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My dog eats inappropriate things - Need help to stop him

May 15th, 2005, 01:12 PM
Hello - I'm new here and am looking for some help. I have an 11-month Golden Retriever, neutered male. Every morning we go to the Beach here in Ladysmith to walk and play with other dogs & puppies. Bobby, my puppy, has taken to eating everything he can - from cardboard to plastic cups, plastic lids, wood, clam shells, dead crabs, empty cigarette packages (mostly garbage left by people). He was in hospital for 2 days because this stuff was impacted in his stomach. I now muzzle him if he doesn't "leave it" or "drop". I am hoping this will break him of the habit but if anyone has experience dealing with this - be it diet, training, whatever, I'd sure like to hear from you. I would very much like for my dog to run free without a muzzle for his own safety so I'm really, really anxious to hear about other people's experience with this problem.

May 15th, 2005, 03:46 PM
Hmmm, don't know the solution to that but my beagle does it too. She eats the grossest stuff. I just try to keep everything picked up where she can't get to it. But of course you can't do that when you're out and about like at the beach. The only thing I know to do is work really hard on teaching him the leave it command.

May 15th, 2005, 03:55 PM
I would think you need to teach leave it ALL the time. No matter what he has in his mouth, just randomly say leave it to him, and if he doesn't do it, show him what you mean. If he does it, give him a treat and praise him. Eventually he will get the idea that leave it means praise..

May 15th, 2005, 04:14 PM
Same problem with my Eskimo - and he is now 13 months old. Don't think he will ever outgrow it and he does understand the Leave It command. Sometimes he will drop the item - but if it is a used tissue - anything paper - or as in the case of the other night - 3/4 of a still warm cheeseburger wrapped in foil - dream on. I am considering a basket muzzle. He doesn't go to a beach - just walking down the street has become a hazard in these days of declining personal habits of people. I really hate pulling used Kleenex out of his mouth - I wear an old pair of gloves.

May 15th, 2005, 04:26 PM
Well, I've been using the "drop" and "leave it" commands - which he does know and will sometimes do. Sometimes, though, he just will not drop it so I open his mouth and dig it out. I watch him all the time and try to be diligent in policing what goes into his stomach but when out and about at the Beach, there are times when he gets far enough away that I can't do anything. I've tried him on a high-fibre diet to make him feel fuller and I am now trying a raw meat supplement in the hopes it will satisfy whatever craving causes him to eat this stuff. So, using the suggestions made and adding my own - I'll keep the diet going but will also muzzle him if he does not drop the item and leave it. I've found with Bobby that praise and a cookie for something like this will cause him to do it - just so gets the praise and cookie! He is a very intelligent little fellow!

Any more advice and suggestions are sure welcome!

May 15th, 2005, 08:52 PM
I don't think it has anything to do with the diet. I think you have to just never let him win with the leave it and drop it commands. If he gets too far, put him on a long rope and tug him to you when he gets something in his mouth. Boo eats everything. EVERYTHING. I have to keep an eye on him all the time. He knows "drop it", "don't touch it", "get away from there", "cut it out", "open" (to get the mouth open), "no eating", "I'm watching you", and of course "no"... He's stubborn but I give him one warning and if he doesn't stop, I go kick some a**. :) There has to always be consequences. I feel my doggies' freedom is not as important as their health...

May 15th, 2005, 09:08 PM
It probably doesn't have to do with his appetite. My dog sometimes doesn't eat treats/breakfast that I give him, but as soon as he gets outside he'll grab sticks and eat them.

When I first got him, he'd eat anything on our walks. He was abandoned and had no food for along time. After awhile he just stopped picking things up to eat them (except sticks). I would just try teaching "leave it" or "drop" and maybe even teaching him "no", meaning stop. Or "come" might help. If you see something he might eat, just call him over and then direct him in a different way. Whatever you do, praise him a lot if he doesn't touch it. :)

Maybe try walking him along the beach on his leash (for a couple walks - I understand the freedom thing as well) and look for something he might eat. Try and get close to it so he can see it, but so you get to it first. When he reaches for it, put your foot on it and say "no" in a firm, but not loud, voice. When he sits or looks at you, praise him.

My two cents. :D

May 17th, 2005, 10:48 PM
If you are consistent and keep saying "no" even when he looks like he's even thinking about picking something up, he will eventually stop eating weird things. You just have a very inquisitive dog. It will probably take a couple of years before he completely stops eating weird non-food objects.

Speaking of gross things, I have to dig Goose poo out of my dog's mouth. It's absolutely the most disgusting thing in the world. I've also had to pull out a telephone cord--after which she promptly threw up her breakfast. I've pulled out sponge bud earphone covers, cotton balls, tissue, paper towels, large amounts of stuffing from various stuffed animals, the sound chip from a greeting card, and best of all, a dead baby bird carcass with maggots and everything!!!!!!

May 18th, 2005, 10:48 AM
My eskimo eats everything too. I too had to pull a dead baby duck out of her mouth once. It was NOT a pleasant experience. We've worked very hard on the leave it command and she's almost got it down. But the problem we have is when she actually does get something its very hard to get it back. I'm trying to teach her "give it" which seams to work sometimes. I don't know how to stop her from eating things altogether. I just have to keep an eye out for everything on our walks. Especially kleenex, she seems to have a special love for that.

May 18th, 2005, 11:55 AM
katy82 - There is someting about Eskies and Kleenex, flying paper of all sorts and Q-tips. I am going to buy a big box of latex gloves. Since the hamburger event my pup has been more difficult about letting go. He has always been worse with my husband - it is a respect thing - dog loves me more - and if he didn't want to give it up would just sit with jaws clenched. Now after hamburger incident and my husband walking him over weekend, he picks up somethings, looks guilty and somersaults to try and prevent me from getting it. He is better today than yesterday but by weekend when husband is home will revert. A basket muzzle may be required as a "threat" - I am sure he is worried!

May 18th, 2005, 12:43 PM
Welcome to my world! Diamond is a walking stomach if she finds something she thinks she can's gone in a flash.

It's part of belonging to a dog. Teach "leave it" or "drop" and do it with everything, at various times. As the dog gets better with that command, try it with a favorite food. I can drop cheese in front of Diamond, and she won't touch it if I tell her not to. Mind you, if she's out in the school field... anything the students drop on the ground is fair game! She ate the most disgusting "muffin" type thing once. It smelled so gross....but she loved it!!! :yuck: Dogs...go figure! :D

May 18th, 2005, 09:42 PM
It sure is nice to know that Bobby isn't the only one who eats disgusting things! And, yes - it is gross pulling some of the stuff out of his mouth! I'm diligent in watching him and, following the advice of several people from here, I first say "No" when he starts to get interested in it, then "drop" if he picks it up - today he nosed a dead crab and responded to my "No" then he wandered a bit and came back to it and picked it up - I said "No" but he picked it up anyway, then, when I said "Drop" - HE DID IT! The little darlin'...
I do believe now that being diligent is the only way and it may take a while but it will mean years of him being able to run free without fear of downing such awful (to me) stuff! I tried using the muzzle when he ignored my "Drop" command but it only frustrates him - he still wants it and will try and try to get it. I figure that isn't fair so the muzzle has gone by the wayside.
THanks to everyone who posted suggestions - it has been very helpful...

May 18th, 2005, 09:50 PM
Dogs by nature are scavengers, so it isn't appetite that drives them to eat gross's instinct.

If you have taught your dog the Leave it/Drop it command.... AND you have given that command while your dog was off leash and the dog refused...... TOO LATE! They have learned that obedience to that command is only warranted when/if you can reach/catch them before they manage to swallow said 'gross object'

If you are to give the Leave it command, use it ONLY when on leash and you can enforce and correct it.

To work with your dog off leash, I suggest an E-collar. There are many types available that have different ranges of stimulation. Your dog is a Golden?? Should be very responsive to low levels of stimulation. If you want to walk your dog on the beach offleash, I suggest getting one and working the dog with it around the yard to aquaint the dog with the feeling and what you are expecting before you take it to the beach.
Good Luck :D