Food grabbing

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Member Since
Barked: Wed May 8, '13 1:38pm PST 
Our puppy, Interceptor, has a problem with food grabbing, and I mean like literally out of the hands of our kids. He'll target our toddler especially. We're working with him on the whole "leave alone" training (and, at times, I can leave a piece of meat on the floor, walk away, and say "leave alone" and he'll leave it), but it's REALLY hard with him to get him to stop following my little guy around the house when he has food and snatching it out of his tiny little hands. He doesn't growl or bark or anything like that when he does it, just walks right up and rips it out of his hands.

Any advice or tips would be great!

blue/brown eyed- girl!
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 5:46am PST 
First, keep up with the 'leave it' training you have been doing, work on this every day. But second, and most important, when your kids have food my suggestion would be to not let your dog be around. Just until the food is gone. So many times situations like these turn bad, and fast! Toddler eats food.....dog takes food.....toddler attempts to take food back......dog becomes protective.....bites toddler. I am not saying in any way your dog would bite your toddler, however things like this happen. I have a 2 and a half year old toddler myself, and 2 Huskies, I would never in a million yrs ever see my dogs biting her, but still I do not leave the dogs in the same room with her while I am not there, and when she is having a snack, the dogs stay in the kitchen behind the baby gate until she is done.
Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
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!

Member Since
Barked: Fri May 10, '13 12:15pm PST 
Thank you for the replies!

I had thought that we should have everything be "normal" in terms of pack mentality from the beginning with him - not alter eating, living, etc., no need to keep him segregated at dinner - but yeah, keeping him away until after we get the "leave alone" perfected is probably a much safer idea.

He's caught on to other things REALLY quickly, so, I guess we'll see.

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Sat Jun 1, '13 7:27am PST 
Pack mentality? Ummm you're not a dog pack, you are people with a beloved pet dog. (If you are talking about dominance theory, it has been completely disproven)

It is not realistic to expect your dog not to take food waved under his nose. It is better to set up an environment where the dog isn't tempted in the first place and to protect the toddler and the dog from each other.

Children frequently provoke dogs by accident and if a dog bites a child, often it is in the face and the dog pays with his life. (even if the child provoked the bite)