Dog eats everything from the floor: What to do about “garbage eaters”?
Your dog eats everything from the ground, what he finds on the way so, including garbage, feces, and others? This behavior is normal for dogs to a certain extent, but it can also be dangerous. After all, not everything found on the street and in the bushes is always good for the body. With the help of conditioning, you can get your four-legged friend out of the habit of eating everything.
Germs and worms, splinters, nails, toxic ingredients, and poison bait – the potential dangers for dogs that eat anything from the ground outside are great. Behind the behavior is usually just the instinctive curiosity of dogs. However, in some cases, a disease or deficiency symptoms can also be responsible for the “garbage-eater syndrome.” In case of doubt, you should consult a veterinarian to clarify the cause of eating from the floor.
Dog eats everything from the floor: Weaning off through gradual conditioning.
To stop omnivorous eating, dog owners don’t have to resort to muzzling right away. The alternative is “conditioning.” So if you hear “Help, my dog eats everything on the floor,” you should train him to step by step to leave found objects lying around.
Dogs are opportunists: Your pelt-nose must understand that it has advantages for him to leave the half-decayed bird or the garbage bag. So what exactly do pet owners do about the dog eating everything off the floor? They offer him a better alternative!
If you see your four-legged friend approaching an object on the floor and possibly already sniffing it, you stop him by blocking the leash (ideal: dragline and harness) and a trained signal word such as a clear “no” or “fie.” In response to the command, your dog lets go of the object without pulling or tugging and turn his attention to you? Wonderful! Please take advantage of this moment and hand him a dog treat or praise him in some other way. This way, over time, your pet will understand that not picking up litter and other sources of danger is rewarding.
What to do if the dog eats everything off the floor? Targeted training helps
The method mentioned above is primarily intended for when your dog is already about to gobble down litter lying around. However, you can also train the conditioning consciously and in a safe environment: This way, your pelt-nose learns the correct behavior already before the temptation of absolute garbage.
This training method is all about provoking the wrong behavior, so to speak: Prepare a path with some bait, i.e., various (of course harmless) objects such as pieces of dry food. Then walk the prepared path with your dog.
It won’t take long for your “garbage-eater” to spot your bait. If he wants to snatch at it, keep him from doing so with commands and a gentle leash squeeze if necessary, and reward him with exuberant praise or a treat when he lets go of the bait. By the way, a method similar to the one described here is classically part of anti-poison bait training.
It will take a few hours of training before your dog is conditioned not to eat everything off the ground. As usual in dog training, be patient and take it one step at a time. If you have any difficulties, you can consult an experienced dog trainer.