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Our 16 mo old V has been the joy of our lives over the past 1 1/2 years. Many of the poor behaviors he demonstrated as a puppy have become much improved, except 1.

He constantly steals items. If we leave a blanket on the couch, its his. Remote control, mail on the kitchen table, food, socks while we are doing laundry, pillows etc, etc, etc...

I assume that some of this is still puppy behavior, and it has improved some over the past 6 months, but I'm wondering if it mostly an age thing, or is it something we can train him to stop doing. Our concern is we will eventually have children and they will have toys, blankets, and other items and we don't want him destroying all of them.

Any suggestions would be great.
 

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I would claim all valuable things as my own, even his toys. I would not allow him my items. He would have access to one toy at a time. If I don't have time to supervise I would put the dog in place where he could not do damage (crate, back yard or gated room).

The way I understand it, dogs are interested in the things you are using. It is not domination, just like a baby is more interested in anything you give attention to.
Interesting, living with a dog is like living with a 3 year old child, except the dog's intelligence will always be like a 3 year old. They will be graceful and generous when older.

almost forgot> I would teach him command like "NO" or "PHOOIE". The first time he does something wrong I would firmly say NO and grab him by the nape of his neck and shake him like a puppy. The point is to make him understand the command. Later I would just use the command.
 

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Our Holly is the biggest thief!!! We have taught her "NO" & "LEAVE IT" (and she definitely know what it means) , but she likes to get into mischief & only does it for the attention. Shes always stealing things that aren't hers and running and hiding under our bed!(Like "come and get me!") She's 10months, so hopefully one of these days she'll listen, shes a little bit stubborn though!
 

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KashagLake said:
Our Holly is the biggest thief!!! We have taught her "NO" & "LEAVE IT" (and she definitely know what it means) , but she likes to get into mischief & only does it for the attention. Shes always stealing things that aren't hers and running and hiding under our bed!(Like "come and get me!") She's 10months, so hopefully one of these days she'll listen, shes a little bit stubborn though!
It's probably a pain in your ass most of the time, but I have to say, that is really cute.
 

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Pumpkin (12m) is somewhat similar to Holly. It is attention seeking & the exercise bell ringing in our case. Pumpkin knows "leave it," and listens well (O.K. she ignores the kids). This behavior is predictable & typically coincides with afternoon homework, sports, or other things that prevent as much attention & impose a layoff from physical activity. I have learned to anticipate the time of day, so I can try to prepare and prevent. Consistency with a command such as "leave it" and not allowing access to certain areas of the house to prevent temptation have been key for us. For example, P is not allowed in the playroom/kids room (generally upstairs) unless invited. We set that boundary from day one, and she respects it 95% of the time. We have 3 kids, so there is enough chaos without P eating the beloved "woobie" or something! Good Luck!
 

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I think the stealing is purely an attention-getting device. When I first got Willie, if he felt he was being short-changed on attention (and maybe he was), he would go into the laundry room, pull out a wash cloth from one of the baskets, and lay it on the floor in a prominent position where I couldn't miss it.

When I saw it, I would point at it and say in a low voice, "What's this?" and poor Willie would sit down and hang his head in shame. It was really very adorable and kind of heart-breaking. Maybe he knew that. I would then pick up the wash cloth and put it back in the laundry basket. And of course, I forgave him right away! Come to think of it, he hasn't done that in the longest time. :)
 

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At 2, Rosie's stealing is still going strong (probably our fault for not training her better). But even now I have to say (and this is why she's probably so spoiled) that she still looks cute doing it. Like Holly, she knows all of the low spots in the house that only she can fit under, and she takes the objects there and just looks at us with these adorable eyes. For Rosie, chase is the biggest reward, so what we try to never do is to chase her if she has a forbidden object. She LOVES to play chase. She knows "drop it," but still almost exclusively refuses to heed the command unless backed up by a treat that she can see. We favor trading the object for a treat because believe it or not, it seems less reinforcing than a game of chase to her, and it also ensures that she will not be afraid to come to us and that we can always get the dangerous things away from her pretty quickly. So a trade is the lesser of two evils for us. Occasionally, if two of us can corner her, we will do that, but otherwise, she is much too fast, and it would wind up in a long game of chase which would be greatly satisfying for her while it lasted.
 

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Riley is 7 months old and he is also a very big thief. As soon as he snatches something he prances around throwing it up in the air and catching it again very proudly. One bad thing though is the little crap has figured out how to unzip zippers and now unzips unattended purses, backpacks, etc. and roots around with his whole head in it until he finds something he wants. Of course he gets corrected, but I have found that "babyproofing" the house is easier and safer for him in the long run.
 
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