Why does my dog steal things and how can I make him stop?
As a dog owner, there’s a good possibility that you may have randomly come across a long lost sock, hairbrush, t-shirt or other object. Being the culprit, your dog may be particularly good at hiding things in corners or under places where you would least expect them to go. Why is it that they want to hide things? What can you do to keep them from getting their paws on something that might pose a choking hazard?
What Dogs Do
Behavior like “burying a bone” is found throughout many breeds, it’s inherent to their primal instincts. The dog sees these random objects as toys that they might want to play with or teethe on. So, they will extract said toy from your room and place it somewhere private so that you don’t take it back. Dogs are smart in this sense, however, they don’t register this behavior as “bad” or theft, as humans do. It’s a sort of finder’s keepers rule in the animal kingdom.
If the dog is taking something right out of your hand, it’s either finding something irresistibly delicious or wanting to play a game of keep away with you. Don’t chastise them or overreact, dogs need lots of attention and playtime. Snatching something will get your attention and “a dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do”!
How to Help your Dog
Try buying some more toys for them to chew or play with around the house. Look into different types that they may not have. It’s quite possible if they’re just bored with the ones they have. In the meantime, try being more careful with leaving things around the house that they can reach. As far as stealing food, you may want to look into ways of training them to better respect people when they are eating. You should not allow your dogs to beg for food if they are already well-fed. That means no staring if they are in the same room and certainly no food given at the table. If you want to give your dog some scraps, you should wait until everyone is finished and deposit the food into their bowels.
It is still possible that your dog may have a diet and/or digestive problem, so if their begging seems to be a bit more urgent and persistent, you may want to have their veterinarian examine them. There are special doggy diets to make sure they are getting the proper level of calories, fiber, and nutrients to keep them satisfied and healthy.
That about sums up the case of the dog robber. Just remember: keep objects they might want out of reach, keep them occupied with plenty of their own toys and your attention, and keep them well-mannered, well-fed, and you will see a lot less disappearing magic acts by your pup.