50 Hilarious Examples Of Pets Being Caught Red-Pawed When Stealing Food (New Pics)
Let’s be honest — we love it when our beloved pets surprise us with their bizarre shenanigans. Whether it’s cats squeezing into the smallest places, dogs sleep-barking and twitching, or mice spinning their wheel like it’s no tomorrow — we can’t help but laugh and grab our phones hoping to snap a quick photo.
However, our adorable four-legged friends tend to act all innocent and holy to our faces, but as soon as we turn our gaze, they're back to their mischievous ways. And if there’s one sly behavior that certainly catches our attention, it’s when they steal our delicious bites right under our noses.
Just take a look at how dogs, cats, and even elephants and lizards tried to sneakily grab food off the counter, yet got caught red-pawed right in the act. Scroll down to see a compilation of pictures that vividly illustrate how pet owners never get bored and upvote the ones you enjoyed most!
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To learn more about our pets and their desire to steal food, Bored Panda reached out to Kate Mornement Ph.D., who goes by the handle @petbehaviourist on Instagram. She is a qualified animal behaviorist based in Melbourne and the founder of Pets Behaving Badly. She consults pet owners and people working professionally with animals and helps them better understand these adorable creatures living under human care.
"In Psychology, food is classified as a Primary Reinforcer because it's essential for all animals' survival," she explained why some pets are famous for being food stealers. "This means that our pets innately find food reinforcing (rewarding), and they are hard-wired to seek food out, even food that's not for them!"
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"Some pets may be more food motivated than others and more likely to steal food. Also, pets who have successfully stolen food and enjoyed eating it in the past are more likely to repeat the behavior in the future," Kate added.
For example, Labradors are generally very food motivated. Kate noted that many of them exhibit behaviors such as food stealing or counter surfing. "Even though Labradors are known to be the 'foodies' of the canine world, any dog can exhibit food-stealing behavior. Some examples of food-stealing I've come across are dogs eating a whole bag of dog food, a freshly cooked roast chicken, a container of butter, and even freshly baked cupcakes!"
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And then continued to open every single of of them! Found him having the time of his life inside there surrounded by food.
Cat Returns With Sausage Stolen From Unknown Neighbors BBQ
While pet owners might become furious seeing their home-cooked meals getting blatantly destroyed, the feelings soften after a while. And for the viewers, witnessing such animal actions is certainly entertaining. According to Kate, there are a few reasons why people find food-stealing cute and amusing.
"Firstly, I think it's funny because dogs are choosing to eat human food," she explained. "Second, it's not a behavior they tend to do when we're around, so they learn to get sneaky when it comes to stealing food. Thirdly, it can be a shock to find that our pet has eaten a whole bag of pet food or your roast chicken, so rather than get angry, I think some of us laugh it off."
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However, sometimes swiping those tasty bites off the counter can pose real threats to your pet's health. "It's important to note, though, that food-stealing can be dangerous for pets because some foods are toxic and can make them sick. It's best to contact your vet if you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn't have."
We were curious to learn whether these little goofballs try to tell us something with their sneaky behaviors and the never-ending snack grabbing. "I think that when pets steal food, they're acting on their impulses and eating something they want and have access to, rather than it being a deliberate act to upset us," the animal behaviorist told us.
"However, if you find your pet is constantly trying to steal food and appears hungry all the time, you might want to discuss this with your vet to ensure they're getting enough food each day," she added.
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Luckily, Kate assured us that it's indeed possible to train your pet not to steal food. "To do this, firstly ensure you're providing a species-appropriate high quality and nutritious diet for your pet. Try to avoid leaving food unattended in areas your pet can access."
When it comes to mealtimes, teach your pet to stay in a specific location and feed them high-value treats for staying there. "With time and repetition, your pet will learn that it's more reinforcing to stay in that place than it is to try to steal food," she said. "Avoid feeding your pet from the table or when you're eating a meal or a snack. The only time they get food should be at their mealtime or during a training session."
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Kate wanted to remind you that some pets tend to be more inclined than others to steal food. "If your pet has stolen food before, take a cautious approach and avoid leaving human food out that might tempt them when you're not there. If your pet succeeds in stealing food every now and again, that's called 'intermittent reinforcement' which tends to maintain the food-stealing behavior over time," she concluded.