Dog scavenging | dog behavior problems

How do I get my puppy to stop eating everything off the ground?

Young puppies chew everything. They end up tasting things they are not supposed to and eating food found on the floor. Sometimes it's dangerous as they might swallow something poisonous.

What most owners do in a situation like this leads to adult dogs not giving away anything they've found on the floor. Owners want to rapidly take the item from their dog's mouth. After a couple of repetitions, a dog understands that it's not useful to give away anything she was eating. Also, this way a dog learns to chew everything as fast as possible and swallow it fast, so the owner won't be able to take it away.

Imagine this situation from your dog's point of view. You stroll down the street and find a $100 bill on the ground. The moment you lift it from the ground, your friend harshly takes it away from you. This situation continues every time you find a bill. What would you do? Would you be happy? Most probably, not. Most probably, you would lose trust in your friend, and you would start hiding the bill the moment you find it. Or you might start guarding it. Doesn't sound good, does it?

What about this situation? You find a $100 bill. Your friend calls your name and immediately gives you another $100. Then you find one more bill and get one more from your friend. When you find another one, your friend asks you to give it to him, but he gives you 200$ instead. How would you feel? Would you hide the bill you've just found? Would you guard it?

Although dogs are not humans, in some cases, we react very similarly. The situations above are no exception.

So, if you want your dog to give away anything she finds on the ground, instead of chasing her, trying to take the food/item away from her, etc., call her name and instead offer an exchange. At first, start with not so valuable objects (valuable for your dog, not you!) It's easier to start with items and later proceed with food.

Sure, if your dog has found something dangerous or poisonous, don't wait for her to drop it and quickly take it away from her mouth. But it's very important to give her something afterward. If not, she will understand that it's better to keep her mouth completely shut when she finds something.

If you see that your pup sniffs the ground and will most probably find something to eat, simply attract her attention to you and lead her through another path, so she wouldn't find the item. Prevention can do miracles in dog training. When your puppy stops teething, she won't be that interested in chewing everything off the ground.

As most dog behavior problems, scavenging requires consistent training. To stop a dog from scavenging, we’ve made a 14-Day training program ‘Leave it, Pup’ that you can follow at home. It guides you step-by-step throughout the training so even a beginner dog parent could successfully complete it. Become a member at Wiglo to get instant access to ‘Leave it, Pup’ training program, as well as other 10+ programs (over 200 daily lessons in total) for improving dog behavior one day at a time.