In yet another episode of Bowdu’s bad habits, I present — the Sneak Thief.
Indeed, there’s nothing like a kleptomaniac dog to teach you to put away your precious belongings. Like many a novice dog owner, RJ and I have lost hundreds of dollars of material possessions to our wiley Shiba’s thieving jaws. Books, records, hairbrushes, a cell phone (his), brand new eyeglasses (mine), a hands-free headset (Aunt Maggie’s), and lots more. It took us a while to learn how to put our most important things out of reach, and to trade up when he challenged us for trying to reclaim our belongings.
Unfortunately, he learned fairly quick that stealing = more attention. So even now, when he feels neglected, he’ll resort to stealing random items like empty plastic bottles, cardboard tubes, and boxes that were tossed in the recycling bin.
And he’ll hold onto his pilfered prize, challenging us to take it away from him.
We used to take a hardline approach and remove anything that wasn’t “rightfully” his. But this wasn’t teaching him to not steal, and it certainly didn’t get us far in learning to just put stuff out of reach. So now we take a different approach with sometimes comical results. If the item is of no importance, we will calmly acknowledge that he got it, and then walk away while telling him that he can have it. We put on a big show of not caring.
This makes Bowdu pick up his stolen goods and follow us around, like he’s begging us to care. Sometimes he’ll even lay the item out in our path, and lunge to guard it as we walk by. But we continue to ignore him completely.
If anyone cares, maybe it’s Bowpi. She merely seems confused why anyone would give a shit about such a stupid object.
Then Bowdu might throw a little tantrum by ripping up his purloined piece of trash, as if to show us that we can’t just ignore him, hmph! But instead of guarding something for hours like he used to do, he’ll quickly lose interest in his “prize” once he has thoroughly rendered it as worthless as everyone else thinks it is.
These incidents of theft are much fewer and far between nowadays. Since the humans are both too messy to put everything away, it’s just a matter of what he decides to claim next… I suppose it’s his way of keeping us guessing.