Deaf Labrador obsessed about getting food

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by SheepLady, Jun 1, 2020.

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  1. SheepLady

    SheepLady Registered Users

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    Oct 11, 2018
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    Poppy is 2 and a half and is completely deaf. She has always counter surfed, since her nose could reach the counter, so i have ALWAYS tried to keep things out of her reach in the kitchen. I am not perfect but she is. However, she has now also started to leap up, ( from a seemingly laid back position) and steals food out of unsuspecting peoples hands (even if they are standing up) as they try to put it to their mouth. If I have a sandwich on a plate even if I am standing, I have to hold the plate nearly to my mouth to stop her intervening. Yesterday she grabbed about an ounce of butter off a plate as I was carrying it to the kitchen. She will tear up anything she thinks might have food in it to check - usually bags or cardboard packaging but now also pockets of coats and jackets that have had treats in if they are lying around. She has been to the veterinarian 3 times for eating half a kilo of uncooked rice, a massive chocolate brownie and the tablets she was on (ate through the bottle). The kitchen earned a baby gate after she stole and ate 2 small loaves of bread in 3 days. The cloakroom also has a baby gate. If she misbehaves in my presence, I pull a face and wag my finger NO - and she looks away, wagging her tail cheerfully. She understands, no question. I am actually now very worried that she may eat something dangerous without me knowing.
    She is a darling in all other ways and i love her to bits. We use sign language - we have a sign for drop, for instance which works well with non food items. She hasn't got an aggressive bone in her body - even when I remove food from her mouth. I adore her, but I really need some advice. I have read the article and video on stealing food by Pippa Mattinson, but it is obviously for hearing dogs.
    Do you have any advice or experience - I know some labradors a food-mad, but.....
    Thank you - sorry this is so long.
     
  2. PatG

    PatG Registered Users

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    Jun 11, 2018
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    Hi Sheeplady, I also have a two and a half year old Labrador who steals obsessively. (He is not deaf, he just pretends to be!) We live in an area that has lots of tourists in summer and walking him becomes a nightmare. Camping tents and picnics are like a magnet, but he also steals from shopping bags of passers by and if anyone stops to chat he tries to get into their pockets. Yesterday he stole a packet of biscuits from someone's bike pannier.
    The only suggestion I have found that works is to keep him on a training lead. That way if he steals something at least I can catch him before he eats it. I let him off lead when I think its safe to do so and he often runs back to something we passed 10 minutes earlier to see if he can eat it.
    I feel that at his age he should be outgrowing these habits but if anything he is getting worse.
    Sorry I can't help, but I do sympathise!
     
  3. SheepLady

    SheepLady Registered Users

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    Thank you for your commiserations PatG! Gosh, at least Poppy hasn't thought of bike panniers yet, and she is becoming slightly less impulsive with passers by now in the street so maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just when I think she is improving though, she will launch a commando-style attack on something somebody's trying to put to their mouth, totally unexpectedly... I am hoping she will just improve when she gets older, though she essentially has to stay out of the room if anyone is trying to eat at the moment. Fortunately we don't meet too many people on most of our walks as it is in relatively unpopulated countryside. But it was lovely to have somebody contact me with the same problem. The best of luck to you!
     

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