August 18, 2015 | Posted in Doctor Sigmund Furry Series

Stop-Thief-400PXDear Dr. Furry,

Just when you think your canine offspring are ready to assume their place in society, you find a dark secret in their past . . . and in their present . . . and it really isn’t a secret . . .

My Scotty is a thief!

What’s a mother to do?

Bertha, Lubec, ME

 

Dear Bertha,

Cheer up! This really isn’t a case of good dog, gone bad.

The psychology to use is as old as the hills: ignore the bad behavior, if, of course, the items he steals are not valuable or harmful.

Deal in dog “currency”: offer him something else as a trade, a treat or a favorite toy, when he retrieves the item and returns it to you. You can then teach him — through a reward system and a “currency” he understands — to relinquish the stolen object on command, as opposed to engaging in a game of chase or hide-and-seek.

(Save the chase for the police. If the suggestions above don’t work, dangle a pair of handcuffs in front of your pooch. He’ll get the message.)