When our dog takes salami, roast beef, provolone cheese, and fresh bread that we had laid out to make a subway sandwich from the kitchen counter or runs off with the raw steaks that we had next to the grill on the back deck, we are not very happy campers. Our dog just stole our stuff and we aren’t going to get it back.
Notice that I used the phrase “stole our stuff” because we assume that our dog “knew what he was doing” and understood that it was not his. If it were “his stuff”, it wouldn’t be stealing and something that would be perfectly acceptable.
Before we get “crazy mad” at our dog for taking the food, we need to determine if what he was doing was really wrong. We need to understand what he was seeing, feeling, and assuming when he saw the food. We need to look into the issues regarding whether the food had been left unattended. We need to determine if we left the food easily accessible in the same manner we may have left his toys for him to enjoy.
One of the major things that we need to recognize is our dog’s understanding of ownership and sharing. These concepts are slightly different in the canine world and can greatly change the idea that our dog “stole the food”.
Robin and I have a great dog training article that will help you understand if your dog stole the food or if you offered him the food. There is a big difference. Please read our dog training blog titled “How Do I Stop My Dog Stealing Food”.