Hand chewing, garbage raiding, laundry stealing dogs are a laugh riot, aren’t they?-as long as it’s someone else’s hands, garbage, and laundry.

  • Forget the mouth grabbing, scolding, and chasing. Your dog won’t get it.
  • When busted for desecrating the family garbage he looks plenty guilty, but that’s because unpleasant things always happen when he sees that expression on your face next to a trash pile.
  • He also knows that while you’re gone he can enjoy the garbage or chew your shoes and nothing bad ever happens. In fact, it’s kinda fun. Our dogs live in the moment.

These maddening behaviors actually have legitimate origins.

  • It’s normal for dogs to investigate their surroundings but they don’t have opposable thumbs so they can’t pick up and handle all that exciting stuff.
  • They explore their world with their wet, slimy mouths.
  • Dogs are naturally inquisitive but many who mouth hands or steal things are manipulating their owners by demanding attention.
  • Chasing a canine thief or grabbing her face will just encourage her because she’s getting what she wants.

You can only win if you ignore attention-seeking behavior.

  • Have your canine criminal drag a 6 foot leash around the house.
  • At the first sign of bad behavior pretend that you don’t even own a dog, pick up the leash and drag it to a boring time-out room like a bathroom. Drop the leash on the floor and close the door.
  • A few minutes after all dog noises have stopped, open the door and continue ignoring the dog who does not exist.
  • In a few more minutes say hello and swap a few jokes with your fine, repentant pet. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.
  • Repeat hundreds of times.

Petty thieves and hand chewers are repeat offenders but they should always serve the same amount of time.

  • While on parole they can be rehabilitated by learning more appropriate ways to get attention, like sitting quietly for gentle pets.
  • Anytime she repeats her bad behavior she suddenly loses her connection with her excellent leader.
  • If simply ignoring her fails, she goes back to the slammer all over again.

Trashing the garbage is potentially dangerous for the canine scavenger.

  • Preventing access is your best option.
  • Canine law enforcement enthusiasts, on the other hand, can invest in instant punishers in the form of booby traps like a citronella spray containment system, Snappy Trainers, a Scat Mat, or the ever popular Tattle Tale (motion activated alarm). You’ll have more fun than your bad dog.

It’s easy to focus on correcting obnoxious behavior but you can stop a good dog from going bad by providing wholesome after school activities.

  • Food toys and food puzzles will keep hungry dogs occupied for hours.
  • Get a variety of different kinds and rotate them to keep your smart dog mentally stimulated.

Finally, allow your dog to live the life of a real dog. He loves you but he’s not really a little person in a furry suit. Dogs are highly social creatures.

  • Take him to the dog park or play time at a kennel for some regular rear end sniffing and communicative urinating.
  • However much exercise he gets, give him more.
  • A well socialized dog is a relaxed dog.