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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wasn't sure where to put this so I just figured I'd shove it in here in the chit chat forum. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
We've had our beagle for almost a year now, and he's a really sweet animal. He respects my husband and I, listens to us, and doesn't try to steal from us. He obviously recognizes our authority. We have worked a lot with him, doing what others more knowledgable than us have recommended, and we've had good results so far. He's come a long way.<br><br>
Unfortunately, while he knows we outrank him, he seems to feel he is superior to the children in our home. He follows them around to snatch food from them right out of their hands, hangs out around their high chairs when they are eating and even jumps up to try and clean their trays while they are still eating. I've tried putting him up whenever they are eating, but it doesn't teach him anyway--and it just makes him miserable the whole time we're in the bathroom. I've told him no, made loud noises to scare him away, chased him off from them, and it does deter him temporarily--but 5 minutes later he's repeating the behavior.<br><br>
A lot of what people have suggested are ways for my husband and I to model our dominance. Well, we've asserted it. None of that is helping us teach him that he is NOT higher than the children, who range from 1 yr to 2 1/2. Does anyone have any advice for how to teach him that he does NOT outrank the kids? Even when they try to pull away or deter him from getting their food, he prevails. I don't want him to have to sit in the tiny bathroom everytime we are snacking, because we are one of those "snack throughout the day" rather than "3 big meals" families--so he'd be put up a lot, which isn't fun for him. Instead I want him to understand his place in the family. He gets that my husband and I are the alphas, but he's obviously under the impression that the kids are the Omegas.<br><br>
Any ideas?
 

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I think that once your kids are older, he will respect them more. However, for now I would make sure that your kids are eating at the table and that you are there to supervise and to correct any bad behaviour that your dog is doing. If you cannot watch the dog, then I would crate him or tether him to you while your kiddos eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Being a snack-throughout-the-day family, putting my kids at the table or in high chairs EVERYTIME they have something to eat would mean they would be restrained every 15 minutes throughout the day. It wouldn't solve anything because the dog jumps up onto the table, snatches food from their hands, and eats food off of their high chair trays when I am not looking. I've already taken to putting the dog in the bathroom, equal to crating him, when there is food out and about, but he's miserable. So I'm looking for new ideas on how to make him respect the children and learn his place in the household is beneath them, without restraining everyone all the time. And I am there to supervise the dog's behavior all the time, and it hasn't made a bit of difference at all--so obviously it's not working.
 

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Would it be feasable to literally tie him to you during snack time, so that you are constantly aware of what hes doing? Dogs are opportunistic, so if he <i>can</i>, he will. For now, it wont be easy for him to see your kiddos as alpha to him, but he has to obey you. If tethering isnt an option, then constant supervision is necessary. Do you not have an actual crate inside for him? It might make things easier, if he can still be with you guys, yet contained, till you give him the ok to come out....<br><br>
Also, what methods are you using to show him that that behavior is not wanted?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I have a crate that I use occasionally. I do constantly supervise him and remain aware of what he's doing; he's just faster than me a lot of the time. He does obey me, but he waits until I'm not looking to go after the kids' food. As stated in the OP, I tell him no, make loud noises to scare him away such as clapping to startle him, remove the food from his mouth, chase him away from the kids, put him in the bathroom after he attempts to steal food until the food is finished, etc. He is very oppertunistic. *chuckles* He really is a rascal, and he's very sweet--just a scavenger!!!<br><br>
I just grow weary of having to stare at him and the kids all the time, and I feel bad having to keep him confined whenever the kids have food--which is very often. As much as it tears me up to do, I'm at the point where we are considering finding a new home for him. It's the very last thing I'd ever want to do to an animal, but he's starting to wear me down. It's even harder now that I'm not only pregnant but doing home daycare for 2 kids besides my own 4 days a week, with my husband working all the time, too and rarely home...and I don't know how I will do it when the baby comes, while my husband is in Korea. I've got to find something that works better than this, or it's going to have to be the end of the line. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:
 

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Maybe trying some work with the kids to show the dog the proper order of authority. I know having your dog lay flat and your child stand over it is one. YOU should hold the dog, do not let it up till it stops struggling. When he lays relaxed under your child he's saying "yes he's bigger than me". I can't think of any others that would be safe to a young child but maybe if you research the subject you can find something else.<br><br>
(PS : I'm not a dog trainer or dog expert... I saw that excersize on the dog whisperer)
 

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I can tell its super tough for you right now!!! Hugs to you.<br><br>
If it were me, Id reintroduce the crate, and really get down whatever crateing command you use (we use "kennel"). Make it so that you say the word and he goes in, no fuss. The crate isnt a punishment, its a safe haven. Make sure noone is allowed to bother him while hes in it. Have him go into his crate whenever food is around for sure, or any other moment that tempts him into bad behavior. Enforce it for whatever length of time you need, even if it means closing the door. <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Dont feel bad for him</span>, its not a punishment! Dogs can pick up on your energy very quickly.<br><br>
Maybe consider having your dog outside, if thats an option, during parts of the day? And speaking of outside, what is his walk routine like? I know how hard it is, with little ones and no other adult help, but for us, our mei tais make it easier. A good walk a day (more than once is wonderful) will help alot. Make sure he minds his manners on leash. Wearing your kids, if you can, will also help him see that they are part of your pack and to be respected. If you use a stroller or wagon, make sure he walks next to it, not infront of it.<br><br>
You could try the excercise previously mentioned, but its really intended for someting more intense, like agression. I really feel that the whole dog seeing child as less than equal is very common. They can sense youth and view kids as puppies. Something to be tolerated, for sure, but not necessarily respected. Its up to you, as pack leader, to watch your puppies, until they can assert themselves. (My own DD is getting pretty close, shes figured out how to keep our dog from stealing her snacks, its not pretty but it works, until I get there to intervene... maybe try to talk to your kids and your charges, have them stay still, hands still, not run away and say "NO" if they can, in a stern voice. Or face the other direction. Or go to you for help.)<br><br>
I hope some other folks will chime in, too....
 

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That's what I meant about a crate or a tether (tying the dog to you) for when the kids are eating. That way your dog can be "with you", but not being a pain in the you know. The dog is going to consider your kids inferior until they are older and bigger, that's just pretty much a given. I don't think that there's anything you can do to change that.<br><br>
Honestly, if I were you I'd work on having more structure in general in terms of the kids meal times and what the dog is expected to do at those times. It sounds to me that the dog doesn't have any direction and doesn't know what to do. Dogs thrive on routine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't have a yard, so he can't go outside unless he sits in his crate. I don't feel like sitting in a crate all day is an appropriate lifestyle for a beagle. He gets a short walk a few times a day and trips to the dog park in good weather, but I don't think that is related to him being an oppertunist scavenger and snatching food from kids. :p My older dog knows that the kids are above her, even though she was hear before them. I also thought that, in the wild, pups were valued above all other assets to the pack? Which makes me wonder why our dog would steal from puppies.<br><br>
I don't think putting my children on a structured routine would be very healthy, being that frequent meals throughout the day is healthier than 3 scheduled meals a day, not to mention the fact that the kids get hungry at different times. I breastfeed and feed on demand, because I think that's healthier. The dog is given direction by being made to leave the children alone and return food that he snatches. The dog has a routine already. I don't view our human mealtimes as part of his routine and probably never will. What other ways could I direct him as to what is the appropriate behavior around kids with food? That's my goal: to teach him not to steal from the kids.
 

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The point of walks and excercsie is to tire the dog out (in nature, dogs walk walk walk walk....they need it) and to reenforce the pack heirarchy. The walk is a very important, very necessary, (can be) very easy way to remind your dog of his place in your home. Excersise first, and discipline. Then affection.<br>
Dog parks are good for playing, read: affection, but dont depend on them for totally excersising your dog. Be sure to have a good controlled walk first.<br><br>
Your dogs routine when people food is present should be something like: food comes out, dog looks to you for guidance, you watch to see his intentions and if it looks like hes even thinking about stealing, say kennel, dog goes. It seems like he needs some reminding of a few obediance issues, like "leave it", "kennel" or "pillow" and the all important "drop it". In your first post, you mentioned that hes back at it afew minutes later, which means you have to be back at it as well. Can you set aside an afternoon to just work with him on ignoring food? Keep a leash on him and be ready to give a quick snap and a sound. He needs to learn that, as a submissive member of your pack, he eats when YOU say its ok. When you do feed him his meal, have him sit/stay while you prep it and wait till you give the ok before he gets to eat...<br><br>
Yes, youngsters are valued in nature, but in a pack, the puppies are the LAST to eat. Alphas eat first, always. Its just the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I can't walk the dog until he's tired out; I have a 19 month old, one on the way, and two kids that are with me all day. The walks do remind the dog of his place BENEATH ME, but they don't teach him anything about his place in relation to the children--especially considering I can't take 3 toddlers out on a walk with the dog, and definitely not long enough to tire him out. He would still be hungry throughout the day though. That might eliminate hyperness and running about, but I doubt it would appease his appetite.<br><br>
Your description of the food routine is pretty much how it is. If he looks like he's going to steal I tell him to get away and put him away. I always give him a chance before kenneling him, just to be fair. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> He does need to work on obedience issues, but I think his respect of the children is an issue too. He is obedient until I turn my head. I can try to set aside time to work with him. I've been wanting to enroll him in a formal obedience school but haven't had the cash. We are really limited in our spending right now. :/<br><br>
I can kennel him whenever the kids eat but I just don't think that's a good lifestyle for a dog, particularly a beagle. So unless I can find another way of getting him to behave, I'm going to have to find him a new home, where he can run instead of being caged all the time. I'm starting to feel like he isn't getting what he needs here, and I've tried so many things--short of enrolling him in an actual obedience school--to no avail. He has absolute respect for me and Corey...just not the kids. And I don't know how long I can wait for him to learn that it's not okay to take from them.
 

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I know its frustrating, and belive me I know how hard it is with kids around! I only have 1, but I hear you.<br><br>
One of the main things to remember is that he (your dog) isnt doing it out of hunger, hes doing it because he can. As long as hes not emaciated, Im sure hes getting enough to eat.<br><br>
But, if you honestly feel as though its not working out, for either him or you, maybe rehomeing him is best...
 

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What are you willing to do to solve the problem? You've had some great ideas but none of them work for you... It may be overwhelming to think about changing things, but you have to change something to get a new behavior from the dog... If you aren't willing to crate the dog while food is around, how about a down stay? A baby gate to keep the dog in a larger area but still secure when you can't be watching the situation? Teach the kids to give the dog a command, then treat the dog or give the dog dinner. I don't know what kind of help you would find useful. I do hope you find something that works for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sagewinna - The problem is not that I'm not willing to do things to solve the problem, it's that they aren't an option. Walking a dog until he's tired out isn't an option with 3 kids that I'm alone with all day. Putting the dog outside isn't an option because I don't have a yard. A baby gate to keep the dog in a 'larger area' isn't an option because we live in a two-bedroom townhome. Downstairs is a combination living room dining room and a tiny kitchen and bathroom. Upstairs is a small hallway, two small bedrooms, two bathrooms. Pretty much my options are crating him all the time or keeping him upstairs by himself. It's not that I'm not willing to do that; it's what I've been doing, crating him or putting him in the bathroom, as I explained. It's that I'd like an alternative that doesn't involve confining him all the time, but rather teaching him a better behavior. Confining the dog whenever they have food doesn't solve the problem; it just prevents him from misbehaving. I'm willing to confine him, as I've been doing; I just don't think it's appropriate for a beagle, a very active breed, to be confined all the time.<br><br>
EdlynsMom - Maybe he is just bored, and that's why he's always scavenging for food? Or does he do it JUST to assert himself over the kids? I'm not sure, but you've given me the idea that maybe if I kept him better entertained, he'd be less apt to steal from the kids. I'm not really sure how to do that. He doesn't really go for toys. I am starting to think that rehoming him is best. No one has many ideas on how to teach him better than to steal food and to teach him to respect the kids and recognize his place is beneath them. The only options are crating him all day, locking him upstairs, and trying to tire him out every morning. The last isn't feasible, and the other two don't seem humane for a beagle. And without a yard or a big house I'm not sure how to keep him entertained. This has kind of been my last stop, because I can't afford obedience training. It's not that it's not working for me, because I can and do crate him when they have food. It's that I don't think it is right for him. If he's acting out because of needs that aren't being met, and there's nothing I can do, then this isn't the right place for him.
 

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Well, I appreciate your realistic grasp of the situation. Youre right, that a (mostly) sedentary life isnt right for a young beagle.... the walks and excersise arernt only for wearing him out, but also will help a great deal in helping him to better learn his place in your pack. Boredom is absolutely a possibility as well, which is hard to solve when you are as busy as you are. As youve stated, it does seem overwhelming right now, with all the variables in play. Have you looked into a breed specific rescue in your area? That would be my first suggestion as far as rehoming, as they would be very knowledgable about the needs of the breed and would put alot of care into who they home him with... good luck to you!
 

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I think, since he already respects you as alpha, it would take a few days in a row in order for him to grasp the fact that the kids, while not alpha, are under YOUR protection. And since your alpha, he has no right to touch them or anything in them.<br><br>
This was mentioned already, but it truly is one of the BEST ways to get rid of a problem behaviour. Tie him to you all day. Each and every time he does something he's not supposed to, correct him. When he's being good while the kids are eating, praise. A few days of this, depending on his nature, should do the trick.<br><br>
Now, I know you have small kids so this is going to be hard. But, it's the one thing that I can see that has the potential to work. Because there is a clear black and white training there. When he steals food = correction. When he doesn't = praise. Each and every single time for a series of days, one right after another.<br><br>
Anything less than that is probably not going to do it. While those few days of tethering him to you WILL be difficult. It is something that has the power to work over the longterm. It just depends on whether or not you have enough energy/time for it, and how much you want to make this work as opposed to rehoming. (Not saying rehoming is a bad idea, or anything like that. I can see that you have a lot of things on your plate already, so I'm actually amazed you've managed everything AND the dog thus far!)
 

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I also believe in "grazing" as a healthy way for little people to eat, and I won't suggest you change your eating habits to suite the dog. However, for sanity's sake, I might try gating off the kitchen area, and encouraging the kids to graze in there.<br><br>
If you really want to train the dog to be realiable in the face of snacking toddlers, of everything said, tethering him to you for several days seems the most realistic approach. Stressful, but likely to be effective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That's a new idea that just might work. I'll talk to my husband about it. I could start this weekend, when I don't have kids to babysit. This whole conversation has really made me doubt our ability to care for him even more though. Our other dog is a boxer, and she is really happy here with us. Charlie, however, just seems bored and unentertained, and I think he fills his time with trying to find food. Even if I could stop the behavior he still wouldn't be fulfilled as a doggie. I just keep thinking about the fact that in a year we'll have a yard, if we can just make it through the year...but that seems like such a long time. I need to take it one step at a time though, so hopefully tethering him to me will have some effect and then I can start trying to find ways of entertaining him/tiring him out/getting him more exercise and stimulation.<br><br>
and lol, the gate idea is a good suggestion, but the kids take them down!!!
 

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Occasionally my 7-year-old 120 pound german shepherd needs a little retraining session on whatever new bad habit or old bad habit he might have. For any skill building that involves "not" doing certain things, I use his pinch collar. He also understands the command "not for you" and even after all these years, occasionally will get his nose close to the table having a sniff. At that point he gets a "not for you" and typically will back off with just those words. Dangling food is simply toooooo fantastic for any animal, particularly if the kids get a kick out of the dog snatching it. So, if it were my house, and since the beagle is still a wee one anyway, I would fasten the pinch collar on during these times and combine a "no" with a sharp pull of the pinch until dog sits. Then release the pinch and "good boy, oh yeah, you did a good job" and a redirect to a toy or doggie chew.Mine also does very well with a kong and p.b. with a cookie stuffed inside to keep busy.<br>
We still have training sessions surrounding puppets quite frequently, as he just can't keep his mind together when children with puppets make them make noises. He really associates them with his own toys. Pinch collar goes on, and honestly I think he understands, oh, yeah, okay, I'm working and I can't eat the puppet. but--if he barks at it or goes for it, YANK(not for you), sit, good boy.<br>
other option: before thinking to get rid of the perhaps-unhappy puppy, check with a trainer in the area to see if they do a home visit. Might cost 50-100 dollars but soooo well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My husband and I think the main problem is that he's bored. We can do all kinds of obedience training with hiim but I think it'll keep resurfacing. So I need to start finding ways of entertaining him. If I can't do that then we've got to do the right thing for him. Any suggestions? We have no yard and live in a small townhome. There's a dogpark up the road, but I do daycare 4 days a week. We have some squeaky toys... but short of getting a fake rabbit and letting it loose in the garage for them to chase, I'm lost!
 
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