Do you have a dog that eats everything in front of its mouth like a vacuum cleaner? My Luna belongs to this kind. I can’t react as quickly as she swallows things. Sometimes it’s leftovers that she finds next to a garbage can, sometimes horse droppings. I always worry that she’ll catch poison bait or something else.
It can be very dangerous for a dog to eat whatever it finds. In this article, I will explain to you what options there are to prevent him from doing so.
What is a vacuum cleaner dog
This very figurative term already describes exactly what it is about. They are dogs that will eat anything on their way and will stop at nothing. They eat food and treats as well as other things that from our point of view are completely disgusting, for example animal or human feces.
When my dog enthusiastically eats a cowpat, it has unpleasant consequences for it and for me. It ends up throwing up or getting diarrhea. However, my dog has always been lucky so far, because she has never caught a poison bait.
This is how to keep your dog from eating whatever it finds
The first action you are likely to take is to scold your dog. That is understandable, but makes absolutely no sense. By yelling or punishing your dog, he will only learn the opposite. He will gobble up what he finds even faster in the future before you notice its behavior. From his point of view, what he eats is nothing bad. Some dogs also learn through punishment that they will secretly eat what it finds and others defend their discovery. That’s why you should never punish your your dog or yell at him.
If your dog is still a puppy, you should train him from the start not to pick up anything from the ground. Once your dog eats something it has found for the first time, it has already achieved initial success with this behavior. The more often he can act out this behavior, the more difficult it becomes to stop him from doing so again.
However, it doesn’t mean you can’t teach your adult dog anymore. it is important not to give him any sense of achievement and, if necessary, to muzzle your dog.
One way to stop your dog from eating what it finds is to train them to wear a muzzle. A muzzle is not only intended for bite protection, but can be used for many other situations. There’s even a special poison bait protection muzzle .
A muzzle can be a helpful solution if your dog has already established the behavior and you don’t know how to stop him. Maybe you also want to go on vacation and make sure your dog doesn’t eat anything there.
A muzzle is also well served as a temporary solution for the training period. You can practice muzzle training with your dog so that he does not pick up anything from the ground and protect him from poision bait in the meantime.
Note: you should not simply put the muzzle on your dog, but get your dog used to it step by step.
Anti-Poison Bait Training
Through anti-poison bait training, you train your dog to stop before it finds food and let you know that it has found something. The last step is that he can retrieve from his find.
This training will not work overnight. It is necessary for you to practice frequently with your dog so that it works in the long term.
The anti-poison bait training consists of three training steps:
Stop before food
This is where you teach your dog to just look at food on the floor. He should stop at the sight of the food it finds instead of running and eating it. This training only works with positive reinforcement, because you want your dog to be happy to show the new behavior – not out of fear.
Sitting instead of eating.
Only when the first step works really well does the next move forward. Now your dog should not just stand still, but sit down at the sight of food. By showing you that he has discovered something to eat, you can reward him for it.
In the last step, you teach your dog to retrieve the food it finds. You train him to turn away from food with a certain signal by rewarding him with something particularly great. Anti-poison bait training is very effective if you set it up properly.
If your dog has put something in its mouth, it is important to let him spits it out. Again, positive feedback is the key to success. A standard signal that every dog should know is swapping. The dog should learn to give things away and get something else in return.
- toy versus toy
- toys for food
- a bone for something else delicious
By doing this, you avoid your dog defending things, but giving them up voluntarily, especially when it comes to poisoned bait, and this can be life-saving.
It is difficult to explain why some dogs are like vacuum cleaners and others are not. There are stray dogs that become true gourmets in their new homes and don’t touch anything off the street. And there are pedigree dogs that devour everything that comes their way. Finding the reason for the behavior is almost impossible and won’t get you anywhere. Only through proper training or by wearing a muzzle can you stop your dog from eating whatever it finds.
Is your dog interested in things to eat when you are out and about?
As always, we look forward to every comment!