Cocker Spaniel Stealing!

My Cocker Spaniel Is Always Stealing Things!

My Cocker Spaniel Is Always Stealing Things!

How can I stop my cocker spaniel stealing items and running off with them? My dog steals everything she shouldn't have, from clothes and shoes to remote controls and anything left on tables.

How can I stop her doing this?

Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)

Domesticated dogs no longer need to scavenge or forage to survive, however, the instinct still bubbles to the surface for some dogs.

Your dog may 'steal' for many reasons and if you understand why she's stealing you may be able to resolve the problem more quickly. For example, if she's underfed (highly unlikely) she'll steal food. If she's just given birth to puppies she may fear for the survival of her newborn and so will steal food to ensure she can feed them.

Your dog may pounce on a sock and run away with it in a bid to get you to play with her, or chase her - pure attention seeking behavior!

If your cocker is stealing items, ie remote controls, socks, food, etc. the best advice I can give is to tidy up. Keep the TV remote out of reach, place food in the refrigerator or covered and at the back of the counter, out of reach, and socks safely in the wash-basket!

The less there is lying around the better.

Your dog must learn that these items are not for him. If you catch him with something you don't want him to have, get him to drop it and exchange it for something he can have, like a chew toy.

If you haven't already done so, teach your dog the Leave It! command and use it as you see him approach something you don't want him to have.

Use these commands regularly and consistently and your Cocker will soon learn what he's allowed to have and what is out of bounds.

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Our Lovely Handful Jack
by: DanBFCUK

We have had our cocker spaniel, Jack, for just over a year now. He is 7 years old and we rescued him from a lady who was moving away and couldn't have pets so she had to give him up. But a part of us feels like there were other reasons for which she did this.

He had had little training, and it was pretty obvious he had never learned the word 'No'.

He wasn't playful, he was lethargic and uninterested in training. His coat was way overgrown, he had bare patches, and his skin was red and dry, which was clearly irritating him.

His ears were also badly matted.

Anyway he's well looked after now. He's in a loving home and he's come on leaps and bounds.

My partner and I have both had family dogs in the past, but Jack is our first dog as a couple, and these problems are fortunately a thing of the past, thanks to a change in his diet and regular bathing and grooming, something he is now starting to enjoy, or maybe he just loves the treats he gets, he will do just about anything for food!

But my main reason for writing is that we have a big problem with the stealing, and its particularly bad when we return home from being out.

Over the next few hours he goes into stealth mode and will steal anything he can get, such as wallets, phones, shoes, keys, he takes what he knows you need, he is too clever for his own good.

The problem we have is that he backs himself into his corner and can get aggressive if you go near him. For the first 6 months this was a real problem, to the point where he would snap out if you got too close. We both have been nipped a few times but it is not an aggressive bite and we put this behaviour down to him being put in a strange new home and we had to gain his trust, and him ours, which we have managed to do.

He has made massive improvements and we are now able to go into his corner and take what he has, usually after a short game of tug of war.

Unfortunately, every now and then, he can still snap out, but this is rare. So I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions?

We have noticed that he has taken coats off hooks in the past and will lie on them when we are out, he actually tore one of the hook one time, tearing a great hole in it in the process!

So could it be linked to him being left on his own maybe?!

Another problem we have is he can be very overprotective and has snapped at my partner and myself when we play fight, even once when I was sleeping on the sofa one night after work and she came and sat by me, he leapt up and didn't go to bite, but got quite vocal and it was a shock to us both as you can imagine.

But again this is now becoming a rare occurrence and Jack is now realizing his place as pet of the house, and we couldn't be happier with him, even if his cleverness, energy and curiosity drive us mad at times!

He is a lovely dog and any suggestions you may have to help us to help Jack would be really appreciated!

Stealing Items
by: Alma

Are you chasing him when he runs off with something he's not allowed to have? If you are, you may be unwittingly making the situation worse.

Dogs love to be chased and it sounds like your dog is trying to get you to chase him by stealing something.

Keep things out of his reach, but if he does manage to get something he shouldn't, just ignore him. I think you'll find that he'll soon learn that it's no fun anymore!

by: Jack

My mum would say, 'don't leave your things lying around', but I guess in this case it would help. LOL

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