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Please help :( Indiscriminate eating

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by Michele83, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. Michele83

    Michele83 Active Member Registered

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    I am totally at my wits’ end with Piccolo’s indiscriminate eating when we’re out on walks :( I don’t know what to do and this morning I have really hit rock bottom. Since I last posted about it cara machon kindly sent me a muzzle, which I have been using for the last month. It really helped as it prevented her from picking up 80% of things. She is now 5.5 months old and since we’ve been using it for a month I’ve started experimenting with taking it off recently. She is absolutely terrible. She has picked up 3 pieces of gum in the last couple of days, and this morning she actually ate some. I tried to take it out of her mouth but she struggled away and in that moment she swallowed it. Now I’m monitoring her closely as I know about xylitol and other risks.

    Please please please can anyone give me hope on this matter? :( Since I posted about it I've worked hard on ‘leave it’ training. This isn’t a problem. She is actually very good at ‘leave it’, for a puppy. The problem is that ‘leave it’ is a completely inadequate solution. For starters, even on the short lead, the moment between your puppy smelling something they want to eat and eating it is non-existent. It is instantaneous. It is not enough time to 1) notice she’s going to eat something, and 2) say ‘leave it’, not that she’d pay attention by that time anyway. Even if my eyes are glued to her mouth for the whole walk - which they can never be 100% because I need to see where I’m going - it is still impossible to prevent this behaviour with ‘leave it’. It only works if you spot the thing before she does, or if she’s giving it a really good sniff first before wolfing it down.

    And that’s on the short lead! I use a long lead in the field to give her better exercise – this makes it even more impossible to catch her in the act. And off-lead!? That’s the biggest laugh of all. She loves to play fetch, she’s really good at it and it’s a great way to exercise a whippet so she can have a bit of a sprint. But I obviously can’t do this if she’s eating everything, or if she’s wearing a muzzle.

    Someone please tell me this is usually a phase and they grow out of it :( I really don’t want her wearing a muzzle forever – I can’t imagine not being able to let her off the lead, or to play fetch.

    I'm honestly at my lowest ebb with this. This morning, for the FIRST time ever, I looked at her and thought 'life would be better without you' :( And I know it's just because I'm angry and upset, but I really feel like I can't handle it anymore.

    She is fed high quality dry food at home (Eden) and she always eats all of it. I am feeding her the amount as directed by their website. She also has treats during the day, and a spoonful of probiotic yoghurt every day, as recommended by someone on here.
     
  2. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    How frustrating for you but don’t give up.

    If it’s any consolation my lab was an absolute nightmare for eating when he was a pup (he still is now if he thinks it’s worth the effort!)

    If we didn’t catch him in time he would be off eating all the fisherman’s bait or a families picnic. We spent numerous trips at the vet where he had a bad stomach from eating something he shouldn’t!

    All I can say is, she will (should!) grow out of it..... eventually!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  3. Kara 1

    Kara 1 Active Member Registered

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    She may grow out of it But if she doesnt wearing a muzzle Isnt a Bad thing at least she will be able to go offlead without worrying about her eating something nasty ....ours wear muzzles offlead and they have a game of fetch whilst at home ....dont overthink things relax a bit more ...she is still a young pup ...look how toddlers stick everything in their mouths ...:emoji_dog2:
     
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  4. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    Agree with Kara 1, a good muzzle, ie one that alows panting etc, should be ok for a dog to wear whenever its off lead. And in my opinion a Whippet allowed freedom to run with a muzzle is better than one not allowed to do what it really wants by being on lead all the time.
     
  5. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    What the others have said - Jasper used to eat rotten windfall apples and acorns when he was young but he's grown out of it. He wears a muzzle the whole time and is absolutely fine in it - really, it is worth keeping her in a muzzle until she grows of this, to save your sanity, if nothing else!

    A training alternative to 'leave' is to train her to turn away from food (or what she regards as food) without prompting. It would go something like this - you have her on a lead/long line, a short distance from some food she can see and smell, but not reach. The instant she stops fixating on the food and turns to you, you praise (or click - this would be a good one for clicker training) and give her a treat that is better than the food on the ground. Eventually - in theory - when she sees something tasty on the ground, and before you've said anything, she will turn to you as she knows she will get something better.

    Would this work? To be honest, I have my doubts. But there's no harm in trying, and it may just pay off a little as she matures even if it's never going to work with a discarded chicken sandwich.

    We all have really dark days with pups - don't worry, it DOES get better!
     
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  6. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    Sometimes they will grow out of it and sometimes they wont. Maybe if you can stop batteling the muzzle and start using it as your safety net. Try teaching the leave it while she wears the muzzle if you see her showing interest in something and maybe just accept she is an eater plain and simple, its not the worst thing in the world to have to wear a muzzle.
     
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  7. Michele83

    Michele83 Active Member Registered

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    Thanks everyone, for the consolation. Perhaps that's what I needed, really. I think it's because everything seems a lot harder when you're on your own. Not just because you can't share the practical stuff, but because you can't share the psychological burden either. It's easier to relax if you know that you share the worry with someone else; everything seems a bit lighter and less consequential somehow. But alone it doesn't. I don't think I overthink things, but I may overfeel them, yes. Because it's all on me and I keep thinking . . . what have I done to myself.

    Anyway. Yes . . . if it carries on into adulthood I guess she will just have to wear a muzzle the whole time.

    Thanks Judy :) This is not a bad idea. I am sure I could train her on this in the garden but, like you, I have my doubts as to whether it would work on walks. But the goal of it is good i.e. getting them to choose not to eat it in the first place.
     
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  8. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    I hope this helps;

    If dogs don’t get enough of certain nutrients will resort to eating poo. A lack of vitamin B is often said to be a cause of Coprophagia. Nutritional deficiency is commonly believed to be one of the main reasons for poop eating. What food do you feed her dry or wet or both? She could have medical issues, especially in older dogs (I know she’s only young but I’m also informing people with older dogs that do this.) Such as intestinal problems. This could stimulate Coprophagia. Even overfeeding especially food with a high fat content can sometimes spark this behaviour (puppy food has a high fat content.)

    Eating faeces could aid food digestion if the dog hasn’t got good digestion. Dogs may eat poop to get attention, because the owners will shout or scold at the dog has eaten poop, which to the dog is a good thing. 'NaturVet Coprophagia Deterrent Time Release Tablets' These are slow release tablets given to a dog with its food. It is supposed to make the faeces distasteful. I cannot state that this works as I have never used it. This would be for dogs that were eating their own faeces. Some people put mustard on the faeces in the hope that it will deter the dog. One of the best treatments is to pick up the faeces when they do a poo. If you are worried take her to the vet, and see if they can do blood tests.

    The definitions: Autocoprophagia means eating its own faeces. Intraspecific Coprophagia means eating faeces from within its own species ie another dog. Interspecific Coprophagia
     
  9. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .


    I really wouldn’t fret about having her wear a basket-muzzle all the time when she’s on leash, or off-leash in an area that’s not been policed & isn’t known to be “safe”. :)

    If she is going to play fetch, IMO & IME, she needs to be in a fenced area that’s been toured for inedible hazards or former-foods / trash, such as chicken bones, burger ends, cigarette butts, etc.
    Yes, it’s a PITA, but it will save U massive vet bills, & the dog from exploratory abdominal surgery, so it’s well worth the time & trouble to put a muzzle on, or stringently police a fenced area.

    The other option is to put her on a long-line clipped to the CHEST of a well-fitted Y-harness, & every doggone time she drops her head on the outrun or the return for anything other than her retrieve item, use the long-line & tug her firmly to the side - not hard, no harsh jerk, but a quick, light tug to displace her front end slightly sideways.
    An aversive / ugly sound paired with the tug may help her to understand that “picking up random objects other than my ball / bumper/ other” is not a desired behavior, & it won’t lead to rewards.
    A verbal squawk like that of an angry parrot is one that i’ve used with many species - it doesn’t need to be loud, it’s an ugly noise that many animals immediately recognize as irritation & disapproval.

    - terry

    .
     
  10. Michele83

    Michele83 Active Member Registered

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    Thanks. This is true, I'll take your advice especially about the fetch thing. I was probably expecting too much from her too soon!

    Unfortunately I've already been doing this. She is mostly on a long line when we're in open areas and it's fitted to the front of her harness. It's simply impossible to notice every time she picks something up, because you're trying to see where you're going at the same time. When the dog is like mine and is picking stuff up constantly I just can't catch her in time.

    Also, the advice is also to carry on with 'leave it' training, but you can't do 'leave it' and also use the tug-on-harness method, because pulling her away from something negates the point of the 'leave it' command. As with most dog things issues, all the various options seem to contradict each other!
     
  11. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    Sorry, I meant to specify that she would *only* wear harness & long-line sans muzzle for one particular activity:
    Fetch.
    At any other time, she would be muzzled, except when in a fenced area that has been policed prior to removing her muzzle.

    U don’t need to “watch where yer going” when standing still, waiting while she runs out, picks up the fetch item, & runs in - U can focus entirely on Ur dog, & nothing else. :)
    Since U threw the fetch & saw it land, U should have a good idea of where she needs to bend down to pick it up; reaching for the ground anywhere else would result in a tug and a squawk.

    Does that sound more do-able?

    OTOH, if her swallowing inedibles is a symptom of anxiety- which it is, in some dogs- preventing the behavior by pulling her aside will only make the compulsion more intense,
    That’s not a bad thing, b/c if it leads to a diagnosis, anti-anxiety Rx can help.

    One of the many messed-up dogs who came thru PACC in Virginia was a Dalmatian with severe pica; when she was stressed, she would pick up & eat anything near her. She was a definite hazard to her own survival; once when her foster’s dogs had a minor spat, she ate hunks of ceiling tile that were stacked on the raised hearth, waiting to be installed. :eek:

    - terry

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