My 8-month-old puppy steals food from the table, but when I yell “NO!” at her, she starts racing around the kitchen like a crazy dog. Yelling louder and running after her yields faster laps. What’s going on?
What’s going on is a little miscommunication between the species. Dogs don’t understand human anger – they fear it (think submissive urination), ignore it (think teenagers), or it amps them up and makes them wilder (your situation). To stop the insanity, take control of the situation before it breaks down. Teach your dog a “place” or a “down/wait” command so she can be in the room during dinner, but not be an unwanted guest at the table. Or, if there are times you’d prefer not to have her in the room at all, provide a confined area where she can enjoy a special toy or treat while you enjoy a quiet meal. Another idea is to keep a six-foot leash attached to her buckle collar when you’re in the room with her – that way, if she does start racing around you can easily step on the leash and regain control. Training her to do the right thing rather yelling and chasing her for doing the wrong thing will ensure you both have a happier relationship – and more peaceful dinnertime!