Dogs were born to be scavengers. There’s no getting around that. Some dogs will show their scavenging skills a little more than others and this can be scary when your dog starts eating things that can put them in danger.
Swallowing certain items can lead to intestinal blockage or a severe sickness and this means an expensive vet bill.
You can’t control littering and what nature puts on the ground. This means things like chicken bones, fast food wrappers, pizza boxes, straws, cat poop, and other mysterious items will almost always be seen on a walk with your dog. With all these different things, you may ask what can you do to stop your dog from eating all these different items?
If your dog is prone to scavenging, here are some ways you can stop them from eating everything they see.
Teaching your dog to “leave it” is a good way to let them know that they aren’t supposed to pick up an item. For this to work, you need them to respond to the cue in all situations. You may have tried this already and found that it doesn’t work when they lay their eyes on an item or piece of food they really want. This process does take time as it can be almost impossible to make a dog resist their scavenging urges.
This is where you must “proof the cue”. Teaching your dog to do something is one thing but making sure they do it no matter what environment they’re in and what treasure awaits them. Working with a professional dog trainer is the best way to get your dog’s “leave it” at its best.
The next time you go for a walk and there are distracting items around, make it worth their while to check in with you. When your dog looks like he’s going to eat something, give them a small piece of meat or a bone to chew. Offering good items in a world filled with random items on the ground can entice them to look at you more often.
This trick will also get your dog to respond to “watch” even better since they think a treat is coming.
Everywhere you go there will be items your dog is interested in, but some areas will be better than others. Find an area that has less trash and other dangers. Try to avoid areas with toxic items altogether such as hickory nuts and pecans. Walking on a quiet road is a good way to avoid hidden treasures found in bushes and lawns.
Slow feeding bowls help slow your dog’s eating down thanks to protrusions in the bowl. These protrusions make your dog eat slower and promote mental stimulation. This can help on walks as your dog may think more before eating something.
Teach your dog to use their noses with these games. Try “Find It” where you tell your dog to stay and then hide a treat that they must find. The next is “Which Hand” where you hide a treat in one hand and see if your dog can guess which hand it is in.
Preventing your dog from eating everything can be a daunting task. They’ll always be enticed when there is a treasure right beneath their nose, the key is being patient and sticking to a training plan. If you’re having trouble with your dog eating everything, Giving a Dog a Bone can help with our specialized dog training programs. We’ll make sure your dog doesn’t continue the same bad habits. Visit our contact page today to schedule an appointment.