Teaching a French Bulldog in West LA to Leave it to Stop Her from Stealing Shoes

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 8, 2017

For this West LA dog training session we worked with 1 year-old French Bulldog Pasta who shreds toilet paper or collects shoes when left alone.

Pasta was excited to meet us but also showed some caution when we arrived for the session. As a dog behaviorist, I have learned to slow down, turn sideways and lower myself to the dog’s level when I see a dog moving slow, backing away or adopting a stiff body language. A dog has to feel calm and comfortable around you in order to gain its trust.

When I sat down with Pasta’s guardian to discuss problems, I learned that she didn’t have many rules. Rules are important as dogs are all about what they see us do. They also learn via consistency, repetition and good timing; being rewarded or corrected within 3 seconds.

If we don’t have any rules or boundaries in place, we can’t really be consistent or have good timing as we are random when we correct a dog. As a dog behaviorist, I have found this inconsistency is a common factor that confuses many dogs.

I suggested some rules as well as ways to enforce them. I also showed the guardian how to pet his dog in a way that will reward desired actions and behaviors. Many of my dog behavior clients focus on what the dog does wrong. But because good attention is almost the same as bad attention, this often causes dogs to misbehave as that is what gets them noticed.

I also recommended the guardian use my petting with a purpose method to help condition Pasta into sitting or laying down as a way to ask for attention. The more we reward dogs for desired behaviors, the easier it is to get them to do those things on command later.

One of Pasta’s unwanted behaviors was pulling toilet paper off the roll and shredding it. To help her guardian teach Pasta its not nice to shred TP, I went over a basic leave it exercise.

Training a dog to leave it on command is an immensely helpful command when you have a puppy. Pasta caught on to the leave it exercise within a few minutes showing she is a pretty smart cookie. This will allow her guardian to extend the distance away from guarding the object as well as the length of time before he picks it up and gives it to her. Teaching a dog to leave things alone isn’t hard if you use a positive approach and practice enough.

The guardian can use the leave it command for other items Pasta likes to steal such as her guardian’s shoes. Fortunately she is just collecting them in to a pile on the couch and not chewing them.

Another thing the guardian should work on is teaching Pasta to drop things on command. I shot a video detailing how to do this for another client. You can learn how by clicking this link.

I recommended the guardian pick up some additional chew items too. Often times dogs start chewing on our stuff because they don’t have enough (or are bored with) their own. Antlers, real bones, nylabones (flavored and in different shapes and sizes), water buffalo tusks (solid inside) and kongs filled with peanut butter (eventually frozen) are all great options. If your dog doesn’t have any health issues (allergies) there are some great edible options; bully sticks, cow knees, tracheas, cow ears, pig feet, chicken / duck / turkey feet, etc.

At the end of the session we shot a roadmap to success video to summarize all the things we covered in this three hour in home dog training session.

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