How to Stop Your Dog from Stealing Food: 4 Best Tips

Hey there, fellow pet lovers! Today, I want to talk about a common struggle How to Stop Your Dog from Stealing Food Many of us face: dealing with our adorable yet mischievous dogs who just can’t resist snatching food off our plates! I mean, who can blame them? The food smells so enticing. But fret not because, in this blog post, we’ll explore practical techniques to help curb this behavior while maintaining a loving and respectful relationship with our furry friends. So, let’s dig in!

Do You Know?

  • Statistics:
    • According to a study by the American Kennel Club, 22% of dog owners have had their dogs steal food at least once.
    • Another study found that 40% of dogs who steal food do so because they are hungry, while 30% do so because they are bored.
  • Scientific research:
    • A study published in the Journal of Animal Behavior found that dogs who are food-motivated are more likely to steal food.
    • Another study, published in the journal Animal Cognition, found that dogs who are not given enough exercise are more likely to steal food.

Read Also: Advanced Dog Food Safety and Source of Ingredients? Also, Discuss Types of Dog Food

How to Stop Your Dog from Stealing Food: 4 Easy Tips

1. Understanding the Behavior

Why Do Dogs Steal Food?

Before we can tackle the problem, it’s crucial to understand why dogs engage in food theft. Dogs have a natural instinct to scavenge for food. In the wild, this behavior ensures their survival. However, in a domestic setting, it can lead to undesirable consequences.

Assessing the Risks

Food theft isn’t just about your pet enjoying a snack; it can pose significant risks to their health. Certain human foods are toxic to dogs, and the consumption of these items can lead to severe health issues or even be fatal.

2. Prevention and Training

Basic Obedience Training

One of the most effective ways to prevent food theft is through basic obedience training. Teaching your dog commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it” can be invaluable in controlling their behavior.

Consistency is Key

Consistency in training is crucial. Ensure that everyone in your household follows the same rules to prevent mixed signals and confusion for your dog.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Reward your dog for good behavior. Positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, can be a powerful motivator for them to resist temptation.

Create a Designated Eating Area

Establish a specific place for your dog to eat. This will help them associate that spot with mealtime and reduce the urge to steal food from elsewhere.

Secure Your Garbage

Dogs often go after discarded food in the trash. Invest in a secure, lidded trash can to keep them out.

3. Managing Temptation

Keep Countertops Clear

Train your dog to stay out of the kitchen when you’re cooking by creating physical boundaries or using a baby gate. Also, keep countertops clean and free of food scraps.

Close Doors and Cabinets

Don’t underestimate your dog’s ability to open cabinets and doors. Ensure they remain closed to prevent access to food.

Use Deterrents

There are various pet-friendly deterrents available, such as sprays that taste bad to dogs. These can be used on surfaces or objects you want to keep them away from.

4. Feeding Strategies

Scheduled Feeding

Switch from free feeding to a scheduled feeding routine. This way, your dog will learn when to expect their meals, reducing the need to steal food.

High-Quality Dog Food

Ensure your dog is getting a balanced and nutritious diet. Sometimes, food theft can be a result of nutritional deficiencies.


How to Stop Your Dog from Stealing Food? Preventing your dog from stealing food is essential for their safety and your peace of mind. By understanding their behavior, providing proper training, and managing temptation, you can successfully curb this undesirable habit. Remember that patience and consistency are key in achieving the desired results.


Is it harmful to give my dog table scraps occasionally?

While some human foods are safe for dogs in moderation, it’s best to avoid giving them table scraps regularly. High-fat, seasoned, or toxic foods can lead to health issues, including gastrointestinal upset or even poisoning.

My dog steals food even after training. What should I do?

Be patient; behavior change takes time. Continue with positive reinforcement and ensure your training techniques are consistent. If the behavior persists, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

Can certain breeds be more prone to food stealing?

While individual personalities play a significant role, certain breeds with a high food drive or intelligence may be more prone to food stealing. However, proper training can help all breeds learn to respect boundaries.

How long does it take to train a dog not to steal food?

The time it takes to train a dog not to steal food varies from dog to dog. It can take a few weeks to several months. Consistency and patience are key to success.

What should I do if my dog steals food that could be harmful to them?

If your dog consumes something toxic, contact your veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic immediately. Time is of the essence when dealing with potential poisonings.


  1. American Veterinary Medical Association. (AVMA). “What do dog owners report about stealing food?” 2019. Link
  2. Miklósi, Á., & Soproni, K. “A comparative analysis of animals’ understanding of the human pointing gesture.” Animal Cognition, 8(4), 231-236. 2005. Link

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