How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Undesirable Items on Your Walks
7 July, 2014

Most dogs are good eaters with a nice appetite and are open to most type of food.  They also love to suck on bones, or even nibble out of their Kong toy all day long.  Yet, some dogs may develop a habit or pattern of eating things that are bad for them and can ultimately be dangerous.

Some dogs like pens and coins

For instance, some dogs like to eat items such as pens, nickels, gum, and even socks. Dogs also eat grass, lick water from puddles, and pick up things as they walk around. If you have a dog that seems to have a bad habit of eating these bad items and other random objects, it may be because your dog is exploring and using his or her sense of smell and then taste to discover the world around her, especially if you have moved to a new environment.

Obviously, it can be dangerous though, as some items are poisonous (like ant bait) and others will give your dog an upset stomach. To change this behavior, you’ll need to tempt your dog with something more attractive than cigarette butts and random pieces of food found on the ground if he is of the exploring type.

Bring treats and toys with you on your walks

Bring treats with you on your walks and if your dog starts to steer you towards a patch of grass or anything on the ground that could be bad for her, tempt her with a treat instead and continue walking.  Have your treat ready to go so you can give it to him or her.

You can also bring along a toy especially if you are trying to watch your dog’s diet. A squeaky toy or a ball may keep your dog distracted. When he or she’s about to dive for something, squeak the toy or if your dog wants to, let her carry it on her walk.

Choose your walk accordingly

Plan ahead and try to avoid walking down blocks where pieces of discarded items (that your dog gravitates towards) might be on the ground such as schools, restaurants, bars, and picnic areas. People often smoke outside of office buildings.  Or if there is a particular path that you know your dog likes to stop and eat their grass or something undesirable, find a new path.

Make sure your dog knows the ‘leave it” command

It’s important (for many reasons) teach your dog the command, “Leave it!”  If your dog goes for the undesirable item, you can use the command and make sure he or she drops the item. And, always be sure to pet your dog and reinforce the positive behavior with love and a kind voice..

Watch for the signs when your dog is going for the bad items

Make sure you recognize the signs that your dog is about to dive and grab something that is bad for her. Some dogs will go into a pounce pose where they lower their head and raise their butts, while others will keep their nose to the ground and not watch where you both are walking. Try to break them of this mentality and get them interested in the path you’re taking, not the items along the way.  You can also try to pick up into a jog when they start to go off to an undesirable place and keep them going and difficult to stop.

If you do your best to teach your dogs to choose the more appropriate things to chew and out of the habit of the unwanted items, your dog will come around.  With practice and positive reinforcement, your dogs will learn to choose the good and not the bad items for their health.

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