Giving Value to the wrong thing
Did you ever wonder why a toilet roll, your sock, remote control etc is so exciting to your puppy? You buy them all the toys in the world but they don’t have the same appeal as the treasure they find in the wash basket, WHY?
Play it back in your head, go back to the first time they pinched something they shouldn’t. You probably raised your voice in an exciting way, chased them around the house, possibly gave them a treat to drop it. What you have done without realising it is given that object a high value.
In stark contrast when it comes to pups' toys you place them all out for your puppy, you offer them to your pup trying to play, that’s all lovely and at times that’s enough, but what it isn’t is a prey, a prize that needs to be captured!
What I suggest is you leave around 5 toys out for your puppy and every couple of days change them up to keep them interesting. Leave their favourite toy out for them we don’t need to change that but also keep one in your arsenal, find a toy that your puppy really likes, now let’s give this you super value.
This is the prey!
Let your puppy see you play with the toy but don’t offer it or give it to them, play with this toy yourself, if you have a partner play with them with the toy and then “accidentally” allow your puppy to steal it, as soon as they do everyone raise their voices excitedly and chase pup around the house. If pup drops the toy at any point grab is and start playing again but not allowing pup to play then repeat the “accidental” drop and chase again.
Wow pup thinks this is the most important thing in the world and it’s value has gone through the stratosphere. When pup leaves the toy pick it up and place it somewhere they can’t see it but easily accessed by you.
Next time pup steals something you need to ignore it (unless pup is in any danger or it is irreplaceable) instead, grab the high value toy and turn away from pup and play with that toy making it really noisy, fast and fun. Natural curiosity may kill the cat and pup will come to investigate dropping the stollen object. Here’s the most important part, still pay no interest to that object, leave it where it is and take your game a little distance from it. When pup is super excited “accidentally” drop the toy allowing pup to get it and then excitedly chase them away from the stollen object. Making sure pup doesn’t see, have someone or subtly remove it yourself and continue giving attention to your puppy.
Along side this action you want to be playing with your puppy at least once a day with their toys. Just placing them on the floor is not exciting enough for your fur baby so keep them from looking for entertainment elsewhere.
By doing this you will lower the value of the stollen object, you’ll have fun with your puppy and stop a lot of stress, money to replace objects and upset.
Good luck training!!