when your dog's behaviour goes backwards...

(3 Posts)
tinymeteor Tue 26-Apr-16 10:54:16

... How do you tackle it?

We have a 2.5 year old beagle who is generally v well trained which has been a mega effort on both our parts. We survived the puppy chewing and the teenage naughtiness and have emerged with a generally happy, relaxed, obedient hound. Beagles are notoriously stubborn so training him has been challenging but incredibly rewarding.

But we seem to be having a behavioural regression when it comes to food. He's become totally brazen about stealing from the kitchen table and surfaces, and apart from it being naughty, with a toddler in the family food snatching is not ok.

Our usual response is that he gets shouted at (zero impact) and put outside for a bit (withdrawing attention does work a bit). But he seems to have calculated that a stolen snack is worth the punishment. I'm not into aversive methods but positive reinforcement of staying on his bed during mealtimes is only getting us so far. He has a very strong 'leave' command for food he knows he's getting at some point - can sit and look at a treat, or his dinner, for ages until you give him the OK - but food he knows is not his? Irresistible.

Would appreciate advice on how to have a new push on training an adult dog. We don't use a crate, I know lots of people swear by them but it doesn't work for us. Shutting him out (or in a crate) solves the problem short term but doesn't correct the behaviour. Any ideas?

tinymeteor Tue 26-Apr-16 23:09:35

Anyone? Sorry for the long OP - basically, my beagle is a food thief and he's getting worse. Any advice?

Noitsnotteatimeyet Wed 27-Apr-16 06:34:48

You need to prevent it as much as you can - every time he does it and it pays off the behaviour you don't want is being reinforced

Dogs are scavengers - the vast majority would counter surf if they thought it was worth their while and beagles are notoriously food-motivated

Don't have food anywhere he can reach it - when you're preparing food give him a Kong or chew to have on his bed - make it more worth his while to stay on his bed than to raid the kitchen

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