Certain breeds of dog will catch you off guard and steal whole plates of food when your back is turned. All Labrador owners know what we’re talking about here!
Dogs will most often steal food out of boredom rather than out of hunger, which is why it is important to keep your dog physically as well as mentally active throughout the day. If your dog is left alone for long periods he will be inclined to entertain himself, usually with destructive behaviors like chewing things or stealing food.
A Jack Russell Terrier helping himself to scraps on a dinner plate
Preventing A Dog Stealing Food
The best way to stop your dog from stealing food is to teach him that this behavior is not acceptable. Place food around your kitchen and slowly walk around with him on a short lead. Make sure that the food is in containers so that your dog can see it and smell it but can't actually grab it. This is very important, because if he does grab it he will think he is being rewarded.
Fish is good for dogs - but not like this! Stealing food from the dinner table is never acceptable
When he approaches any of the food you have laid out, give the dog a gentle pull on the lead and firmly call “No”. When he begins to learn that he must not approach the food on the lead, try the same method off the lead. He will soon learn that he must not steal the food, or even go too close to it.
When preparing food or tidying away leftovers, never give any of it to your dog. If you do he will come to associate the workspace with free handouts, and may feel inclined to help himself when you're not around. Dogs soon learn which places are associated with food, and it's hard to break the association once it's there.