How to Stop a Puppy From Taking Toys

What you don't see is the owner of that bone looking none too pleased.

What you don't see is the owner of that bone looking none too pleased.

Puppies, despite their adorableness, are punks. That your older dog can attest to. You and your other dogs might be able to put up with your puppy's leg-biting, neck-grabbing and excessive slobber, but toy-stealing is a no-no. It's up to you to fix the problem.

Play with your puppy, give him a run and exhaust his energy each day. This might sound like a cop-out; after all, it's touted as a solution to a lot of canine problems, but that's because it's vital to fixing those problems. Your puppy has a lot of spunk. He's bothering your other dog, stealing his toys, chewing on his legs and so forth because he has a bunch of energy and because he doesn't know the rules. You can fix his abundance of energy by running around in your yard, tossing his ball for 20 minutes at a time and taking him for walks. While that won't solve his toy thievery entirely, it will cut down on the prevalence of it.

Wait until your puppy goes in and tries to grab your other dog's toy. As soon as he dives in for the toy, say your puppy's name to grab his attention. If he knows the come command -- which is really helpful for this -- say it. If he doesn't, try to persuade him over by waving your hands or patting your leg.

Tell your puppy to sit when he comes to you, then give him a treat and a toy that your other dog isn't playing with. Do this every time your puppy tries to steal something your other dog has. When your puppy is well-behaved, pet him, rub his ears and play with him as a reward for not bothering your older dog. Eventually, the little instigator will learn that his efforts to steal things are fruitless because he gets interrupted every time. More importantly, he'll learn that staying away begets rewards.

Separate your puppy from your older dogs if the youngster is incessant in his toy-stealing attempts. If your puppy is too excited, he may run right back over to your other dog after you distract him. At this point, not a whole lot is going to work, so take your puppy outside to give him some attention, or ask your partner to give your older dog attention while you play with the puppy for a few minutes. If that doesn't work, bring your puppy to his crate for 20 or 30 minutes, but not as punishment. Act nonchalant, as if nothing's wrong. The idea here is to calm your puppy down and give your older dog a break.

Provide your canines with two of every toy. Sometimes there's that one toy so magnificent and awesome that your puppy and older dog just have to have possession of it at all times. To cut down on your puppy stealing toys for this reason, buy two of such toys.

Tips

  • If your puppy steals your cat's toys, keep those toys up high where the dog can't reach them. If he scurries over to your kitty when she's playing with a toy, follow the same steps you would if he bothered your older dog.
  • Stopping your puppy's behavior may take a few weeks. It's a lengthy process that, as long as you intervene each time he tries to steal toys, will stop once he gets out of the puppy stage.

Warning

  • Do not yell at or hit your puppy. Positive reinforcement is the way to go.
 

About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Photo Credits

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