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How do I stop my dog eating EVERYTHING?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by McBenson, Mar 23, 2011.


  1. McBenson

    McBenson PetForums Member

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    Hello

    My dog eats everything in site! Even poo whether it's her own or not, she's really not fussy. Today I had to fight he for the contents of my toddler's potty!
    How do I stop this behaviour? :confused:
     
  2. Helbo

    Helbo PetForums VIP

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    Are you sure that you're feeding your dog enough?

    Charlie went through a couple of days of eating his own poo in the middle of the night. But I adjusted his food and gave him a little supper and it fixed the problem.



    If it's a behavioural problem, rather than a dietary one, then the only thing I can suggest is that you take away anything that your dog can eat that they're not meant to and try to avert their attention onto things they can chew/eat and reward them with lots of praise for chewing them.
     
  3. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Assuming your dog's getting the recommended amount of daily food in enough meals depending on age as suggested by Helbo, I worry that this sounds like a game that can escalate to real confrontation if it has not already.

    So I hope you have trained basic obedience by positive reinforcement, so your dog sees you as a provider and that you have control of resources.

    Rather than "fight" the dog, which can only escalate unpleasantly, I would train a "Leave It!" by rewarding with food, when the dog backs off. For a while, you'll need to keep to hand training treats in a pouch, whilst you build up the credit in the "Leave It!" reinforcement piggy bank. If you find it hard to coordinate giving the reward soon enough in daily life, you might try making a click yourself, or marking with a happy "yes!" to indicate a reward is on it's way.

    The puppy training blog mentioned today, has a reference to a game to teach impulse control which seems designed to avoid the behaviour you see Its Yer Choice

    It's generally recognised to, that it's wise to at times, add to the food bowl after the dog's eating, or the owner to feed by hand, so people are providers and them around food bowl is seen as a good thing.
     
  4. McBenson

    McBenson PetForums Member

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    She has a bowl of dry food which is topped up as required and 1 wet feed a day. Plus she gets food/treats in a kong and training treats through the day.

    We've only had her a few weeks and we are working on the rewards based training. The leave command is one we have spent the most time on because it covers alot of ground but she's very excitable and gets distracted quickly. She has had no basic training before coming to us and she is 2 yrs old.

    We are looking for a local training class for us all to learn a bit more but I work shifts so it's difficult to find one to suit. I'll take some holiday time to get it sorted.

    We don't leave anything lying around for her and my house has never been tidier because she runs off with shoes, toys, clothes...... It's just at the moment I am potty training and with all the will in the world I cannot be in every room at the same time!

    I'll spend more time on the training and hope it works. Thanks for your help :)
     
  5. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    It sounds like you're basically doing great and are on the right track; I'm sure you'll get the penny to drop and have a calmer dog soon enough with persistence in a few weeks. Once you see improvment it's a big relief, though the invevitiable slip ups are frustrating.

    I don't know what other people will think, but topping the bowl up, rather than set meal times, seems to muddy the message to me. By being able to feed all the time, you're weakening the rewards you're offering for good behaviour. You get advised not to feed your dog, for hours before obedience classes for example, so they're keen to work for tit bits. I would tend to use the Kong for when you need a good distraction, or if going out to relieve boredom. I used a puzzle feeder during puppy hood lots for example. Generally treats during training (and you're really training all the time passively not just when you have an active set session), need to be earned rather than be given to try to buy affection.

    Often someone will provide a link to "NILIF" with unruly dogs, and tripod hates food bowls altogether.

    Quite a few of the terriers I meet, like the tennis-skittle tug toy on a rope made by Kong, that I can use as lure dragging on ground, like it was a rodent and then they can attack it and play tug. If you make dropping the toy, and waiting as part of the game you build impulse control what lfl calls "Tug of Peace". The key is avoiding over-excitment during the tug game, whilst providing an outlet for the breeds urges.
     
    #5 RobD-BCactive, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  6. keirk

    keirk PetForums Member

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    You need to set her up so that she can only succeed - by managing her access to things she might eat rather than constantly having to tell her off for getting into things.

    Do you have a crate that you could put her in when the child is on the potty?
     
  7. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That's a good point keirk's made, if you can reduce opportunity to go wrong for a while, then you have greater chance to replace the unwanted behaviour, with a solid stay-down on a mat for example, as suggested by tripod in the recent "Counter Surfing" thread.

    If you can train a positive behaviour that's incompatible with the unwanted scavenging, then you don't have to rely on restraint or removal of opportunity for ever.
     
  8. Beardy

    Beardy PetForums Member

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    But you can shut her in the kitchen & not let her near the potty until you have mastered the 'leave it' command. I would use baby gates & keep her away from the potty.

    To teach 'leave it', hold out your hand with a tasty treat. If your dog approaches the treat & tries to take it, close your hand & tell her to 'leave it'. Carry on closing your hand & wait until she stops trying to get it & then tell her to 'take it' & let her have it. I had to teach this to my whippet, he loves my GSD'S poo! He never eats his own, they are fed the same diet too. It does work, but I give the command 'leave it', get his attention, reward him & then pick up!

    Good luck.
     
  9. McBenson

    McBenson PetForums Member

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    I do keep her in the kitchen when I'm occupied and can't keep an eye on her. We have baby gates everywhere so that's ok.

    I've been putting a treat on the floor and saying "leave" then when she goes for it I say "leave" again and take it away until the point where she does leave and then I give it to her with a big praise. It has worked so far but I can't keep her locked away all day and my son doesn't tell me when he's going for the potty - he just goes. We've only been potty training 3 days so I need to leave it down for him to get access to it and if I'm in another room then I can't see what he's doing.

    I don't have time to follow my child round all day and I do need bathroom breaks myself.;) Hopefully the potty thing won't last too long and we will move on to the toilet in a week or so.

    I had heard somewhere that feeding dogs pineapple would stop them eating their own poo and was wondering if that was just urban myth?

    I have started taking her bowl away so it's not down all day and she has set feeding times. I only really started because that's what they had done in the rescue centre and I didn't want to upset her routine too much but she has settled in more now so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. I must say that it's only been 1 day doing that and she seems a little calmer and more compliant so I will keep it up.
     
  10. Shrap

    Shrap PetForums VIP

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    Just out of interest, what are you feeding her?
    Sounds like you're on the right track with behaviour modification though :D
     
  11. McBenson

    McBenson PetForums Member

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    Royal Canin complete for Labrador in the morning and a can of winalot mixed with the complete food in the evening
     
  12. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Exactly, it is just harder when you have to mange 2 things at once, it sounds like time and persistence will sort this.
    I've seen that here in forum and from other sources like TV ("If you can get yout dog to eat pineapple chunks, they cause the poo to smell unpleasant to the dog"). I cannot remember anyone reporting back, saying it worked for them as a solution though.
    If that's helping, then tripod's suggestions on food rewards in this thread here http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-training-behaviour/153793-dunbar-article-force-dog-training.html#post2298061 might be of value.

    Basically your dog's need for activity can be satisfied by getting the food from puzzle toys and another part of the ration earnt whilst working with you.
     
  13. leashedForLife

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    umbilical the dog to U using a 6-ft leash, so that where U go, the dog goes; that way nothing can
    happen accidentally, where the toddler is on the potty & U do not know it, & the dog has opportunity to err.
    it is hands-free, so U don't have to hold the leash: depending on the height of the dog & Ur waist-size
    determines how best to attach the dog - A, run the leash behind one's back, drop the clip thru the wrist-loop
    on one side, clip the free-hanging clip to the dog.
    B, run the wrist-loop over a BELT, position it on the preferred side, buckle the belt - clip the free-end to the dog.

    it's all about preventing the chance to make mistakes, while rewarding the desired behavior.
     
  14. McBenson

    McBenson PetForums Member

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    I have a horse leader which is about 6 foot so I'll give that a go. Thanks
     
  15. Beardy

    Beardy PetForums Member

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    You should not be feeding a can of dog food with complete food, that's why it's called complete. If you need to add a bit of tinned food, just add a small amount with a bit of hot water to make a bit of gravy. If she will eat it dry, feed it dry. Canned dog meat is designed to be fed with biscuit, not complete food. You are feeding her far too much protein.
     
  16. Beardy

    Beardy PetForums Member

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    :thumbup1:
     
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