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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sadie has developed a new game where she steals mitts, boots, hats, socks, shoes, anything she can grab with her mouth and runs away with them. I have tried teaching her to drop it, or give, but she thinks it's a game and refuses to give. You can actually see the glint in her eye as she waits for you to chase her. And if you don't chase her, she will parade back and forth in front of you with the object in her mouth to get some attention. She will drop it and come if you call her with a treat in your hand, but that's the only way to get her to do it. I think I am reinforcing the behaviour by ending it with a treat.

What to do?
 

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Jannie, Hi! Both my doods do this. It seems only to happen when they're coming in from outside. It is a really fun game for them - you can tell they love it because they play it with each other all the time.

However, I believe you have to curb it - not just to protect your valuables, but for Sadie's well- being as well. Once Gracie grabbed a barbeque fork and carried it all over the house at a dead run. The forked end was sticking out of the side of her mouth about 18 inches. George was running alongside her trying to take it away. You can only imagine my fears.

We have learned never to let them come into the house unless they are contained in some way (leash, hand on collar, baby gate etc.). We ended up putting in one of those indoor invisible fences that keeps them limited just to the kitchen. They learned very quickly that they couldn't run away and steal anything and we just take off their static collars and lead them into the rest of the house when we can supervise them closely.

I don't think you should worry about giving Sadie a treat when she hands over her booty. It's not that you're reinforcing her stealing...you're giving her positive feedback for giving you what you asked for.

I'll bet some of the more experienced doodle folks will tell us that this is a typical puppy behavior and will not always continue.

Good luck!
 

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Hi Jannie, what Lisa has said is really good advice.
My dogs do the same...and we lose a lot of things that way.
I think that making sure that your dog has a leash (with a prong collar would be good) and then setting things out and making sure that she learns to leave it or drop it. (Leave it for when she has not yet picked it up, drop it for when she has...there is a difference and the dog gets confused by the concepts sometimes if the same command is used for different things.)
Other than to distract your dog with another type of toy, I think that is about all I would do too.
I agree with Lisa that treating is just a form of saying thanks for doing what I said...it isn't a treat for the bad behavior.
Also, don't ever play tug of war games with her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Lisa and Jac! I really appreciate your help. All of the people on this forum are so postitive and so giving of their time and expertise.

How do I teach her to leave it or drop it? That is what has me stumped.

Because we don't have a fenced yard she is indoors most of the time, except when we take her out for walks. And with 4 kids in the house, there is usually lots of stuff within her reach to tempt her - boots, mitts, shoes, etc. She even sticks her nose into laundry baskets and chooses a nice stinky sock once in a while. I think she does it because she is bored and wants to stir up a little action. We really try not to make a big deal out of it, but I don't want her to pick up something harmful, or something valuable that she could destroy. She doesn't chew the item, just carries it around in her mouth to tease us and get us to chase her. She is a smart girl that is for sure.

Any advice on how to teach the leave it and drop it commands would be much appreciated!
 

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