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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18809
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 6 year old blue heeler/border collie/husky mix. She

Customer Question

I have a 6 year old blue heeler/border collie/husky mix. She recently developed an ear hematoma which she got steroids for. I was told that it would increase her appetite as well as water consumption, but to only give more water. During the duration of steroids she started to get into the garbage and steal food out of my two year olds hands. She has been off of these for over 2 weeks now and the behavior continues. How can I get her to stop these bad habits?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

You are going to need to do some behavior mondification with her. She needs to learn that steeling food from your childs hand is not acceptable. You can help her learn this with obedience training and specific training involving your child as well.

The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Obedience training gives you your dog commands that you can use to help stop the behavior. This also helps reinforce that you are the boss. However, additional training will be the best way of stopping the behavior. Keep a leash on her and have your 2 year old stand with food. If the dog moves toward the child, give a short tug to get her attention and a firm low toned "NO" to indicate it is unacceptable. It will take several times but you should see her hesitate and not approach the child. When that happens, give her a small hot dog sliver. She'll learn that she gets the treat if she DOES not go near the child while they are eating. You will go through a lot of treats initially but it will be well worth it. Addionally, you might have her wear a basket style muzzle that will allow her to drink and possible eat her dog food but not be able to easily snatch food from a child or pull stuff from the trash.

Teh same technique could be used for the trash though most dogs don't do it in front of their owners. That doesn't mean there is no way to indicate the behavior is not acceptable. One way is to use a heavy lid on the trash can. They make really nice wood trash cans. See one here:

Be sure you use cans with lids. If you do, they make portable entry alarms. You can install them on the lids so if the dog goes to lift the lid, a loud sound is heard which in turn discourages the dog from getting into the trash. If they go to raise the lid, the alarm sounds and startles them thus giving them immediate feedback that it is unacceptable and of course you can reinforce that with a NO since you will hear the alarm as well. Of course, stategically placed dog gates can help deter a dog who wants into trash.

Usually you should start seeing side effects start to subside in about a week, though it may take a few before they are gone completely. I know the hunger is a side effect of the prednisone but you still might want to get her checked for diabetes if it does not resolve as that is one reason for a dog to be hungry all the time as well.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 months ago.

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. Let me know if my answer was helpful.

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