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Discussion Starter #1
I adopted my 3 year old greyhound german shepherd mix about three months ago from the pound. She's a great dog, usually well mannered but she has a peculiar habit of stealing things when I'm gone.
She likes to steal my shoes, she doesn't chew them or anything, she just takes them and lays with them.
She also will steal more random items if left on the counter tops like bread, coffee, sugar, whatever. She doesn't make an attempt to open it, or snack on it, she just takes it and hides it somewhere.

When I find that she's taken something I point at it and tell her "no" and she knows she did wrong because she will have her tail between her legs and slink off.
She only does it when I'm not home, I've never caught her in the act.
Has anyone ever heard of a dog doing this before???
 

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It's not that weird, and I've seen greyhounds doing it before, especially.

When I find that she's taken something I point at it and tell her "no" and she knows she did wrong because she will have her tail between her legs and slink off.
This is not true. Dogs have a short term memory of about 3 seconds. If you don't catch a dog in the act, neither correction nor praise does any good. The only reason she slinks off is because she knows you're mad. She doesn't know why. All you're teaching the dog is that things like shoes make you mad.

You have two choices here: confine the dog or remove the stuff. I don't see any reason to confine the dog since she's not being destructive, so remove the stuff from her reach. Don't leave anything out for her to steal. Put the shoes in the closet and the food in the pantry. That will solve the entire problem.
 

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This is not true. Dogs have a short term memory of about 3 seconds. If you don't catch a dog in the act, neither correction nor praise does any good. The only reason she slinks off is because she knows you're mad. She doesn't know why. All you're teaching the dog is that things like shoes make you mad.

You have two choices here: confine the dog or remove the stuff. I don't see any reason to confine the dog since she's not being destructive, so remove the stuff from her reach. Don't leave anything out for her to steal. Put the shoes in the closet and the food in the pantry. That will solve the entire problem.
This, the behavior you're seeing (tail between legs and slinking away) is appeasement behavior, she's trying to tell you she's harmless and trying to appease your anger, that is all.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
She seems to know she's done something wrong before I have to say no. I know she's done something she shouldn't have when she doesn't meet me at the door but instead is hiding. Also she knows she shouldn't be doing it because she only does it when I'm gone, and has never attempted to pick anything up in my presence.
Obviously, not leaving anything out is a solution and I've done that. In that case she takes couch cushions, throw pillows, seriously anything. I'm not so much worried about her taking things since she isn't being destructive, just curious why she does it.
She is completely uninterested in toys. We go on 3-4 long walks a day, and she gets off lead time as well.
 

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Suggestion: Sleep in an old T-shirt, then give it to her to sleep on, and see what happens.

Also, give her a stuffed Kong to chew on, to see if it gives her something to do...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Suggestion: Sleep in an old T-shirt, then give it to her to sleep on, and see what happens.

Also, give her a stuffed Kong to chew on, to see if it gives her something to do...
Thanks! I have left out a shirt for her before and she's usually curled up with it when I get home, its pretty cute.
I was wondering if she was taking other things just out of boredom. I got her a nylabone but she is uninterested in it. I'll have to see if she will like a Kong.
 

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She seems to know she's done something wrong before I have to say no. I know she's done something she shouldn't have when she doesn't meet me at the door but instead is hiding. Also she knows she shouldn't be doing it because she only does it when I'm gone, and has never attempted to pick anything up in my presence.
She has made the connection between your presence and chewed shoes being dangerous because she has been punished in the past. She does NOT understand that it is wrong to chew the shoes. That is why she hides when you come home and the shoes have been chewed. Please stop punishing your dog, even if it is only with a verbal correction, it is only damaging your relationship with her, and clearly is not working. Keep the things you don't want her to chew out of her reach, and give her acceptable chew toys in their place.
 

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Wow I was just coming on here to post the exact same thing! Our recently acquired 1 year old dog does the same thing, only she only does it with my mother in laws shoes. Refuses any kind of toy, even the treat filled kong, but is constantly going in my mother in laws room and stealing her shoes (and we can't shut the door because of her cats). She doesn't take anything else, but she usually just brings it back to her bed and lays with it. Except today I caught her throwing it around like a rag doll. She gets plenty of attention (I'm home all day) and she has a big yard to play in. Only thing we can guess is that the real toys smell and taste "new". She'll take the toy if we hand it to her and then she spits it out like it has a bad taste. But the shoes are the only thing that smell familiar to her. Not sure how to fix this short of running around with her toys under our armpits to get them smelling like people LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
She has made the connection between your presence and chewed shoes being dangerous because she has been punished in the past. She does NOT understand that it is wrong to chew the shoes. That is why she hides when you come home and the shoes have been chewed. Please stop punishing your dog, even if it is only with a verbal correction, it is only damaging your relationship with her, and clearly is not working. Keep the things you don't want her to chew out of her reach, and give her acceptable chew toys in their place.
She's not chewing them... She is only laying with them. That's why I think its weird, I've never heard of a dog just stealing things with no intention of chewing. As I said, which you obviously read, is she does not have any interest at all in an "acceptable chew toy." Its not something I have too much of a problem with, I just find it peculiar and was wondering WHY she is doing it, not so much as how to stop it.
 

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Wow I was just coming on here to post the exact same thing! Our recently acquired 1 year old dog does the same thing, only she only does it with my mother in laws shoes. Refuses any kind of toy, even the treat filled kong, but is constantly going in my mother in laws room and stealing her shoes (and we can't shut the door because of her cats). She doesn't take anything else, but she usually just brings it back to her bed and lays with it. Except today I caught her throwing it around like a rag doll. She gets plenty of attention (I'm home all day) and she has a big yard to play in. Only thing we can guess is that the real toys smell and taste "new". She'll take the toy if we hand it to her and then she spits it out like it has a bad taste. But the shoes are the only thing that smell familiar to her. Not sure how to fix this short of running around with her toys under our armpits to get them smelling like people LOL
Lol, wow so there is someone out there that knows what I'm talking about! See no one in the house has seen her take a thing, so I don't know if she's throwing anything around, it doesn't look like it anyway.
Mine also gets a ton of attention, but when I do have to leave I always make sure to take her on a nice run to tire her out.
I can understand things that smell like us, but the more random things like coffee or taking couch cushions is a little stranger.
Lol we must just have style conscious animals.
 

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Our dogs do this, too, and it started when they were very young.
 

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Lol, wow so there is someone out there that knows what I'm talking about! See no one in the house has seen her take a thing, so I don't know if she's throwing anything around, it doesn't look like it anyway.
Mine also gets a ton of attention, but when I do have to leave I always make sure to take her on a nice run to tire her out.
I can understand things that smell like us, but the more random things like coffee or taking couch cushions is a little stranger.
Lol we must just have style conscious animals.
LOL yes we just say What girl doesn't love shoes? Now that I think about it more she does take her toys to her bed sometimes too, I guess they are the only/easiest things to put in there. Very strange that your dog resorts to stockpiling just about anything! Wonder if it has something to do with "nesting"? Or maybe things that smell like her "pack" make her feel more secure in her bed so she's not lonely? I really have no clue either but I would like to put a stop to it. I also never catch her in the act although she does it when I'm home, today was the first time I actually caught her in the act, she's usually sneaky about it as well, so I was able to punish her for it. Hopefully somebody will chime in with some behavioural insight on our little kleptomaniacs :)
 

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She's not chewing them... She is only laying with them. That's why I think its weird, I've never heard of a dog just stealing things with no intention of chewing. As I said, which you obviously read, is she does not have any interest at all in an "acceptable chew toy." Its not something I have too much of a problem with, I just find it peculiar and was wondering WHY she is doing it, not so much as how to stop it.
It's very likely she associates stuff on the floor with you being angry, that's all. Dogs really do not know right from wrong. All you're doing by yelling at her is damaging your relationship.

Which leads me to this question: If you really don't care what she's doing, why yell at her and scare her? That's kinda mean. It's somewhat understandable* if you find the behavior angering, but if you merely find it curious, why scare your dog and damage your relationship with her?


*Note: I didn't say it's okay to yell because you're mad, simply that I do get why angry people yell.
 

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"Stealing" is a matter of perspective. Dogs do things because it's FUN and at certain times of the day, all healthy dogs just want to have fun. If you're not around to amuse them, they make their own fun. It can seem a bit weird, I know. Our dog likes to bury as much of her 85 lb body as she can in the couch or chair cushions. If we let her, she would toss the cushions all over the place. She does it with bed pillows, too. Only had her chew a pillow case once. And she destroyed a bed pillow another time - feathers everywhere! It was pretty funny. She seemed very pleased.

So we've learned to keep the things she targets, like pillows and paper towels, out of her reach when we can't be there to interrupt one of her sessions. Much easier on all of us to just manage the stuff.
 

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My pup does this, but she's a retriever. I have been leaving stuff out, to get her used to ignoring things like a pair of flip-flops or some of the kids' toys or socks. A lot of the time she will leave them alone, but Some things she will chew, and others she just brings them to her bed and drops them, lays down and looks at me. Then she will go get something else. If i leave for a minute, she will have quietly gotten a collection going. Wii remote, shoes, whatever. She LOVES stuffed animals if she can find one we haven't put away. She will chew some stuff, crayons are her favorite lately! I know some people teach their dogs to "pick up" their toys and put them in a basket, perhaps you could work on this and it would help direct it to things you want the dog to have. Already when I take away things she isn't supposed to have, she will go get one of her toys instead, although I know she likes our stuff better ;)
 
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