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Question
Posted by: Quince | 2011/05/23

My German Shepherd has recetly started " stealing"  junk food.

My dogs are on a balanced diet (dogfood) and in mint condition. However recently my German Shepherd has started stealing.
Opening doors, climbing thru windows, whatever it takes to get the pizza, chips, choccies, whatever is around inside.
Is he just being naughty or does he lack something?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Quince i doubt if it is something to do with diet if the dog is on a good quality food but phone your vet to be on the safe side and see what they say. To me it sounds that he has found an easy way to get some nice 'goodies' - remember that dogs are natural scavengers and will take any opportunity to get something! I would suggest management i.e. keep things out of his way and what you can also do (but does not work with all dogs) is to create a booby trap. On the edge of a table pile some metal trays, with pot lids, empty cold drink cans etc on it - place a really interesting, smelly piece of food just a bit away from the edge and then stand back and dont let the dog see you. As the dog tries to get up and get the treat, hopefully the whole lot will fall on him giving him a fright. What you can even do here is from your hiding place, bank two pot lids together as the whole lot begins to fall for extra effect. This is called the startle response and the whole idea is that the dog associates what happened with the expereience, not the behaviour. This often stops dogs completely but may need to be repeated a few times and always in different locations. Good luck and let me know how it goes, thanks Scotty

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/05/24

Hi Quince i doubt if it is something to do with diet if the dog is on a good quality food but phone your vet to be on the safe side and see what they say. To me it sounds that he has found an easy way to get some nice 'goodies' - remember that dogs are natural scavengers and will take any opportunity to get something! I would suggest management i.e. keep things out of his way and what you can also do (but does not work with all dogs) is to create a booby trap. On the edge of a table pile some metal trays, with pot lids, empty cold drink cans etc on it - place a really interesting, smelly piece of food just a bit away from the edge and then stand back and dont let the dog see you. As the dog tries to get up and get the treat, hopefully the whole lot will fall on him giving him a fright. What you can even do here is from your hiding place, bank two pot lids together as the whole lot begins to fall for extra effect. This is called the startle response and the whole idea is that the dog associates what happened with the expereience, not the behaviour. This often stops dogs completely but may need to be repeated a few times and always in different locations. Good luck and let me know how it goes, thanks Scotty

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