MemberOctober 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm3140
It sounds like the crate you have is just a bit undersized. Large breed dogs reach their adult height roughly between 8 and 10 months. So 1 size up from the crate you have should work just fine. If you don’t want to invest in a brand new crate you can find them for sale in the pennysaver and craigslist for a good price.
As for the stealing, you are right to address restless spirit as this is usually a component. If you can anticipate that he is in a mood to cruise around looking for trouble that would be a good time to give him a kong or a bully stick to occupy him so that he stays out trouble. Trading with him, or telling him out is a good way to get things back when he already has them in his possesion.
The other part of this equation is to prevent him from getting the object in the first place. He should always be where you can supervise him, until he has proven trustworthy with you around. If you see him approaching an object/table/counter with the intention of investigating and stealing, then using a “Dog God” or environmental correction would be appropriate. This is when you use a negative motivator (spray of compressed air, spray from citronella collar, or remote collar correction are examples) without letting on to the dog that you are the source. This means no talking to him or making eye contact, immediately before, during or after the correction. The reason we correct in this manner is so that the behavior will be reliable when you are not present. If you make the correction about you, then he will likely surf the counter/ table when you are not present.
Make sure you are following the Golden Rules .
1)Timing – correct timing would be when he is about to investigate an area with the intent of stealing it, not when he already has the object in his possession.
2)Motivation- The goal is to use a most minimal correction that is motivational enough for him to respect it. If he is attempting it many times regardless of the correction, then it is not motivational enough. If he panics when he gets corrected and doesn’t recover from it for 5 minutes it is too much. Know your dog when picking the “Dog God”/environmental correction. If he is very sound sensitive then using compressed air may send him into a panic etc.
3) Consistency- make sure you are supervising him so that you can use the chosen correction each time he attempts this. Otherwise he should be placed in a dog safe area or his crate.
Hope this helps! Keep us posted.