Why Does my Dog Steal my Stuff?

stealDo you have a sneaky little dog that loves to steal? Before you lock him up in a cell and stripes, there are a few things you can do to put a stop to the canine bandit.

Who is most likely to steal and why?

If they are under three years old: It’s very typical dogs from 6-18 months to steal and chew items around the house. They are still learning and are very curious about the world. And with doggy exploration comes the dog mouth. Most dogs grow out of this phase as they get older. They lose interest in our everyday items and move on to other things.

Dogs bred for hunting: These dogs have been conditioned to fetch and to bring us things. For generations that is what they’ve been taught and that is what they continue to do. However, it can still become problematic when they are bringing you a chewed up remote instead of a duck when you’re hunting.

How do I stop my dog from stealing?

While it is common for dogs to start stealing, it’s not common for them to continue it after a long period of time. They keep stealing because they get some kind of reward out of it, even if it is negative attention.

  • What type of reward is your dog getting?

Intrinsic: The stolen item (ie: food) is the reward itself.

Attention: Positive or negative, your dog feels rewarded by the attention they get after the fact.

Deliberate: Your dog may think that they are doing good by “retrieving.” They could be confused as to what items you want to be retrieved or not, especially if you are teaching them to fetch items for you.

  • How to fix it:

Teach them the “Leave it” command – Learn how with this video tutorial.

Set up booby traps – Use bitter spray, motion detection alarms, and electronic avoidance devices that spray the dog with air when they approach an area or object.

Try obedience training – Sometimes no matter what you try your dog still wants to steal your stuff. That’s when you might want to look into signing them up for some obedience training. Both you and your dog can benefit from the tips you learn from a professional.

Does your dog steal your stuff? Let us know your funniest story and also what you were able to do to stop the behavior. We’d love to hear some of your stories!




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