11 month old puppy terrible stealing

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11 month old puppy terrible stealing

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Old 09-10-2013, 01:41 AM
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11 month old puppy terrible stealing

Hello, Bella is 11 months now (gasp!).

She is growing into an amazing dog, however we still have problems with constant stealing and chewing of things. It is particularly bad if I have left the room. I can leave her happy chewing a bully stick then come back a minute (and I mean a minute) later and she has found something. If I go to the bathroom I have to leave the door open so I can see her! We take it in shift to watch her while we shower it's that bad! If I'm on my own I have to crate her even if I just need to go and put laundry away.

Sometimes even when we are in the kitchen with her I see her surfing the table/counter top looking for something.

Is this boredom or attention seeking. She once even opened a drawer because there were pipe cleaners inside, I kept telling the kids off for getting them out and spreading them everywhere until I realise it was Bella.

When, she has something we don't chase after her, I walk up to her calmly tell her to drop and treat her (she will NOT drop without a treat), if I see something before she gets it I tell her to leave, which she does well.

We are also taking her to puppy classes and all other aspects are improving. She has puzzle feeders, kibble in bottle etc. as far as exercise, she gets nearly and hour in the morning and my daughter takes her for a cycle, which she loves in the afternoon. So I think she is getting enough exercise. We play fetch and I am even teaching her to retrieve and put things in a box in the hope that it will help.

I can't give this dog anymore attention, I am trying my hardest but with 3 kids a house and my own business, I can't be Bellas 24hr person entertainer and minder. I would just love to be able to leave the kitchen without having to move everything six foot out of bellas reach.

Please help me, I was hoping this would be something she would grow out of but it hasn't happened yet!!!!
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:53 AM
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Storm, my mini poodle, is 11 months old in 4 days... He will also take things of mine, but he'll actually give these things to me... He'll grab a piece of paper off the dining room table... Come to the door, and I'll ask him to give it to me... which he does... He gets treats or heaps of praise for that! Sometimes I'm wondering if he does it just for treats or praise, but I don't really care.. The important part for me is that he trusts me enough to give me that treasure, he has just discovered...

The last naughty thing that he did (yesterday morning) was to put a dead cockroach in my shoe! I know that he doesn't eat these guys, and since it was gone, there was only one place to look.... and sure enough... lolol
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:12 AM
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Its attention seeking. It works, right? I mean, when she gets something she's not supposed to have, you react, yes? (I know most of the time you need to take the item away as it is dangerous to her or a valuable object)

I have a similar problem with my now 5 year old dog. He has stolen things since he was a puppy. I've trained him to retrieve the items to me, so at least I get them back. That's one solution. The other is to make sure there are not items around she can steal, which of course is problematic in a busy household. The third solution is to keep her penned up.

I'd suggest of those three solutions, you'll be most happy with training a retrieve.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:21 AM
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Thank you. I have been trying to teach her to retrieve and put things in a box, she will drop things well. The problem mainly comes when I am not in the room with her. You are completely right that in a busy house it's impossible to keep everything out of reach.

Could she be like it forever? I don't think I can cope with being stuck in the kitchen with her for the rest of her life, having to pee with the bathroom door open etc. I feel sorry for her as she stays in the kitchen as I can't trust her anywhere else around the house. It's difficult if I'm in the middle of something, I am often called away to a child or something. So she goes in her crate. I really do feel a bit down about it.
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:02 PM
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If this was one of your children when they were babies would you leave them alone or leave things for that child to put in his or her mouth laying around. You have to teach your pup just like you did your children not to put dangerous things in their mouths. The pup will learn just like your children did.
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:22 PM
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No of course not. But I try not to leave things lying around, but often she will find something, or open the draw and get pipecleaners. Also my kids couldn't jump up at work tops. Lol.

I am just worried that if I don't break the habit it will become a problem for the rest of her life. I am really trying hard. She has tons of love, attention, stimulation and exercise. As well as puppy training and visits with other dogs which she loves. She certainly isn't left to her own devises very often.

Is it likely that she will outgrow it and until then I just keep her crated every time I leave her?
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:37 PM
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I feel like I might be missing some fundamental part of teaching her not to steal.

I dont chase her, as she loves the attention.
I tell her to drop it, then treat.
She knows leave it, which she does most of the time.
We are working on retrieving and putting things in a box to make it more fun.

So other than this is it just keeping her crated and things out of reach (this is tough).

I totally think its an attention thing, she was slightly better over summer break when the kids were around and someone was with her a lot.

Is there something I'm missing?

I have asked Every dog owner i know and most reply 'oh mine didn't do that!' arrrrg
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:01 PM
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My dogs always go through a transition in the fall (when I go back to teaching) in which they regress in their behaviors and training. Then things get better again, and the next summer they gain tremendously.

It sounds like you are doing a fabulous job overall. You have taught her drop it and leave it and retrieving to a box. Those are huge accomplishments by 11 months. You must be quite a good trainer with her.

I would say just breath, ride out this season of transition, knowing this is a normal "fall slump." Keep doing all the good stuff you are doing. She will continue to get better as she grows up more and more. 11 months is still quite young and there is much more maturing to go. My guess is that eventually she'll only do this only on occasion and it will by that time, be more or less adorable. Then when she is an old lady, you will be thrilled when she does this because it will mean she is feeling particularly spunky one day.

It will all be OK. You are doing a terrific job with this puppy. Really, I mean that!
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:08 PM
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I just want to add That some dogs are just easier and harder than other dogs. We had an English setter was reliable loose in the house at five months old. Now we have another setter who at five years old I still have to manage very carefully in the house so he doesn't do naughty things.

You seem to be blessed with a puppy that has a few challenging habits and you are doing a great job training and managing around those.

Every dog gives us the opportunity to learn things about dogs and about people and about ourselves.
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:14 PM
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Another idea since you are such a good trainer would be to teach her a default trip to the crate when you leave the room. You could teach her this for very short periods of time and reward her when she's in the crate gradually leave for longer and longer and then when you come back in the room she would come to you and receive praise. this might be a great way for her to receive the attention that she's craving and she would be doing something that would keep her out of trouble.

Maybe you could even teach her to pick up a toy on her way to the crate so she can play with the toy while she's waiting for you to come back in the room.

The whole idea being of course that it is much easier to teach a puppy to do something than to not do something. So she could have a great game Of picking up a toy and running to her safe spot every time you left the room and then receiving lots of praise from you when you got you got back.

This might work well for her since she has a natural instinct to want to pick up something anyway.
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Last edited by Tess; 09-10-2013 at 02:20 PM.
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