Trouble

Sammie has been finding all kinds of ways to get into trouble lately, and I don’t know how to help her see the error of her ways.

I told you all about the chicken incident earlier this week, but I didn’t tell you that that night, while we were sleeping, she snuck into the kitchen to get at something on the counters! Aaron is a light sleeper, so he woke up when he heard a noise and caught her in the act. In 24 hours, she not only lost her ‘being out’ privilege during the day, but also at night!

I hate it. I feel bad. I mean, just look at this face:

I wish I knew what was going on with her so I could help her. I know that dogs will often find trouble when they’re restless or bored, but she’s been going to the dog park a lot lately, and getting the same amount of attention and loving, so I can’t imagine it’s because of that!

What do you think? Have you had pets that have gone through this? How did you fix the behavior?

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22 comments

  1. colinandray · March 13, 2015

    There’s probably nothing wrong with Sammie. Her instincts will dictate that she looks for food and, if she is anything like Ray, will eat what she finds. Perhaps she’s hungry, or perhaps she is simply taking advantage of a nice situation. The first lesson in training a dog is to ensure it will succeed (set it up for success). In the context of Sammie, don’t leave anything edible laying around and your problem is solved. Remember that as gorgeous as she is ………….. she is still a dog with all the instincts that go with being a dog.

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    • Saving Sammie · March 13, 2015

      She is a bottomless pit, that’s for sure! But even on three cups of food a day, she’s gaining weight! When we got her, she was skin and bones, and now she’s getting to be a little tubby… We can put food away and off the counters, but that doesn’t solve the problem if she can open the fridge.

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      • colinandray · March 13, 2015

        Ray weighs 75lbs and has 2 meals/day at 1-1/3 cups each. He also gets the usual treats however, because he can easily put on weight (especially if walks are shorter due to our winter weather), many of his treats are vegetables.
        You say “If she can open the fridge.” Can she? That takes some doing because she not only has to work out how, but must also handle the door weight, and the considerable resistance (suction) from the door seal.
        We have a Dog Guides of Canada training centre just around the corner where they teach dogs to open refrigerator doors ……….. but they modify the handle to make it happen.

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      • Saving Sammie · March 13, 2015

        That’s how she got the chicken – she opened the refrigerator to get it! No teaching on our part… She’s too smart for her own good.

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      • colinandray · March 13, 2015

        Are you absolutely sure the door was closed properly. While it is not impossible that she could work it out, it is rather unlikely.

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      • Saving Sammie · March 13, 2015

        Well, it’s hard to say. All we know is we came home to the fridge standing wide open!

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      • colinandray · March 13, 2015

        If either of you tend to just push the door to close without checking it, I would suggest that in the future, you both ensure that the door is closed properly before walking away. You probably have stuff in there that is not good for Sammie anyway so it is always a good safety practise. All you have to do then is wait and see. Perhaps hang a little bell on the door handle so you may hear if she is trying to get in (which she will probably try now she knows there is possibly chicken in there!). If you hear the bell, give her a minute and then try and see what she is doing. If she is successful, then you need to know exactly how she does it so that you can prevent future attempts.

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      • Saving Sammie · March 13, 2015

        That’s a good thought! Thanks for the suggestions. To use your words, we’re just looking for ways to help her succeed…

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      • colinandray · March 13, 2015

        As an aside, I assume you know that cooked chicken bones are a significant hazard to dogs because the bones are brittle and will splinter easily. Hopefully your chicken was not cooked.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Saving Sammie · March 13, 2015

        I do know that, and no, they weren’t. They were in the fridge to thaw for dinner that night!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. colinandray · March 13, 2015

    Just in case you were contemplating blaming your “significant other”, you may want to see video:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. courtney1291 · March 13, 2015

    I have a shepherd too that loves to eat everything. She gets enough to eat and plays a lot at the dog park, she just gets really bored. We bought her a kong wobbler to feed her her morning and night meals in so that way it keeps her occupied until she can get all of her food out. We freeze yummy things into hollowed out marrow bones and her kong to keep her busy too. If she isn’t busy all the time, she is in trouble haha. I would look into dog foraging toys for her and start feeding her in it. My trainer told us that Jayda should be getting close to half of her meals in foraging toys just to keep her busy. Now that I’m in class and working, she gets both of her meals in toys and she is looking and doing just great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saving Sammie · March 13, 2015

      We have a Buster Cube that we use to feed her sometimes in the evenings, but maybe that is the wrong meal! While we love it, it’s difficult to get the core out to fill.

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  4. Ginene Nagel · March 13, 2015

    I think that dogs and cats that have ever been in a situation during their lives when there wasn’t enough food tend to over-eat when they find a home. I wouldn’t punish her for this, I think the environment needs to be changed like you said. Sammie is so smart and obviously sensitive. I have a cat that was very thin and starved when I found her. She gets very anxious when there isn’t dried kibble in her bowl. She doesn’t necessarily eat it, but she wants to know it is there. As soon as I put some in the bowl, she calms down.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Saving Sammie · March 13, 2015

      Sammie is, unfortunately, a bottomless pit and would eat whatever we set out for her (or, as has happened lately, not for her). But I think you raise a good point – maybe we need to try and change her association with food so she knows she won’t have to be without ever again. Perhaps that would calm her hunt for food. THANK YOU!

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      • colinandray · March 13, 2015

        Be very careful because while most cats will regulate their food intake, many dogs will not. I am aware of a dog that broke out of its crate and devoured a complete bag of dog food. It was laying on the floor extremely bloated when its owner came home. Perhaps Sammie will adapt ……….. but extreme caution is suggested. I would still suggest that it is easier for you guys to change your habits (ensure she cannot get into the fridge), than it is to change hers.

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      • Saving Sammie · March 13, 2015

        Oh I wouldn’t dream of giving her free access to food, but trying to change those associations so she knows she doesn’t have to devour it – that she will always have a next meal – I’m okay with.

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  5. Ginene Nagel · March 13, 2015

    Hi,
    I didn’t mean that what works for my cat would work for Sammie, I just thought it was interesting that some once-without-food animals have stress about food. If you watch television, I think you would enjoy the show Cesar 911. He would, I think, but not sure, have you train the dog while there is food on the counter. Good Luck, Sammie and Sammie’s mommy!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. carolynswriting · March 14, 2015

    I was thinking the same thing about the food anxiety of an animal which has known hunger. We use Kongs (a type of wobbler) to keep our two dogs entertained (they don’t seem to have food anxiety) while we’re at work. I also recall one of my dogs went through all sorts of various phases of different trouble-making in her life – this could be one of Sammie’s? Taylor was a working dog breed living in a suburban house – very smart & sensitive & she needed sooo much exercise & entertainment. Perhaps it’s a combination for Sammie of still settling into her new life (have you had her less than a year?), living in an apartment (even with her daily exercise, etc), and past memories of hunger. Well done on your patience, you’ll figure out the key using all the helpful tips above, I’m sure!

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    • Saving Sammie · March 14, 2015

      We’ve had her 7 months now, and the winter was hard on her I’m sure – not nearly as much time outside! Thanks for your advice. Everyone has been so helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. carolynswriting · March 14, 2015

    PS we don’t put ‘extra’ dry food (kibble) in the Kongs, I use part of their breakfast rations plus broken-up liver treats for extra interest. So they’re not getting more food or anything unhealthy 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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