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Gomez the Scavenger... How do I stop him??

August 11th, 2005, 07:53 AM
We have been having a problem with Gomez for a while now, and have tried various things all to no avail....

When we take him on his walks he is a little hoover, sometimes he doesn't take more than 5-10 strides before he makes a lunge for a tissues, gum, stick, rock, crumpled paper, food wrapper, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, feathers, sometimes even just a spot of dried paint on the floor is enough to get his attention in the hoovering department...

In the park sometimes all he wants to do is sit and chew sticks (we don't let him) - the problem with all this hoovering is that he swallows everything we don't catch, and then his poor little bowels suffer a bit...

We walk him on a short leash and manage to catch 90% of what he tries to go for, and when we don't, we pick him up and pull the thing out of his mouth (ouch...) but we don't always get it, he is FAST!

We try keeping his attention during the walks, sometimes it works, we try teaching "leave it" at every opportunity and giving a treat when he does, but that doesn't always work....

Short of getting him a little muzzle, is there something else we can try?


Lucky Rescue
August 11th, 2005, 07:56 AM
How old is Gomez (cute name!) and how exactly are you teaching "Leave it"?

August 11th, 2005, 08:09 AM
Gomez is 7 months old -

Inside the house we're doing leave it by playing - we throw a ball, when he brings it back he just wants to play with it, and not let go, so we say leave-it, offer another toy and treat when he drops it - outside we treat him when he does "leave-it" whatever it is....

He's Gomez b/c he looks a lot like John Astin.... ;)

August 11th, 2005, 08:22 AM
Inside the house we're doing leave it by playing - we throw a ball, when he brings it back he just wants to play with it, and not let go, so we say leave-it, offer another toy and treat when he drops it - outside we treat him when he does "leave-it" whatever it is....

he may be confused. if he has a toy and won't let go, try DROP IT, not "leave it". the trading for another toy or treat is good for drop it. We are teaching our 5mth pup leave it.. we use high value objects, such as toys he's not allowed to play w/ all the time, tissue box, crumpled up paper towels, etc... put the object on the floor, and walk the pup up to it ON leash. say LEAVE IT when he fixates on the object, and lure him away with a treat. if he already has the object, it's no longer LEAVE IT, it's a DROP IT.

August 12th, 2005, 02:57 PM
Thanks for the help Jessi76, we'll try that, I would hate to get a mini-muzzle for the boy, but he gets himself sick so often...

August 12th, 2005, 03:49 PM
Also, you could try to put a basket muzzle on him for walks. If anything, it will distract him just trying to remove that! LOL
But, seriously ... he's young and hasn't quite got the hang of the 'leave it' command.
Start small and remember to NEVER let him have the item he was told to leave. This is important because he will learn to anticipate the reward...and you want that to be coming from you, not the ground..ever!!
Good luck with the little guy :) it's challenging for the first 2 years then you finally get to see the fruits of your labours with a well trained, mannerly dog at your side.

August 12th, 2005, 06:03 PM
My Eskimo is also a Hoover - and a landscaper. He is now 16 months old and getting a "little" better. Depends on how important the item is to him. Nothing like a still warm hamburger wrapped in foil - he could see no reason to give it up. Then we have used tissue - my personal, non-favourite item. I now wear rubber gloves when walking him. He does understand the "Leave It" command and is getting pretty good except he does have his exceptions. But he will allow me to have my hands in his mouth and won't bite me while I am trying to get the item out. I have also considered the basket muzzle so we are in wait and see mode right now - but he sure wouldn't like it.

August 12th, 2005, 06:45 PM
You have been using leave it and just with a toy so now you need to learn a more stern command for him dropping other objects besides toys

I use OFF and I say it loud

SADIE OFF and every time he goes for something you say it BEFORE he goes for it, GOMEZ OFF!!

Repeat it until he lets it go or drops it! Then praise him for dropping it!

Sadie was bad with rocks as a puppy ran with them in her mouth and swallowed a dozen or more of which she puked up every night.

I got a squirt bottle and every time she went for the rock SADIE OFF and if she didnt' listen I'd say it louder and more stern along with a squirt of water.

She learned VERY quickly.

Try that hope it helps!! :D

August 16th, 2005, 06:29 AM
wjranch, snowdancer, luba: thanks so much for all your responses - we have gotten more strict in the past few days, following all your advices... "leave it" seems to be working a bit better, yesterday he even looked up at me when he encountered a piece of gum! And now I have seen him spit out a little crumpled up receipt (so very cute, patooei!)) and drop a little bit of stick...

I love the rubber glove idea! sometimes he collects stuff I can't even recognize, let alone want to touch... and yes, how well I know the used tissue bit... why why why used tissues??

I thought the hoovering was a function of him being so low to the ground, but if a husky is doing it, I guess it's just how they are...

And Luba (if you're still reading) we're going out to get a water pistol today!

Thanks all!

Dog Dancer
August 18th, 2005, 01:45 PM
When Halo was young she was a hoover too (we considered calling her hoover or Bounty (the quicker picker upper). Halo won out though (probably just as well). We did leave it also, but always had a pocket full of great treats (like Roll-Over or cut up hot dogs). As soon as she either looked to pick up or actually picked up an item we'd give the leave it command and offer her the treat. She had to drop the item to get the treat and she was VERY food motivated. I often wondered at a point if she picked things up just to get the treat. But like Gomez the patoui action of spitting it out was so funny. Everyone would laugh at her as her object would pop out of her mouth. It didn't take long and slowly we stopped with food rewards and mixed in praise. She even learned to drop the warm hamburger! Anyhow persevere, it will work. I like the squirt idea too. Good luck, keep it up.

August 18th, 2005, 02:00 PM
Thanks for the encouragement DogDancer! I can't tell you how much better I feel he is not an oddity!

Today tey were several patooies of sticks in the park! YEY! :thumbs up