Does your dog sneak into the kitchen and steal food off the counters? Do you catch him sneaking off in the corner where he can munch on his stolen goodies? Some dogs have a habit of stealing food from counters, coffee tables, even the dining room table. Your dog has learned that every time he "steals" food, he gets a reward in the form of the food he steals.
Worse yet, every time he gets away with it, this simply reinforces the behavior, making it even harder for you to train him not to do it. While it might seem impossible to break this habit, the good news is that with a little hard work and effort, you will succeed in your efforts and your pup will have to learn to live with his food and any treats you give him.
The concept here is to teach your dog that it is unacceptable for him to steal food from anywhere in your house, including the counters, the tables, the coffee table, even your kids' hands. You must realize that it is only natural for your pup to scavenge. The earliest dogs fed themselves by scavenging for everything. Since this behavior is self-rewarding, it can make breaking the habit challenging.
Of course, you could make the problem easy by never leaving so much as a crumb of food anywhere your dog can get to it. Remember, if your dog has been successful in stealing food in a particular spot, he will keep going back to the same spot in search of more. One thing to keep in mind is that punishing your dog for what is, in essence, a natural behavior is not going to make him stop.
Long before you start trying to train your pup to stop stealing food, you need to practice good food management. This means never leaving food unattended anywhere your pup can reach it. If he is bold enough to steal food out of your hands or right in front of your face, you can stop this behavior in its tracks by teaching him the 'leave it' command.
You will need a few supplies to help your dog to learn this behavior successfully, including: