What to do if your dog is a scavenger? A Comprehensive Guide

Teach your dog a solid “leave it” command

Teach your dog such a good “leave it” that the command works all of the time. This will help prevent scavenging while out walking and at home when you don’twant your dog to eat something they have found

This training technique is easy to practice at home:

  • Hold a toy in one hand ( tug rope is good for this)
  • Hold a treat behind your back with the other hand.
  • Encourage your dog to get a grip on the toy in your hand
  • Hold the treat up to their nose so they can smell it.
  • When they let go of the toy to get to the treat, say ‘leave it’ and then give your dog the treat.
  • Repeat this 5 times
  • By consistently training your dog to leave items on command, you’ll be able to minimise the number of undesirable things your pet will eat.

    You need to make sure they also have a solid ‘drop it’ command too, just in case they pick something up.

    Read next: 8 Commands Every Dog Should Know

    Walk in areas with fewer temptations.

    Every place you walk your dogs may have objects that you don’t want them to inhale, but some spots are worse than others. Choose places that offer the fewest temptations in the way of trash and other dangers. Completely avoid areas that could have toxic items, such as hickory nuts or pecans. If your walks include little-traveled roads, one option is to walk in the roadway to avoid surprises hiding in hedges or on people’s lawns.

    Teaching a dog to come away

    The training process begins indoors at home.

    You can teach your dog to come away from some tempting food that he knows is on a raised surface for example, by taking the dog to the food and giving him a piece after he has obeyed the recall signal.

    Make sure you can call him away from ‘high value’ food like warm roast beef or chicken.

    This kind of training takes time and patience, but it a really helpful skill.

    Scavenger Behavior in Puppies : Your New Puppy

    I have just read the most chilling news: 22 dogs have just been picked up by ambulance for acute poisoning in Utrecht (the Netherlands). Someone sprinkled bags full of yummy treats laced with poison. I am so disgusted.

    As many walks in my immediate neighbourhood are frequently on high alert, I am getting increasingly concerned about this. Think it’s paranoia? Check this: “If the dog becomes a canine vacuum cleaner, grabbing and swallowing anything and everything off the ground … sooner or later the dog is going to swallow something harmful.” (Scavenging outdoors, Kathy Diamond Davis, Veterinarian).

    Before you completely panic, here are the (US) statistics (Source: What you should know about pet poisons):

    Still, I don’t want my dog to be the next stat, and there are frequent reports of poisoning in the Netherlands. Solution: time to train your dog to stop scavenging while off-leash. Sounds impossible? It’s actually easy, gentle and quick. Yes, even for your food-obsessed Labrador.