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Clay and Grass Lover

Tali
August 10th, 2008, 12:52 PM
Hi,
My 8month old Labrador is difficult to leash-train since she always has her nose on the ground and biting chunks of clay or tuffs of grass leftover by the lawnmower. I can't seem to correct her of it. Is she missing something in her diet ? Will she out-grow this ? Sometimes her stools even have a dark green colour. How often should she be let out to do her business ? I never know if she just wants to go out to chew grass or if she really needs to go, Thanks for any comments.

Tali

SnowDancer
August 11th, 2008, 11:05 AM
My Eskimo is 4 years and 4 months and still eats everything in his sight - grass, clay, bark - you name it. He has an excellent diet - he is just a "hoover" - so at this point I don't think at this point my guy is ever going to outgrow it. Hopefully you will have better luck. I particularly hate those large clumps of cut grass which he can spot everywhere and lurches to grab. He also loves to chew off the tops of weeds that are sprouting from nearly lawn we pass - of course the weeds are so big they are laying on the sidewalk so he is just doing his civic duty.

Gail P
August 11th, 2008, 08:45 PM
Is she getting sick from it, or having loose stools? If it's not affecting her badly I wouldn't worry too much about it. One of my dogs (one of 7) is a constant grazer when we're outside. I've never seen anything like it. We have a small farm and the dogs go out with me to do chores. When we're walking through the fields he heads for a patch of tall clover and grazes at the grass that is taller than the clover. The way he tears if off looks like a goat or sheep grazing. When the chicken coop door gets opened he also rushes in there to grab any eggs that are on the floor. Eggs and grass, nice diet. :crazy: Of course, he is on a diet and thinks I'm starving him, so maybe that's why he's started grazing :laughing: It doesn't make him sick or affect his stools so I figure I can allow him his little eccentricity.

If you want to make her stop, you could try taking a favourite toy when you go outside and distract her with that when she shows interest in the grass clumps. When she switches her focus from the grass to the toy praise her and initiate play. Clicker training might help too. When she shows interest in the grass, call her name and if she looks to you click and treat. As she gets better at that you could start asking for some other behaviour (like sit, lie down etc.) Many clicker trained dogs seem to keep their focus totally on their owner/handler. Of course, if you're taking her out to potty you don't want it to turn into a play/training session, you want her to get her business done quickly so if you do that on leash and keep her in an area that's clear of the clumps that should help.

As for clay, sometimes animals will eat that if they've gotten into something they shouldn't have. They seem to instinctively know that clay will help to absorb stuff in their gut. I remember seeing something on animal planet where a tazmanian devil at a zoo tried to snack on a cane toad (deadly poisonous) but realized it's mistake and began gorging on clay. The zoo vet had to operate but the tazzie devil did survive. I've heard of similar behaviour in other cases too.

Tali
August 12th, 2008, 06:27 AM
My Eskimo is 4 years and 4 months and still eats everything in his sight - grass, clay, bark - you name it. He has an excellent diet - he is just a "hoover" - so at this point I don't think at this point my guy is ever going to outgrow it. Hopefully you will have better luck. I particularly hate those large clumps of cut grass which he can spot everywhere and lurches to grab. He also loves to chew off the tops of weeds that are sprouting from nearly lawn we pass - of course the weeds are so big they are laying on the sidewalk so he is just doing his civic duty.

Thanks for the comments. Sounds like our dogs would get along fine. Nice to know my dog is not the only one.:

Tali
August 12th, 2008, 06:44 AM
Is she getting sick from it, or having loose stools? If it's not affecting her badly I wouldn't worry too much about it. One of my dogs (one of 7) is a constant grazer when we're outside. I've never seen anything like it. We have a small farm and the dogs go out with me to do chores. When we're walking through the fields he heads for a patch of tall clover and grazes at the grass that is taller than the clover. The way he tears if off looks like a goat or sheep grazing. When the chicken coop door gets opened he also rushes in there to grab any eggs that are on the floor. Eggs and grass, nice diet. :crazy: Of course, he is on a diet and thinks I'm starving him, so maybe that's why he's started grazing :laughing: It doesn't make him sick or affect his stools so I figure I can allow him his little eccentricity.

If you want to make her stop, you could try taking a favourite toy when you go outside and distract her with that when she shows interest in the grass clumps. When she switches her focus from the grass to the toy praise her and initiate play. Clicker training might help too. When she shows interest in the grass, call her name and if she looks to you click and treat. As she gets better at that you could start asking for some other behaviour (like sit, lie down etc.) Many clicker trained dogs seem to keep their focus totally on their owner/handler. Of course, if you're taking her out to potty you don't want it to turn into a play/training session, you want her to get her business done quickly so if you do that on leash and keep her in an area that's clear of the clumps that should help.

As for clay, sometimes animals will eat that if they've gotten into something they shouldn't have. They seem to instinctively know that clay will help to absorb stuff in their gut. I remember seeing something on animal planet where a tazmanian devil at a zoo tried to snack on a cane toad (deadly poisonous) but realized it's mistake and began gorging on clay. The zoo vet had to operate but the tazzie devil did survive. I've heard of similar behaviour in other cases too.



Thanks for the suggestions. Now that I know she's normal I'll give her some slack. I don't think she's gotten sick from grass gorging. I was worried about the pollutant residue from the lawnmower. I know that grass and clay can
be beneficial and that dogs and cats self-medicate themselves but I was worried about the amount ingested. I've even given her clay ( green clay from health food store) mixed in with plain rice when she had the runs and it worked almost immediately. I guess I just don't trust the possible toxicity of the grass and soil surrounding us. Our polluting may of life has, in my opinion, a negative impact on our pets life expectancy. We have to be vigilant !

Gail P
August 12th, 2008, 12:54 PM
I was worried about the pollutant residue from the lawnmower.

I guess I just don't trust the possible toxicity of the grass and soil surrounding us. Our polluting may of life has, in my opinion, a negative impact on our pets life expectancy. We have to be vigilant !

Very true, I don't blame you one bit. Especially if the grass has been treated with herbicides or anything.