Display until March 24, 2015
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DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My dog “Bandit” will eat anything he finds on our daily walks. He’s really fast, and by the time I try to stop him he usually has it in his mouth. He will not follow my command to drop it. Yesterday, he snapped up a pork chop bone that had fallen from our neighbor’s trash can, and I could not pry it from his teeth. He ended up chewing it to splinters, which I know is really dangerous. How can I stop him? — Gayle in Winter Garden, Florida
DEAR GAYLE: You’ll have to work hard on his basic obedience training, and reinforce the “leave it” command. This can take awhile and be especially frustrating with strong-willed dogs, but as you know, the consequences of eating unknown stuff off the ground can be deadly.
Not to alarm those who are new to the dog training game: Dogs often eat things we would never come close to as humans, and most of the time these things pass through their systems with little to no trouble. But a splintered chicken bone or a piece of cloth — these can cause a lot of problems with the digestive system and send your pet to the emergency veterinarian.
During his refresher training, keep Bandit on the leash during your walk and when training. Work on the “sit” command. Dr. Sophia Yin recommends treat-based training as you move into the “leave it” command training. While the process would take too long to explain here, you can find details at her website: drsophiayin.com. Search for: Dogs Who Eat Things Off the Ground.
Remember to work with Bandit in a calm manner, away from other dogs and distractions.
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