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Turkey Theft
My dog helped himself
Who, me? A turkey thief?

Years ago when I had my first dog, we visited my aunt for Thanksgiving. The roasting pan containing grease and a truly alarming amount of turkey skin was sitting unguarded in the kitchen while we feasted in the dining room. Suddenly a crashing sound in the kitchen alerted us to the fact that the dog was no longer lying in the dining room with us. Whoops.

 
Rushing into the kitchen, I immediately saw that my dog was not, as I had previously thought, a dog who would never take something off of the counter. He had not previously been a food thief, but clearly the temptation of the remains of a Thanksgiving turkey at precisely nose level was too much to resist.
 
To his credit, he had pulled the pan off the counter with such tremendous skill that he had managed to keep it upright so that only a little of the grease slopped out. In spite of myself, I took a moment to be impressed. And he had only eaten about half of the turkey skin by the time I got there and took the rest away, which made me less fearful of the health consequences of consuming large quantities of fat.
 
My aunt is very experienced with dogs and loves them very much, so she understands that dogs are natural scavengers and are likely to go for high quality food that’s so easy to reach. And we all acknowledged that we were lucky he took the leftovers and not the whole turkey when it was still in the pan. So, all in all, what could have been a dreadful situation was just a little blip. Have your dogs ever helped themselves to part of the Thanksgiving feast?

 

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.

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