|Barked: Thu May 9, '13 5:40pm PST |
|Your dog really should not be around children while they're eating, especially toddlers. Dogs are opportunistic, and will take food where they can get it. Kids are not tall enough, strong enough, bold enough, or coordinated enough to prevent a dog from taking their food. Children also tend to drop food or just give what they don't want to the dog, which further reinforces the behavior and could be dangerous for your dog, depending on what the kids are eating.
AFTER you teach a strong "leave alone" and build it up to apply food that is not stationary on the floor, specifically food in moving hands, you could try allowing your dog to be present with eating children. BUT - he cannot be unsupervised. You literally must watch him constantly. Each new opportunity to take food requires a new "leave alone," and reinforcement from you either way.
Building a solid "leave alone" takes a lot of time, and not letting your dog steal food in the meantime is a vital part of the process. You have to introduce "leave alone" situations where the food is moving, where the dog is moving, where both are moving, where it isn't food but an item to "leave alone..." Dogs don't generalize well so they need all those steps. In his prime, I could put Vance in a down/stay/leave it, put a hotdog on each paw, throw hot dogs and string cheese all around and in front of him, then recall him over the entire mess and he would leave it. It was really something, but it was a LOT of work!
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