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LucyDog
21st January 2009, 11:09 PM
I am having a really difficult time breaking our 2 year old blenheim Lucy of a bad habit. Anytime there is unsupervised food on the table she will try to sneak her way up there and steal it. I have been working diligently with clicker training and she totally gets that she is supposed to lay on her mat while we are eating and she will generally stay there throughout the entire meal now even w/o any food reward. The problem begins when we start to clear away the dishes or anytime there is food on the table and we step into the kitchen for a minute. Then she will leave her mat jump on a chair up to the table and steal the food. She has even learned to wiggle her muzzle in between the chair and the table so that she can push out a chair that is pushed in and get up there. (Smart...naughty puppy...lol). As soon as I catch her at it she immediately jumps down and looks sorry...but that certainly doesn't stop her from doing it again..lol.

We are getting another Cav (puppy) and I want to break her of this habit now so she doesn't teach it to the new dog, not to mention the fact that it is bad doggy manners. What am I doing wrong? Should I train her to stay in her crate instead while we eat? I am not totally opposed to doing that, however I would like her to have good manners when she is around food without her having to be confined, such as when we go to someone elses house etc.. Maybe I am expecting too much. Any tips would be appreciated.

Aimee
Mom to Lucy (blenheim) and soon to be mom to Charlie Brown (ruby puppy)

brotymo
22nd January 2009, 01:25 AM
oh boy, if you get that one figured out, let me know. Bandit just out of the blue figured out how to do that one day about 2 weeks ago. We have NEVER fed him from the table, but now that he knows how to do it, it is really becoming a problem. If I am moving between the stove and the table placing the food out, he will jump up there and help himself. He almost got grapes the other day, so it could be a health hazard as well as a manners problem.

Mindysmom
22nd January 2009, 02:45 AM
Our Golden was an epic food thief - sometimes when you were sitting at the table like lightning the food would disappear. He knew he would be crated but seemed to think it was worth it. I was feeling rather smug with Max as he seems in some ways to be the reincarnation of Zeus but he's too short to reach the counter or the table. I guess I'd better be vigilant to make sure he never figures out how to get up on chairs.

Mindy is a princess and a lady. Stealing food would never occur to her lol! Max is a different dog lol. I can totally see him doing it given the opportunity.

Justine
22nd January 2009, 06:03 PM
How about taking her out the room and food times.

LovesCavaliers
22nd January 2009, 06:35 PM
Hi Aimee,

Great to hear you are doing clicker training. Have you done any "Leave it, take it" with Lucy.

I have taught Murphy to only take food when I say "Good, Take it". If I offer food silently, he won't take it until he has permission. When you start the exercise give the treat five times by saying "Good", (you can click as well) and then say "Take it".

After this offer the treat silently. If Lucy tries to take the treat cover it with your thumb. When Lucy backs off say "Good" Use the clicker "Take it". You will soon see that she will leave the food alone until you give her permission.

Then when she gets the idea that food should only be taken when you have said so, she should leave the food alone on the table when you tell her to "Leave it".

Try this and see if it works, it can't do any harm. If dogs are not taught to leave food alone, they will be tempted by mini-feasts left on the table.

I would always reward good behaviour if she leaves the food alone when asked. Set her up for success - ask her to "leave" the food that you have on the table, after you have done the "Leave it, take it" training exercise at least 5 times during the day. Keep the training sessions short (5 mins) and varied with behaviours that are familiar to her to start with.

Build on her success - she will soon see that she will get something tasty and please you at the same time for not jumping up on the table. You may find you can go and do the washing up eventually and she won't take any food that she shouldn't.

Do let us know how you get on.

Mary

Mary

Justine
22nd January 2009, 08:32 PM
Well after my advice,we were suddenly missing a cav,and guess what we found him on Ellas bed helping himself to her Jellybabies,we think he only managed a few.Cheeky monkey.Wondered why it had gone quiet.

LovesCavaliers
22nd January 2009, 08:57 PM
Whenever things get quiet with cavs there's usually some mischief afoot.

Bailey was an artful dodger. He managed to take ham from a sandwich while not moving the bread from the plate.

When OH started eating it he asked me where his ham was. We were totally perplexed -:confused: and then it dawned on us that Bailey must have had it.

As years went on Dan would always alert us if Bailey was on a raid. Whether Dan was being like a Garda/Police and barking to stop him or whether he didn't think he was getting a fair share of the goodies I don't know, but you know the way dogs have different barks for certain things, well Dan had a bark that alerted me to Bailey snaffling.

I must tell you this .... one Easter there was a big chocolate egg on the table. I was in another room and I could hear this tap tap tapping noise. I didn't take any notice at first and then I went to investigate.

There was Bailey tapping the oilcloth and the Easter egg was rolling nearer and nearer the edge. I watched in fascination with Dan for a moment - as the egg inched closer to the edge with each paw tap. He was a clever dog. He very nearly had it and I know dogs shouldn't eat chocolate.

M

Karlin
22nd January 2009, 11:36 PM
Expecting a dog not to be an opportunist when food is involved is a pretty major request... and the single best way to solve unwanted behaviour is to prevent it happening in the first place. :thmbsup: I'd crate her when you are not there to supervise -- you are unlikely without long term, concentrated training for a permanent, unsupervised downstay, to get a dog to ignore food lying out on a table (also: how is she getting up? On the chairs? Why not simply push in the chairs...?). Just training to lie on a mat is not enough -- that is just the start. She and you would need to put in hours more , daily, every week, to get an unsupervised downstay (and even then, watch an obedience show and there are always dogs that will break a downstay! Also I would not risk her getting something dangerous like cooked bones or grapes on the table, for the sake of trying to approach this as a training exercise).

If you are getting a second dog the likelihood is about 99% that you will then have two dogs doing this. If you don't want this to happen, I'd recommend using a crate for mealtimes. Or put the dogs in a dog room on their own during meals. Two dogs almost always means new challenges with dogs egging each other on. Rarely do dogs learn good behaviour from another -- more often they both start doing what you don't want. So aim to prevent the behaviour, starting now, rather than expect a dog to do something as difficult as an unsupervised downstay when food is left accessible on the table. :)

LucyDog
23rd January 2009, 12:35 AM
Expecting a dog not to be an opportunist when food is involved is a pretty major request... and the single best way to solve unwanted behaviour is to prevent it happening in the first place. :thmbsup: I'd crate her when you are not there to supervise -- you are unlikely without long term, concentrated training for a permanent, unsupervised downstay, to get a dog to ignore food lying out on a table (also: how is she getting up? On the chairs? Why not simply push in the chairs...?). Just training to lie on a mat is not enough -- that is just the start. She and you would need to put in hours more , daily, every week, to get an unsupervised downstay (and even then, watch an obedience show and there are always dogs that will break a downstay! Also I would not risk her getting something dangerous like cooked bones or grapes on the table, for the sake of trying to approach this as a training exercise).

If you are getting a second dog the likelihood is about 99% that you will then have two dogs doing this. If you don't want this to happen, I'd recommend using a crate for mealtimes. Or put the dogs in a dog room on their own during meals. Two dogs almost always means new challenges with dogs egging each other on. Rarely do dogs learn good behaviour from another -- more often they both start doing what you don't want. So aim to prevent the behaviour, starting now, rather than expect a dog to do something as difficult as an unsupervised downstay when food is left accessible on the table. :)

Karlin,
I think you missed the part where I mentioned that Lucy has learned how to wiggle her muzzle between the chair and the table and actually push the chairs out so she can get up there. ;) She's super smart. Anyway, I guess I will have no choice but to crate her while we eat for now.

Just for the record this is not the beginning of obedience training with her. She graduated from puppy obedience and level 1 adult dog training and I work with her at home all the time. She doesn't eat her own food w/o waiting for me to say okay. She knows the take it/leave it game and will pass up a treat if I tell her too. We are working on the down/stay for longer periods of time and she is improving. It's just w/ food on the table that we seem to have this problem. In a perfect world I would keep all unsupervised food from the table when Lucy is around, but I have two elementary school aged boys and they are less than perfect when it comes to this. I am working on training them too. ;)

The breeder (who I have stayed in close contact with) says she never has had a Cav quite like Lucy before :) She definitely has a mind of her own. The good news is the puppy is super mellow...so let's hope he has a good influence on Lucy....(yeah right). Oh well....we'll muddle through somehow.

Aimee

LucyDog
23rd January 2009, 12:47 AM
Hi Aimee,

Great to hear you are doing clicker training. Have you done any "Leave it, take it" with Lucy.

I have taught Murphy to only take food when I say "Good, Take it". If I offer food silently, he won't take it until he has permission. When you start the exercise give the treat five times by saying "Good", (you can click as well) and then say "Take it".

After this offer the treat silently. If Lucy tries to take the treat cover it with your thumb. When Lucy backs off say "Good" Use the clicker "Take it". You will soon see that she will leave the food alone until you give her permission.

Then when she gets the idea that food should only be taken when you have said so, she should leave the food alone on the table when you tell her to "Leave it".

Try this and see if it works, it can't do any harm. If dogs are not taught to leave food alone, they will be tempted by mini-feasts left on the table.

I would always reward good behaviour if she leaves the food alone when asked. Set her up for success - ask her to "leave" the food that you have on the table, after you have done the "Leave it, take it" training exercise at least 5 times during the day. Keep the training sessions short (5 mins) and varied with behaviours that are familiar to her to start with.

Build on her success - she will soon see that she will get something tasty and please you at the same time for not jumping up on the table. You may find you can go and do the washing up eventually and she won't take any food that she shouldn't.

Do let us know how you get on.

Mary

Mary

Mary,
Thanks for the advice. She does the take it/leave it game quite well and she is so incredibly obedient when we are doing any thing obedience related (if that makes sense). But as soon as my back is turned and we are not doing training...she gets up to mischief. I think she just might be smarter than me...lol.

I will keep working with her though and if I have to I will crate her while we eat until we get this under control.

I will post updates about how things are going.
Aimee

LovesCavaliers
23rd January 2009, 10:27 AM
As Karlin says, it is a major request and would need a lot of training. Of course, we wouldn't want to risk our pets' eating something harmful to them.

We can only ever train our dogs to 90 per cent certainty anyway with desired behaviour and this involves great dedication from trainer.

There is always some risk with the most well trained dog that he/she could get distracted by something and take us by surprise. So we always have to think ahead and keep them safe.

As the great man himself Oscar Wilde said "I can resist anything but temptation".

The marvel of cavaliers is that they are all so different. Bailey my Tri, sorely missed, was a total rascal. I always had to watch him very carefully to make sure he wouldn't escape on the night that people put their black bin liners out for the refuse men to collect. He used to watch OH taking the bins out and was itching to go on a raid.

Dan, same age, wasn't interested in bins at all. He is totally golden and in his 13th year is a good influence on Murphy. However, if Bailey was still alive and up to his tricks - Murphy would be up to mischief as well I'm sure.

I've got a very funny story to tell about Dan and Bailey, but this is all for now.:)

Mary

entfy
11th February 2009, 06:34 PM
I know Cav's can have very temperamental stomachs, but try placing food on the table that they will NOT like. For my bigger dogs (2 female black labs, mother and daughter) I have put jalapenos on there covered in Peanut butter and they could not get the hot jalapeno out of their mouth because the peanut butter made it stick.

Some people might think this is cruel, but only took 2x for the girls to learn not to eat food off the counters.

amanda L
12th February 2009, 01:08 PM
I have put jalapenos on there covered in Peanut butter and they could not get the hot jalapeno out of their mouth because the peanut butter made it stick.

Some people might think this is cruel, but only took 2x for the girls to learn not to eat food off the counters.

OMG, that is so cruel and horrible:(, and may cause vomiting and/or diaahorea, or an upset stomach/ulcer in a little cavalier king charles

harleyfarley
12th February 2009, 01:46 PM
I agree with the crate, Harley used to back consistantly during meals, asking for some food, in the end i would put him in his crate before i dished up and let him out when i was washing up, he also was good at tipping up the bin, and consuming the contents, so now no meat or fish or cheese (hmm what else does he like) goes in the bin but straight into the dustbin in the garage instead, his nickname was osama binraider - they are very smart and we have to be smarter even if it is hardwork. di

entfy
12th February 2009, 10:29 PM
OMG, that is so cruel and horrible:(, and may cause vomiting and/or diaahorea, or an upset stomach/ulcer in a little cavalier king charles

I'm sorry you feel that way amanda, but like i said i have done this for my bigger dogs, ie BLACK LABS, and it has worked wonders. Well thats until we found out that our youngest black lab loves to eat jalapenos. :) but i did warn that maybe it might be a bit much for them.

ilsamom
13th February 2009, 10:11 AM
Spicy dog!!
I accidently did the same thing once. Ilsa loves sushi (and salmon is good for her) but once, when I wasn't looking, she helped herself to a piece that I'd already put wasabi on! Poor thing drank so much water! I felt terrible but the upside is she only eats pieces I give her now.

I wouldn't do that intentionally, though could you try something like bitter apple or something else they don't like on the food you leave. (or even bitter apple on a napkin on the table. Could work.

Jen and Ilsa

ilsamom
13th February 2009, 10:43 AM
I've also found that the spicy foods help with begging. I offer her a spicy bite, she smells it, decides she doesn't want it and wanders away. If she tries to eat in anyway I pull a switch to an edible bite. Works like a charm. Of course, if your dog eats everything offered I wouldn't try it.

Jen and Ilsa

Mindysmom
13th February 2009, 12:21 PM
I like the idea of bitter apple. Max would be a food thief if he could reach it. He thinks he's being starved to death (he's not). He does try and jump up on the counter when there is food out (I am reminded of when my Retriever was a pup and could actually steal the food) so I'm grateful that I only have to teach him "off". I also like the idea of offering less tasty treats when they beg. My two turn up their nose at raw carrot so I'll remember that.

Justine
14th February 2009, 09:03 AM
Well this post is still going on.Thats good,as the other morning Archie deciced to help him self to Ellas marmite on toast.You all were talking about hot and spicy deterants,well he rather liked the marmite.I had forgotten he is a ,HELP YOURSELF kind of guy,i i also forgott to keep him out of a room when food is around.Going back to spicy food,my old lab would eat anything,appart from lemons.Mmmm food for thought.

TKC
14th February 2009, 12:33 PM
I have put jalapenos on there covered in Peanut butter and they could not get the hot jalapeno out of their mouth because the peanut butter made it stick.

Personally I prefer to teach my dogs not to steal food by reinforcing their self control, teaching leave it and take it and letting them know when they get it right.

The peanut butter and jalapenos works because it is a form of + punishment and aversive. And we know that + punishment works.

I guess one has to decide what kind of training they wish to do with their dog remembering that it will ultimatly affect the bond and relationship with their dog.

Karlin
14th February 2009, 01:13 PM
Some people might think this is cruel,

No, I KNOW it is cruel.

Why as an owner would you not simply avoid having the problem in the first place by keeping food off the counters where it is accessible to large dogs? I grew up with a Great Pyrenees which is a LOT taller than a lab and we recognised that if she could reach something it might be a temptation. The few times she did get something -- once, an entire tray of cooling buns from the over -- we laughed at our own forgetfulness and these became much loved stories that we still retell even though that sweet dog has been dead for nearly 20 years.

Responsible management solves more problems. To me counter-surfing is an OWNER created problem, not a dog training problem. If there's food out, an untrained dog is going to try to get it. :sl*p: So: gate off the kitchen. Watch your dogs more carefully. Train them to wait outside the threashold of the kitchen. Crate them when you are in the kitchen. Take the time to teach an adequate downstay in their beds so they don't countersurf.

Justine
14th February 2009, 09:29 PM
I agree with Karlin,it was my fault he pinched the toast.I should know better my lab was the ultimate food taker.Any chance,including curries.I only knew he didnt like lemons becos he took one once and left it.He had my dinner once when i went to the front door.

entfy
14th February 2009, 10:56 PM
While you believe it is cruel I must ask you a question. Did you learn not to touch the stove top because your parents told you so, or did you burn yourself. Sometimes you can take every precaution and a dog or child still will find away around your instructions. Sometimes the best way is to let the child get burnt. It teaches a lesson through experience and not just commands. I know not one person can tell me that they haven't had to learn the hard way. We never leave things out on the counter or table top, but our dogs are far more crafty than I could ever give them credit for.

I have placed food on the counter top while unloading from the grocery store. It wasn't longer than me closing the door, but our dog managed to steal all the pastries from within the bag. She took advantage of me closing the door so she wouldn't wander outside. What am I to do? Let her outside while i unload the groceries or close the door.

While I'm all for helping and maintaining healthy enviroments for our furry friends, but one cannot just tap the hand and say bad every time. You've NEVER spanked your child? I think some of the problems in our world stem from not doing just that. Remember I would never condone child or animal abuse.

entfy
14th February 2009, 11:05 PM
Personally I prefer to teach my dogs not to steal food by reinforcing their self control, teaching leave it and take it and letting them know when they get it right.

The peanut butter and jalapenos works because it is a form of + punishment and aversive. And we know that + punishment works.

I guess one has to decide what kind of training they wish to do with their dog remembering that it will ultimatly affect the bond and relationship with their dog.

I completely agree. I feel like I am an extremely responsible owner. People always comment on how well behaved our dogs are. We usually take the more headstrong from the litters and as such require a stronger form of training. My dogs never shield away from me, always come when called, do their tricks, and even sneeze on command. The one thing that we had to do was reinforce who was in charge. Like I said in my previous post sometimes the best adversion is experience.

LucyDog
14th February 2009, 11:54 PM
While you believe it is cruel I must ask you a question. Did you learn not to touch the stove top because your parents told you so, or did you burn yourself. Sometimes you can take every precaution and a dog or child still will find away around your instructions. Sometimes the best way is to let the child get burnt. It teaches a lesson through experience and not just commands. I know not one person can tell me that they haven't had to learn the hard way. We never leave things out on the counter or table top, but our dogs are far more crafty than I could ever give them credit for.

I have placed food on the counter top while unloading from the grocery store. It wasn't longer than me closing the door, but our dog managed to steal all the pastries from within the bag. She took advantage of me closing the door so she wouldn't wander outside. What am I to do? Let her outside while i unload the groceries or close the door.

While I'm all for helping and maintaining healthy enviroments for our furry friends, but one cannot just tap the hand and say bad every time. You've NEVER spanked your child? I think some of the problems in our world stem from not doing just that. Remember I would never condone child or animal abuse.

That is just about the most awful thing I have ever heard. Would you seriously allow a child to get burned just because they don't listen to you? How about using safety products designed to keep your kids away from such things or wait how about actually watching your children when you are cooking. Jeez, I guess I should have just let my boys wander into the street and get hit by cars rather than actually make sure they don't run into the street. Yes, there is a time for natural consequences, your child refuses to wear a jacket on a windy day and they get cold and then they ask for the jacket....but seriously the example you gave and quite honestly the idea of intentionally allowing your dog to eat something hot/spicy just to keep them off the table seems down right abusive to me. Just my opinion.

entfy
15th February 2009, 12:51 AM
That is just about the most awful thing I have ever heard. Would you seriously allow a child to get burned just because they don't listen to you? How about using safety products designed to keep your kids away from such things or wait how about actually watching your children when you are cooking. Jeez, I guess I should have just let my boys wander into the street and get hit by cars rather than actually make sure they don't run into the street. Yes, there is a time for natural consequences, your child refuses to wear a jacket on a windy day and they get cold and then they ask for the jacket....but seriously the example you gave and quite honestly the idea of intentionally allowing your dog to eat something hot/spicy just to keep them off the table seems down right abusive to me. Just my opinion.

Your taking this the wrong way. I'm saying that if you keep telling them to not touch it and reprimanding them and you keep catching them trying to do it, one time you will miss it and they will get burned. It isn't that you should just let them do it, but that you tell them not to and they disobey you and learn the hard way what happens when they don't listen to you. Same thing with a dog, but they cannot understand you as well. You tell them know, but they see food and say "I want that" you tell them no knowing it is bad for them, but once you will miss it and if they eat the jalapeno they will come to the realization that " Hey Dad said not to eat food off the table, now I know why. Its hot!"

tara
15th February 2009, 01:24 AM
Sorry, I can't resist chiming in -- you hit a sore spot. No, I have never spanked my two children. I have never screamed at them either. No, I'm by no means a perfect mother and my children are by no means perfect children. But I realize that I am the adult and they are the kids -- it's MY job to teach them to be great people, and doing so without extreme punishment requires thought and effort on my part -- but it is absolutely possible.

It's the same with puppies and dogs. The impetus is 100% on ME to train, care for, and protect Holly. I was told that raising a puppy with young children would be very difficult and IT IS! But the burden of undesirable dog (or kid) behavior falls to me, not my dog or my kids. I have to supervise 100% of the time, absolutely no exceptions. And if I can't supervise 100%, then I have to create a safe environment -- a crate, playpen, child-proof locks, etc. Imagine feeding 2 and 6 year old children with a 10 month old puppy around! My 2 year old drops food because that what they do, and my 6 year old gets distracted because that's what kids do too. And Holly would take every advantage of the situation if I let her. Just another example of times when the burden is on me to supervise or create a safe haven.

As adults and people who have CHOSEN to live with animals (and in some cases children as well), we need to grow up and accept the responsibility that comes with caring for them. To me it's not a matter of opinion, it's about right and wrong.

Karlin
15th February 2009, 01:36 AM
A dog is NOT "disobeying" by taking food off a counter that YOU left there within reach. :sl*p:

Maybe you need to reconsider getting such a gentle and sweet natured breed as a cavalier if this is your approach to managing dogs.

At any rate I am sure you will probably find an alternative forum on which to take your training philosophy.

Bye.

pippa
15th February 2009, 04:47 PM
My Gus is a gentle calm doggie,but a major food stealer when we are clearing up, he will nudge the chairs out to get to the table and take leftovers from the plate!

Even visitors know now to push chairs right in. On the rare occasion where he has got something,I never blamed him but whoever let it happen,usually a new visitor that hasn't been warned!

I would never be so cruel as to leave something horrible out for him to eat on purpose!!!! Why would you do this??? Why did you cover the peppers in peanut butter, if you were going to be so cruel why not just leave the peppers? Putting peanut butter on them so they can't spit them out is just so spiteful!! Also I don't think it would really work my guess is the dog would either forget or try their luck next time, in the hope it would be something nice.

amanda L
15th February 2009, 05:15 PM
I'm sorry you feel that way amanda, but like i said i have done this for my bigger dogs, ie BLACK LABS, and it has worked wonders. Well thats until we found out that our youngest black lab loves to eat jalapenos. :smile: but i did warn that maybe it might be a bit much for them.

I hope you take on board the advice that both TKC and Karlin have given you in their posts. Jalapenos contain acid and can result in a chemical burn. Dogs cannot digest jalapenos, and they can be extremely painful for them to pass and may lead to rectal scarring.