Saturday, August 26, 2006

My dogs are driving me bonkers. Specifically Jose. We have a little table in our living room where Emma and I eat most of our meals during the day, as well as all our snacks. The second we get up from the table and leave the room, Jose is up on the chairs scarfing down our food. If I am in the room, he will stay down, but if I so much as get up to walk to the kitchen, our food is as good as gone. Emma can be screaming "JOE! GET DOWN!!!!" for all she's worth, and that won't stop him. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal, because I could just stay there the whole time we're eating, right? Well, I could, except that it often takes Emma about two hours to finish a single sandwich. Except, of course, she never actually gets to finish it because Jose always nabs it before she gets a chance. If Paco could figure out how to get up to the table, he'd be just as bad. Last night I left a big bowl of grapes sitting on the couch while I went back to the office to talk to Steve. A minute later, I walked back out and Paco was hunkered over on the couch, hurrying to polish off the last of the grapes! Stems and all! What a weirdo. Anyway, I don't know what to do about this. I don't want Emma to hear me yelling at them, and I won't hit them. What else is left? How can I get those dogs to stop eating our food? Gah!

8 comments:

David said...

If you don't want to hit them, a good punt might do the trick.

Abbie said...

Haha I told David to say that.

David said...

Abbie is lying.

Abbie said...

I don't lie.

Katie said...

ugh! My dogs do the same thing. How about spray them with a spray bottle? Or throw them out till your done eating. Thats what I do.

You feeling better?

Vegan Knitting said...

As a former animal trainer, I would train him to stay off the table using positive reinforcements.

That is, I would have food he really likes on the table (or even closer) and then give him a treat for not trying to eat it. Pretend to leave the room and then reward him. Leave the room for a nanosecond, and then reward him, leave the room for a second, etc. prolonging it until he is able to control himself from jumping up on the table when you are not in the room.

*I* would probably pair it with the command "down" - at the beginning, he's not actually following your command since he isn't trying to get onto the table yet. But as soon as you give him a chance to, he probably will. SO you want to teach him what "down" means right away, even when he's already down naturally. When he does get up, I would pick him up and put him down and say "down" and then reward him. I would also practice "down" with him separately from the food issue, by putting him on a low chair, saying "down" with a point to the floor, and then reinforcing him with a treat when he gets down, and if he doesn't, help him get down and then reinforce. Once he starts to get "down" on his own after your command, practice in other locations (on the couch, on the bed, on the chair, on the table.)

This way you are not only training him to leave the food alone, you are also teaching him an important command. If you come at it from both angles, it will probably work very well. Frequency is the key here. So I would try to practice each one for short periods of time several times a day.

Let me know if that makes sense.

Sarah said...

That's very helpful! Thank you! I will give it a try.

Pa said...

use a rope - one of 2 ways.

1st - tie one end to the dog and the other end to something that makes it just long enough for him to get within 2" of the food. Everytime he jumps he will get "surprised" and then he will learn.

option - tie the rope around his neck very very snugly. He will probably lie down very quietly.