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My dog eat worms

June 13th, 2007, 06:12 PM
My puppy is a Upg & Cairn Terrier.

My problem is he likes to snif the grass and then by the time I say no and pick him up he already has a beetle or worm in is month.

Anytips on how to stop that.

June 14th, 2007, 08:13 AM
Good luck with that! Bugs and worms are tasty! Consider them extra protein, they're not going to hurt your pup :)

June 14th, 2007, 03:25 PM
First thing, don't pick him up, he may see this as a reward.
Think about it this way, if you have a toddler and they take something they're not supposed to, they would soon figure out that grabbing inappropriate things gets you to pick them up.

I would say you're going to have trouble if you don't notice him with the worm until he's already picked it up. In any case I would teach the "leave it" command, so if you notice him going for something you can say "leave it" and he'll stop. You also should teach "drop it", for when he already has grabbed something and needs to let go. This may take awhile to teach him since to him eating worms is tasty, which is self rewarding.

For "leave it", when he goes to pick up something say "leave it", get his attention by gently correcting with the leash and/or clapping your hands loudly or making any other noise that will get his attention. Once you have his attention praise him heavily, say "GOOD DOG!" in excited voice, pet him, tell him what a good boy he is, make it sound very exciting.
You can also reward with treats if you choose to do so. As long as he realizes that NOT picking up the inappropriate item gets him more attention, praise, and rewards he will soon learn that following the command is a better option.

For the "drop it" command you are going to have to practice with less desireable items, but still things that he likes to pick up. If you only wait until he is trying to eat the worm to practice "drop it" you'll get nowhere since he's very unlikely to drop the worm and will probably just swallow it.
A toy would be a good thing to practice with since it's not something he can swallow. You can either use treats or another toy to practice "drop it".

Either hand your dog a desireable toy or throw him one.
Once the toy is in his mouth, say "drop it" and offer something that is more desireable, either a favorite toy of his or a treat. When he drops the toy, say "GOOD BOY!" and either give him the other toy or the treat, all the while petting and praising him excitedly.
Once he has the "drop it" command down with the original toy, start moving to harder items, perhaps rawhides, flavored chew toys, something that he can't swallow but he won't be as likely to want to let go. Eventually you can move to harder things, such as treats. ALWAYS make sure you reward him with something that he likes much better than the item you are telling him to release. For instance, if you tell him to drop a piece of a steak, but offer him a dog biscuit he is not likely to comply.

Also, until he has these commands down I would keep him on leash. It will be impossible to teach either command if he can run away or avoid you in any way.

As bendyfoot mentioned, worms aren't in any way harmful to your dog, but the main thing is that he should know to follow both of these commands. One day he may decide to pick up something that IS harmful, and that is when you'll have problems.