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Thread: My naughty Nelson

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    Pooper scooper hughesjo's Avatar
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    Default My naughty Nelson

    I have a gorgeous cheeky chappy, full of life bulldog called Nelson who is now 12 months old. He does currently have however an annoying habit of stealing things he knows he shouldn't have! This ranges from my sons toys, laptop equipment, expensive sunglasses, tv remotes.... basically nothing is sacred in the house and he if there is one opportunity for him to leap on a chair that hasn't quite been put back right at the table and steal something from the table, he is there, quick as lightening and boy is he fast. The only way we can every hope to retrieve these items is to then get food from the fridge and distract him before he totally destroys the item! In my mind this is in effect rewarding him for stealing but I dont know what else to do. We are due to welcome twins in July and I already have a 4 year old and we will be expecting lots of visitors who will no doubt leave around the house expensive items that Nelson WILL steal and destroy. I cannot deal with this stress as I will have my hands full and will not be in a position much longer to attempt rugby tackling him to the ground in an attempt to retrieve stolen goods!

    Please help me with some ideas on how to stop him, he is generally a good dog, just very excitable and clearly loves the chase and attention when he manages to get away with a prize!

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    Default Re: My naughty Nelson

    I'm far from a puppy expert, so I'm just throwing this idea out there. But, I'm wondering if redirecting him with his own allowable squeeky toys would help. Basically instead of getting food or some other reward, find a toy he just loves and keep those handy to divert his attention from the thing he shouldn't have. Then hopefully this getting other objects is just a phase he hasn't quite outgrown yet.
    Last edited by LariP; 03-25-2013 at 07:39 AM.

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    Default Re: My naughty Nelson

    Not really sure there is an easy answer, except you must always stay one step ahead of him! I had a bullmastiff that stole EVERYTHING- including the glasses off my face as I napped on the couch! We were never able to break him of this, and we have some amusing stories of things he stole, and ate! As with all dogs, you must set them up for success, so, that means YOU will have to be trained not to leave things in his reach, chairs back where they cannot facilitate a theft, and always a good glance around the room before you leave him in it! Now, I know there are many "Lassie trainers" out there that will tell you that your bulldog can be trained to leave things alone. WRONG! We don't have Lassies, we have hard headed, stubborn, but loveable balls of fur who thinks they own EVERYTHING! Good luck! Nelson is adorable by the way! So hard to be mad at him!!
    "We never really own a dog as much as they own us!"

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    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: My naughty Nelson

    There's no easy fix for Nelson. He's been rewarded with play (chase) and treats for a long time now. Un-learning a behavior is much harder than getting a bad habit to begin with. Be patient with him. It's not his fault. You've created this monster yourself.

    First thing I would do, is set him up for success. Put things he should not have on tables he cannot easily reach. So he has to really work to get the item. Warn in-coming guests; "My dog is in training! Be mindful of your things!"

    Next, you need to "claim" the areas (kitchen table, say, or buffet table) that are no longer available for Nelson's to snatch things. Start with one area -- and then slowly add "safe zones" for your stuff. Be patient! Don't holler "No No No No!" and carry on with a lot of yelling as I imagine that sort of thing just fuels his excitement at this point. (You are probably doing that now, right?) Use energy and body language to communicate "This kitchen table is no longer your snatching zone!" Chose an item he likes to snatch from the table and let him see you put it there where he can get it. Claim it. Think "This item is mine" and when he goes to grab it, disagree with the behavior (ACK! or your version of that) and touch him with two fingers on the neck. (Not hard. You are just getting his attention) Then be silent and stand there. Watch Nelson. If you know your dog, you will see that there's a moment where he "gives up". WAIT FOR THAT MOMENT. If he goes for the item, repeat and continue to wait for the moment when he gives up in HIS mind --- not yours. Rinse and repeat as necessary. If you are communicating what you want in the same way each time, it's not a new lesson for the dog -- it's the same lesson applied to a different item/area/thing. And since you are the leader of your pack, you make the rules, right?

    Rules, boundaries, limitations!

    Good luck with Nelson. I'm sure with your leadership and guidance, he will learn this new expectation easily.

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    Default Re: My naughty Nelson

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicaroo1000 View Post
    There's no easy fix for Nelson. He's been rewarded with play (chase) and treats for a long time now. Un-learning a behavior is much harder than getting a bad habit to begin with. Be patient with him. It's not his fault. You've created this monster yourself.

    First thing I would do, is set him up for success. Put things he should not have on tables he cannot easily reach. So he has to really work to get the item. Warn in-coming guests; "My dog is in training! Be mindful of your things!"









    Next, you need to "claim" the areas (kitchen table, say, or buffet table) that are no longer available for Nelson's to snatch things. Start with one area -- and then slowly add "safe zones" for your stuff. Be patient! Don't holler "No No No No!" and carry on with a lot of yelling as I imagine that sort of thing just fuels his excitement at this point. (You are probably doing that now, right?) Use energy and body language to communicate "This kitchen table is no longer your snatching zone!" Chose an item he likes to snatch from the table and let him see you put it there where he can get it. Claim it. Think "This item is mine" and when he goes to grab it, disagree with the behavior (ACK! or your version of that) and touch him with two fingers on the neck. (Not hard. You are just getting his attention) Then be silent and stand there. Watch Nelson. If you know your dog, you will see that there's a moment where he "gives up". WAIT FOR THAT MOMENT. If he goes for the item, repeat and continue to wait for the moment when he gives up in HIS mind --- not yours. Rinse and repeat as necessary. If you are communicating what you want in the same way each time, it's not a new lesson for the dog -- it's the same lesson applied to a different item/area/thing. And since you are the leader of your pack, you make the rules, right?

    Rules, boundaries, limitations!

    Good luck with Nelson. I'm sure with your leadership and guidance, he will learn this new expectation easily.
    Well said

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    Default Re: My naughty Nelson

    Couldn't think of any better advice than @Vicaroo1000 gave. Key is consistency as well. When we got Miila she had no boundaries. Climbed up on the kitchen table even to get my kids leftover crumbs, something I had never seen before in a pup. She learned quickly with my ack! Type of sound, same sound I always make when they r doing wrong.

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    Pooper scooper hughesjo's Avatar
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    Default Re: My naughty Nelson

    Thank you so much for the advice Vicaroo. I shall definitely begin training tonight by using his favourite chew on the table and claiming. We shall see how it goes!! I know patience and repetition is the key as he does understand other commands, he is not a naughty dog. The other slight problem I have is that I am the only one in the house who does try with him as he is my dog, unfortunately my husband and young son are forever unknowingly leaving items within his reach or chairs away from the table where he sees his opportunity which just makes my job harder. So its not just me trying to train Nelson, its training the whole family!!!

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    Default Re: My naughty Nelson

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicaroo1000 View Post
    There's no easy fix for Nelson. He's been rewarded with play (chase) and treats for a long time now. Un-learning a behavior is much harder than getting a bad habit to begin with. Be patient with him. It's not his fault. You've created this monster yourself.

    First thing I would do, is set him up for success. Put things he should not have on tables he cannot easily reach. So he has to really work to get the item. Warn in-coming guests; "My dog is in training! Be mindful of your things!"

    Next, you need to "claim" the areas (kitchen table, say, or buffet table) that are no longer available for Nelson's to snatch things. Start with one area -- and then slowly add "safe zones" for your stuff. Be patient! Don't holler "No No No No!" and carry on with a lot of yelling as I imagine that sort of thing just fuels his excitement at this point. (You are probably doing that now, right?) Use energy and body language to communicate "This kitchen table is no longer your snatching zone!" Chose an item he likes to snatch from the table and let him see you put it there where he can get it. Claim it. Think "This item is mine" and when he goes to grab it, disagree with the behavior (ACK! or your version of that) and touch him with two fingers on the neck. (Not hard. You are just getting his attention) Then be silent and stand there. Watch Nelson. If you know your dog, you will see that there's a moment where he "gives up". WAIT FOR THAT MOMENT. If he goes for the item, repeat and continue to wait for the moment when he gives up in HIS mind --- not yours. Rinse and repeat as necessary. If you are communicating what you want in the same way each time, it's not a new lesson for the dog -- it's the same lesson applied to a different item/area/thing. And since you are the leader of your pack, you make the rules, right?

    Rules, boundaries, limitations!

    Good luck with Nelson. I'm sure with your leadership and guidance, he will learn this new expectation easily.
    ^^^PERFECT advice^^^^
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  9. #9
    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: My naughty Nelson

    Quote Originally Posted by hughesjo View Post
    Thank you so much for the advice Vicaroo. I shall definitely begin training tonight by using his favourite chew on the table and claiming. We shall see how it goes!! I know patience and repetition is the key as he does understand other commands, he is not a naughty dog. The other slight problem I have is that I am the only one in the house who does try with him as he is my dog, unfortunately my husband and young son are forever unknowingly leaving items within his reach or chairs away from the table where he sees his opportunity which just makes my job harder. So its not just me trying to train Nelson, its training the whole family!!!
    Sounds great. Nelson will tune in quickly to your consistent message. EBs are a lot smarter than they get credit for!

    I would also suggest something else - use the favorite chew toy for "redirection" or "reward". I wouldn't use HIS things has training objects in the beginning. Has he got a fancy for the remote? Use that. Barbie Dolls? Perfect. Remember, it's not the object but the lesson itself that you want Nelson to retain. Starting with his stuff might be confusing. When he "decides" (remember, you're waiting HIM to "get it" and that takes patience) that Barbie is not his to have -- give him his favorite chew toy. During this time, I would keep toys to a MINIMUM too. One or two. Put the rest away.

    Let us know how it's going! Everyone in the family can practice "ownership" as long as it's consistent, he'll catch on quickly!

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