What to do if Your Dog Steals Food

if Your Dog Steals Food
Your dog a thief? Surely not! It’s true – many much loved family dogs are opportunists and will steal food from the kitchen bench or the dinner table. However, is “thief” the right word for him?

Your dog doesn't do this to be naughty. When a dog steals food, he is doing it because it is instinctive. Whatever his breed, your furry family member is descended from wolves who are scavengers. They ate what they could find or kill, and because they had no idea when their next meal would arrive, they’d take any opportunity to get some food. We both know your dog doesn't need to scavenge for his meals when he has them regularly given to him, but he still has that inner instinct to grab food when he can.

Given that your dog is only acting on instinct when he pinches food, it can be said that this is a normal dog behavior. The problem is that it is a behavior that isn't appreciated by his human family. There needs to be a way of preventing him from doing this.

Here are some suggestions to protect your food from your enthusiastic canine scavenger.

Keep Food Away

A logical solution is to keep any food well away from your pooch’s reach. This means move plates and foodstuffs away from the edge of benches and tables. Even better, don’t leave food on open surfaces, but instead put it somewhere your dog can’t even see it.

Feed The Dog Before Yourself

If you give your dog his meal before you start to prepare yours, he may be less likely to pinch what he can reach in the kitchen. A full belly may mean he won’t be in a scavenger frame of mind.

Control Access to Food

If you feed your dog just from his bowl and at regular times of the day, it’s possible he’ll learn the routine and know that a meal is coming. This may discourage him from stealing food that is within reach.

Another idea is to train him to eat only if he is given a particular command. Ideally, he’ll understand that he can’t eat unless you give the command so he may be disinclined to steal.

Set Up a Booby Trap

Dogs learn from negative consequences so one option is set up a booby trap for when he steals. One option is to leave food within reach but have it flavored with a foul tasting substance (make sure it is harmless though). When your pooch steals the food, it will taste horrible. He may associate the taste with stealing and be reluctant to do that again. Another type of booby trap is a noisy one – set up some tins or other noise making items so if your dog steals food, they come crashing noisily down on the floor. Again, make sure that there is no risk of harm to your pup.

Training and booby traps can help reduce the chances of your dog stealing food; however it’s not easy to train a dog to overcome years of instinct. These solutions can work but nothing is as effective as keeping food well out of your dog’s reach. This is the only way you can guarantee he won’t give into those inherent urges and help himself to his next meal.