The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #90 Stolen Items - How to get them back

February 10, 2022 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 5 Episode 90
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #90 Stolen Items - How to get them back
Show Notes Transcript

Does your dog ever get something you do not want them to have? This is a common occurrence from household to household. Learn how to get that item back by creating a good relationship with your dog BEFORE the emergency happens. 

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Amy:

This is the puppy training podcast episode number 90 stolen items, how to get them back this podcast is designed to help you on your journey of becoming best friends through love and learning as you train your own dog from home, and I'm here to help you every step of the way. This is the puppy training podcast, and I'm your host, Amy Jensen. Hello, how are you today? I hope you're having an awesome week. We are almost to the weekend and the sun has been shining in Utah, which makes for happier people and happier dogs. We've even had a few days that have felt like spring. I know. I know it's still winter, but there are a few signs out there of warmer days to come. And we're super excited about it. I do enjoy the changing seasons though. I really do enjoy the snowy get I'm just ready for some sunshine. Baxter seem to be having a day today. But as soon as we went outside to play and he saw the blue skies and the sunshine he perked up too. And he was happy to run around. So I hope you and your dogs are finding some fun this week. Today I want to talk about how to get something back your dog may have stolen. I get asked about this pretty frequently. So I thought why not spend some time today talking about it on the podcast. This is something that we all should be aware of and know how to handle appropriately from the get go. I want to give this information to as many people as possible to help you handle this in a non threatening way for your dog. It's really, really important. This is a common occurrence across households that our dog at one point or another find something they are not necessarily supposed to have, like a sock, maybe it's a tissue or wrapper, your child's doll or stuffed animal or other novel item. Now when someone in your household first notices that the puppy has something that we do not necessarily want them to have, what is the initial reaction? It usually goes something like this. The child chases the dog to get it back as quickly as possible, or the adult whoever it may be, but let's say little Joey runs after the dog saying Hey, that's mine give it back. The dog sees Joey running at full speed picks up the item and runs away as fast as they can. Often our dog hides under furniture or tries and protects their newly found treasure in some way. Oh no you don't Joey I found it first is what our dog is thinking. Now if you're fast enough, you can catch your dog you can always pry the set item from their mouth and march away seemingly victorious. However, a different scenario might also occur if handled in this way. One where your dog freezes, snarls, snaps or bites to keep what they think is theirs. They found it first after all right? I promise there is a better way. So friends, please do not chase your dog, or pry things from their mouth. If at all possible, we can teach the dog a better way, the chase becomes a super fun game for them. So refrain at all costs from chasing them to get back the set item. It has a natural dog instinct, and it will encourage them to protect what they found, and also is fun for them. No one likes a dog bite, I'd even argue that your dog doesn't like to buy either. In most cases. In fact, they tried to say very nicely with their stiff tight body language Hey, back off. I found this first. And if we don't listen, we come a little closer. Then they tried to tell us a little more forcefully with the growling or maybe some air snapping biting at the air. They're missing us on purpose. Yet we still came closer. And then we get to the point where we've just made the dog angry or frustrated. And they're feeling very threatened. Nice, didn't work, the dog may try something else. And that's where we get into dog bites. Okay, so that's not a super fun picture or scenario. So what do we do when our dog gets something we want back here are a few tips. Remember that if your dog has something you don't want them to have, and it might be a tissue a sock or some garbage do not chase them or confront them. As we mentioned, we don't want to create a resource guarding issue and we don't want a potentially dangerous outcome. So first step one is as hard as it is give zero attention to the item you want back. Do not let your dog know that you also value that item. This can be really difficult. I see this a lot in family settings where the person walks into the room we see the dog has their favorite slipper. The person reacts immediately like oh no, that's my slipper. Suddenly the dog is like wow, this slipper is super valuable, okay. And if we come towards them, that the dog is most likely going to pick up the item or run away with it. Or they'll start to say hey, you back off by giving us those signals that we mentioned. So if you see your dog or something that you would like back, really step one is to not give that item attention. Try your best to not let your dog know that you care about it. This is a little bit counter intuitive. The natural reaction we all have would be, oh, no, my dog has something I need to get it back right now. And we feel that urgency. But I'm going to explain a process here as we move into step two, that will help alleviate some of that urgency. Step two, is to see if you can recall your dog, or use a simple hand target. If you've been practicing with your puppy on these basic behaviors, then the puppy knows I come to Amy, I check in, I get paid. And then she sends me right back to do what I was doing. And we've built this into our puppy to just know I'm a reward, I'm not a threat to them. So they come they check in and they get a treat, they go back. And we do that a lot to the point that even when my puppy gets a novel item, they're willing to come check in and go back to what they have. Now that going back to what they have, might not always be available, sometimes that item may have disappeared, and it's been replaced with something better. I always trade up, I always make it worth it to my dogs. And we'll go into that in a little more detail in a minute. So I always start there, can I recall my dog off? Can I ask for a touch? Will they come? Maybe you've been working with your dog on this and they understand that this is how it works. If you have a new puppy in your home, or you have recently adopted a new dog into your home, they might not know that this is how it works. I encourage you to spend time teaching your puppy some basics and letting them know that it's always worth it to do something that you ask. Let's say that you are in the situation of having a new puppy or a new dog in your home. And there's this emergency moment, when they get a stolen item. They don't have a lot of training history with you, what do you do, then I want you to create a diversion, I want you to go straight to your fridge, get several pieces of cut up chicken, turkey, string cheese, or whatever's good in there that your dog's going to enjoy. Or even a favorite toy usually works, whatever your pup really, really likes. And I want you to just have a little party, I want you to walk past your puppy, I don't want you to give any attention to necessarily your dog or the item that we talked about. Just go walk past them so they can smell what you have and create your little party over in the corner, you can really sell it get excited about what you have, have fun. And again, that zero attention on the item your dog has helps your dog then think hmm, there's a little bit of excitement happening over there. I wonder what's going on. We're almost creating FOMO in our dog like fear of missing out on something really cool. So at that point, puppies will come over, hey, let's check out what's going on over here we can reward them as your dog smelling the yummy food and seeing the exciting movement that you're creating, you can then reward them for coming over to you. Now they might bring the item with them, they might not bring the item with them. I'm not too worried about it at this point. I just want to reward them for looking up at me or getting excited about what I'm doing coming over to my side of the room to do something with me. And helping them forget about the item that they were so excited about moments ago. Notice I'm not bribing my puppy, I'm not dangling a carrot in front of their nose. I'm not offering them saying hey, you have this item? Do you want this, this might be better now there that would leave them with a decision to say, Do I want this? Or do I want to go get that? No, just ignore what they're doing. Ignore the item that you're wanting back, go over create a party and see if you can get that puppy to forget about what they were so excited about. And now they're joining in on the fun that you're creating. At this point, you can go and remove the item that they have, someone else can go remove the item that they have, I find it's helpful to get the puppy playing a game. As soon as they come to me, we go right into fetch or tug or hide and seek something structured that takes their mind off of what they did have, somebody else goes and picks it up, puts it away and have a problem. It's important to note that this would be an emergency case point of view. What I mean by that is let's do our best to set our dogs up for success in the first place by closing bedroom doors, putting loads on our garbage cans, keeping our counters clean, you know, throwing away the trash, putting shoes in closets, whatever you need to do to puppy Proof Your Home, while our puppy then learns better behavior through, you know, practicing leave it and practicing drop bits and being really happy to release things in their mouth. Because we're a treat to them, we always reward or add to what they have, rather than taking away what they have. So that's another important concept that we teach in our program, where if you have a puppy that's exhibiting some of these behaviors, I encourage you to get with us as soon as possible so that my team of trainers can help you get on the right path quickly. But we want the puppy to learn to willingly let go of things in their mouth and to view us as exciting or at the happy experience whenever we approach and they have something in their mouth. You know, most of the time I'm going to walk by add to what they have and leave. Right and I'm not going to necessarily touch what they have. Sometimes I might swap out what they have for something better, but I'm always adding or trading up for what my dog has, which then whenever they see me approach Even if it's a stolen item, they're still excited to see me. So we can help you get there. If you have any questions about this, please reach out to us. This is again, a very natural dog behavior to protect things that they find. And it's also a natural behavior on our part to want to overreact. So I guess the takeaway from today's discussion would be, please try not to overreact when you see your dog has something. In fact, try to ignore what they have create a diversion and get them to move away from the item just by simply being more excited about what you have versus what they found. We can help you get there. Please let us know if you have any questions. Happy training. You guys have a wonderful week. If you have a question about anything you heard on this podcast or any other Puppy Training question, visit my site Baxter & bella.com to contact me.