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Shih Tzu puppy eating stones

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Rosalind57, Nov 2, 2020.


  1. Rosalind57

    Rosalind57 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone. Our 4 month old shih tzu puppy Max is constantly picking up stones, sticks and rubbish whilst outside. This is both out in the garden and going for walks. He is so near the ground he has got them in his mouth before we can stop him. Walks are becoming a nightmare as we try to drag him away or get his mouth open. We have already had one expensive trip to the vet when he couldn't pass a stone and tonight he has been sick 5 times, bringing back stones. We are despairing. Would a muzzle help? Any thoughts/advice welcome.
     
  2. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel Banned

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    A muzzle would definitely help but your pup will need to be conditioned to wear one. @Torin. Is really knowlegable about this. @JoanneF also conditioned her dog to a muzzle i believe.

    Then if you can work on getting your pup's focus on you when you are out - maybe by keeping very high value treats (tiny bits sausage or chicken) and feed them in rapid succession - then run away from your pup fast so he has to chase you - and rapidly treat treat treat again.


    Could you walk anywhere with fewer stones?

    You could even carry a tube of primula and get his nose fixed on that.
     
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  3. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel Banned

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    Ps - you will need to do focus exercises in your house first, then move to garden before taking it 'on the road'
     
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  4. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    Using the Muzzle Up Project resources is probably your best (now that they've tidied up their website to include a clear resources page) :)
    https://muzzleupproject.com/muzzle-training/

    It is pretty challenging to find exercise appropriate muzzles for small dogs though, even adult-sized small dogs let alone puppies. Most don't have the basket depth to allow them to open their mouth wide enough to pant if needed. A lot of the cheaper ones actually get narrower towards the nose, when in reality they need to get wider the further away from the skull because of how the hinge of the jaw works.

    eta - If he likes to carry things in his mouth perhaps you could teach him to carry a toy instead?
     
    #4 Torin., Nov 2, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
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  5. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    Yes, I needed to train my dog to wear a muzzle before we went on a ferry, where it was compulsory for dogs to be muzzled. You can't just put it on the dog and expect him to be ok with it, take plenty of time in the house to get him accustomed to it. I used Primula squeezy cheese smeared on the muzzle and let my dog lick it off. When he was getting excited when he saw the muzzle I'd hold it over his snout and gradually worked through the stages of letting him feel the weight before fastening it for a second or two. Then we built up time and added in walking with it on.

    I got the Baskerville (it is important to use an open basket style) but it was quite heavy and if I had needed to be used more than just that once, I'd have replaced it with a lighter one. You may need to search around for one suitable for a flatter faced dog.
     
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  6. Rosalind57

    Rosalind57 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for all the replies and ideas.. I think I might try taking the Primula cheese with us on his walks and see how that works. Also might try taking a toy with us. If these don't work I'll try the Baskerville muzzle. Thanks again!
     
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  7. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    I don’t think a Baskerville will work on a Shih Tzu. I’m no expert but I think you’ll need a muzzle designed for dogs with short snouts.
     
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  8. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    Nose length isn't such an issue with muzzle fit unless you've got a super flat-faced dog. In that assuming you introduce the muzzle slowly and appropriately, it doesn't really matter if there's extra length between the dog's nose and the end of the muzzle. In fact this may be an extra benefit for a scavenging dog as the end of the muzzle can touch the floor while the dog's mouth is nowhere near.

    What matters more from a fit pov, with both small dogs and brachy dogs having fewer commercial options, is the muzzle having a big enough circumference, as I explained about above. This is an issue in small dogs Vs muzzle downsizing anyway, but also brachy dogs do tend to have a wider base than similar-sized dogs with more muzzle length, so the issue gets compounded.

    Sort of analogy - I have stumpy toes, so the widest part of my feet is further forwards than average. I often buy shoes that are a half or full size longer than my feet. Once I learn that there's the extra length of space I'm fine. But not all shoes a size up fit me still, because some are still too narrow in the circumference to fit the width of my feet.

    But yeah, I wouldn't expect a Baskerville Ultra (the normal ones definitely aren't exercise suitable) to fit, but for different reasons.
     
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  9. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    Good points - thank you. (I do learn a lot from this group :)). I’ve never had to deal with muzzles, so it is much appreciated.
     
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  10. Rosalind57

    Rosalind57 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks again Ian and Torin.☺️
     
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  11. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel Banned

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    How are things going @Rosalind57 ? Yes, we are lucky to have torin and ian here; they are both super knowlegable:)
     
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