he can't get it, even if that means on the refrigerator or inside a closet.

      That said, luckily the rawhide was not something he wasn't supposed to have. And yes, he needs to learn leave it. Have you done drop it with him? Basically, drop it is leave it except he already has it, so it's trained very similarly.

      Leave it is generally trained when you're out and about and he is going for something you don't want him to have. Tell him to leave it and wave a treat in front of his face. When he leaves it for the treat, give him the treat and praise him big-time. It took a trip to the beach for me to teach this to Linus. Every shell, rock, hunk of seaweed, cigarette butt, driftwood, crab, dead bird, etc. went into his mouth and I swear I went through a lb of treats! Eventually, when I said leave it he'd come running and get a treat. Easy.

      For drop it, when your dog has something of value like a toy, ask him to drop it into your hand, give him a really great treat, then give it back to him. Rinse and repeat -- make it a game. This is a case in which you might want to break out hot dogs or cheese because drop it can be life-saving and it's important that what you have is worth him letting go of whatever he has. He'll learn not only that when he drops it he gets a treat but that he may even get his thing back, so he will not feel threatened, and he's less likely to get snarky. This I generally train not when the dog is being crazy, but when they are quietly playing with something on their bed. You want to set him up for success. After he is dropping the toy successfully you can do the same thing with chew toys then bones. Just work your way up slowly. And, when he has something he's not supposed to have and you say drop it, make sure that when he does drop it you DO NOT scold him for having it in the first place because at that point you are scolding him for dropping it. If you dog has something he should not have, it means you need to put it away. My throw pillows are still in the hall closet...

      Both of these things may be a little more challenging for you with an eight month old that you have played the keep-away game with. I usually teach this pretty much on day one and they've got it down by four months. If you are consistent and make it a fun game, it should be not only fun for both of you, but successful.

    3. The Following 13 Users Say Thank You to Labradorks For This Useful Post:

      Annette47 (02-04-2015), barry581 (02-04-2015), beth101509 (02-04-2015), doubledip1 (02-04-2015), Jollymolly (02-04-2015), Maxx&Emma (02-04-2015), Moby and Barley's Mom (02-04-2015), POPTOP (02-04-2015), Scoutpout (02-04-2015), sheltieluver (02-04-2015), Snowshoe (02-04-2015), Tanya (02-04-2015), xracer4844 (02-04-2015)

    4. #3
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      i had some fosters that were bad for that. it's best if you catch it early on (frist time they try). I go for a toy they love best or high valu treat and play wtih it, squeal and pretend to have tons of fun wtiout him. I will loop in towards them but then back away looking and my body pointing away from the dog. Most dogs will come investiage adn will happily trade. Eventually they will willingly and quickly come to you.

      Also work on take it and drop it (but always reward drop it durign training).

      With a good mix of the above chances are when they do grab something dangerous I can grab it quickly and easily then reward - doing it " the wrong way" but having had so much repetition it works.

      never ever chase. even if it's somethign dangerous it's goign to take you longer to get it and rewards the behaviour (and they may just swallow it faster). I know it's hard but it's the worse thing to do. IF your dog is doign a lot of stealing then have them drag a leash indoors when you are around to help you have some control (but still trade up).

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    6. #4
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      Agree with everything Labradorks said. The training tips are great! Also, you are entering the time when when your sweet dog becomes a nightmare and really begins to test you (I tend to think this is why I ended up with Shadow who was ultimately estimated to be 10 months when I adopted him -- I am guessing the original owners couldn't deal with the personality change).

      I would especially highlight "putting anything of interest away". That includes ANYTHING that you love...books, wooden objects, baskets, ceramics that might get knocked. In fact, anything that is below 6 feet. My dog destroyed so many things that I did not expect -- I totaled it up to being over $1K...My trainer gave the height advice after telling me it was my own fault -- which it really was -- she walked through my house and said what to put away. She told me that it was my responsibility to set my dog up for success - not failure (seems to be a common phrase in the dogworld). Like Labradorks indicated - it was me that needed the scolding and not the dog. Over time, and after much training with the above techniques, I have slowly reintroduced objects to lower areas and now can keep things on coffee tables and lower shelves.

      As for a toy storage container -- I found a nice, large attractive glazed flower pot and keep his toys in it. It withstands his slobber and abuse.

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    8. #5
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      Labradorks covered everything I would have wrote. It just seems like he doesn't understand your boundaries or they aren't clear enough for him.

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      Moby and Barley's Mom (02-04-2015)

    10. #6
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      Agree with everyone. I taught Gauge bring it. When he would pick something up he shouldn't I would trade him a high value treat. I now say bring it to mommy or let mommy see and he happily brings me whatever he has. Benelli is just learning he also likes to run away with the object I NEVER chase instead I taught him let's get a cookie(treat) I run away to the kitchen to get his hot dog he knows what it means so he will run after me and offer what he has for the hot dog. He only gets hot dogs for this. I learned to keep everything off the counters now that I have labs.

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      Moby and Barley's Mom (02-04-2015)

    12. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      So, first, you need to roll up a newspaper and smack...yourself...for allowing him to take anything from the counter and then encouraging it by playing a game. You can't allow him to take one thing off the counter and not something else. That's not fair and it's inconsistent. Training a dog successfully is at least 90% consistency.

      Since you made a mistake, I would have let him keep the rawhide and learned my lesson rather than chasing him and allowing him to learn the new game. When you took it away, at that point, you just stole it from him. He's not aware that you took it because of the way he got it. From now on, anything of interest should get put away where he can't get it, even if that means on the refrigerator or inside a closet.

      That said, luckily the rawhide was not something he wasn't supposed to have. And yes, he needs to learn leave it. Have you done drop it with him? Basically, drop it is leave it except he already has it, so it's trained very similarly.

      Leave it is generally trained when you're out and about and he is going for something you don't want him to have. Tell him to leave it and wave a treat in front of his face. When he leaves it for the treat, give him the treat and praise him big-time. It took a trip to the beach for me to teach this to Linus. Every shell, rock, hunk of seaweed, cigarette butt, driftwood, crab, dead bird, etc. went into his mouth and I swear I went through a lb of treats! Eventually, when I said leave it he'd come running and get a treat. Easy.

      For drop it, when your dog has something of value like a toy, ask him to drop it into your hand, give him a really great treat, then give it back to him. Rinse and repeat -- make it a game. This is a case in which you might want to break out hot dogs or cheese because drop it can be life-saving and it's important that what you have is worth him letting go of whatever he has. He'll learn not only that when he drops it he gets a treat but that he may even get his thing back, so he will not feel threatened, and he's less likely to get snarky. This I generally train not when the dog is being crazy, but when they are quietly playing with something on their bed. You want to set him up for success. After he is dropping the toy successfully you can do the same thing with chew toys then bones. Just work your way up slowly. And, when he has something he's not supposed to have and you say drop it, make sure that when he does drop it you DO NOT scold him for having it in the first place because at that point you are scolding him for dropping it. If you dog has something he should not have, it means you need to put it away. My throw pillows are still in the hall closet...

      Both of these things may be a little more challenging for you with an eight month old that you have played the keep-away game with. I usually teach this pretty much on day one and they've got it down by four months. If you are consistent and make it a fun game, it should be not only fun for both of you, but successful.
      You are absolutely right! I am smacking myself as we speak! (With said dishtowel) Ah, the training never ever ends. I cannot let the cuteness factor get me. I also worry, as Tanya said, about not being able to grab something I do not want him to eat because he thinks it is a game. No more dishtowels for him and the drop it training begins. Thank you!!

    13. #8
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      I've written about this before...some people agree with me and of course some don't.

      The house belongs to me. My things belong to me...whether it is shoes, papers on the counter, food on the counter, dish towels, clothes,...whatever!

      The dog owns very little. He owns his crate, which is his space. He also owns his toys (although I pick and choose what he gets and when).

      At no point do I think I need to hide things. If I want to leave my boots by the back door, I leave my boots. If I want to hang my coat on the back of a chair, I do it. At no point do I say to myself, I need to hide everything in my house to protect it from my dog. I set very clear boundaries. Counter is an absolute no. My things are an absolute no. I have never had a dog ruin anything of mine. So long as adequate exercise and mental stimulation is provided, toys are provided, food is provided, and the urge to chew is provided with acceptable toys - you will not have a problem with this mentality.

      If my dog all of a sudden decided to chew something like the couch, or something like that...I wouldn't look at the dog and get angry and upset. I'd look at myself and say why on earth did this happen? What could I have done or given him to prevent this?

      In my opinion, feel free to disagree with me, I feel like hiding things and protecting things isn't the right mindset to have.

      Seriously, please correct me if this isn't correct or if this doesn't translate to dog behaviorism. I'm constantly developing and changing the way I do things. I can say that I haven't had an issue for years. I value everyone's opinion always! Frankly, this is how good discussions start!
      Last edited by xracer4844; 02-04-2015 at 10:56 AM. Reason: punctuation

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    15. #9
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      Sophie has learned that there are prizes to be had on the counters/tables. Especially gloves, hats, mittens. When she gets something in her mouth that she shouldn't have, I've learned that because she loves to chase ME, I hide around the corner (making sure she sees me) and she comes running so I can easily take the item from her mouth. I'll sometimes say "trade ya!" and give her a treat in exchange. This is probably reinforcing the wrong behaviour, though...I'm open to hearing your thoughts about this.
      Sophie: Born July 28, 2014
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    16. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by SoapySophie View Post
      Sophie has learned that there are prizes to be had on the counters/tables. Especially gloves, hats, mittens. When she gets something in her mouth that she shouldn't have, I've learned that because she loves to chase ME, I hide around the corner (making sure she sees me) and she comes running so I can easily take the item from her mouth. I'll sometimes say "trade ya!" and give her a treat in exchange. This is probably reinforcing the wrong behaviour, though...I'm open to hearing your thoughts about this.
      Ha! Well, I guess that is one way to do it! It probably does encourage her to steal stuff from the counter... I'd work on leave it with her. Then, when she is sniffing toward something (you can always tell when they are about to hop up on the counter) you can say "leave it!" and give her a treat and then run off and play your game. Make the game about her reward for leaving it, not her reward for stealing something she shouldn't have.

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