There’s only one way to completely prevent German Shepherds from putting their paws on the table or counter and stealing food: Don’t leave anything within their reach. Even if you move the items to the back of the counter, GSD’s paws can have an amazing reach when they really wants something.
An innate scavenger mentality, coupled with a curious nature and an appetite for all things tasty, means that you can expect your German Shepherd to steal your food from the counter at some point.
Hungry German Shepherds who are not fed enough or the right diet are likely to steal food. Before correcting this behavior, make sure your GSD puppy is at her proper weight.
To discourage your German Shepherd Dog from jumping up on the table or counter, try these deterring tactics:
- Tape a sheet of bubble wrap to the counter, and place a piece of food in the middle of it. Leave the room. When your German Shepherd Dog puppy jumps up on the counter, she’ll likely pop the bubble wrap which will make a big noise and might startle and discourage her from jumping up on the counter again.
- Leave an empty cookie sheet on the counter. Place a piece of food on it. To get the food, your German Shepherd’s paws might knock the pan on the floor, which will deter her from jumping up on the counter again.
- Place a rug on the kitchen floor, and feed your German Shepherd Dog puppy on it. While you’re cooking, train her to go on the rug and wait for small pieces of fruit, veggies or meat. Teach her that she only receives treats when she sits on the rug.
- If you must leave food on the table or counter, place a baby gate at the entrance to the room, and keep your German Shepherd out of there.
- Try using a vibration alarm (available at pet-supply stores). This detects movement in an object or on a surface and sounds a loud alarm that will deter your German Shepherd Dog.
- Don’t ever feed your German Shepherd from the counter or table. She’ll think that’s where food comes from and will learn to hang around the counter area, waiting for a handout or for something to accidentally land on the floor.
- Don’t allow your German Shepherd Dog to beg from the counter or table. While you’re dining, give your puppy a stuffed toy with cheese or peanut butter to chew on, or place her in her crate or exercise pen.
- Never hit your German Shepherd if she steals something. This is cruel and will not teach her anything. Punishment only encourages your German Shepherd Dog puppy to swipe things when you’re not looking.
Excerpt from the Popular Puppies Series magabook German Shepherd Puppies with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase German Shepherd Puppies here.