How can I train my dog to stop eating everything?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Imagine you have a pup whose favorite menu includes lots of things they shouldn’t eat at all.

I know many of us are going through this. My dog loves to munch on sneakers, poop (yes it’s disgusting), mud, and other substances that I don’t want him to eat.

Recently, I’ve found out some amazing ways to keep my dog from eating anything and everything.

And you should know them too:

Training your dog to not eat everything they see isn’t that difficult. You can train your dog to strengthen its impulse control by command. You can also increase his physical activities and deviate him from eating junk. Training your dog to not eat everything he sees isn’t as difficult as you think but the key to success is patience. 

Here’s what you need to know more about training your dog:

Why dogs eat anything they see? 

The first question that arises is what makes dogs eat anything in their way? Why do they do that? Let’s find out. 

Pica

The state in which your dog has the urge to eat everything they come across is called pica. The dog can’t resist putting even the most disgusting things in its mouth. 

Pica specifically refers to eating inedible objects. You’ll find your pup munching on toys, mud, plastic things, shoes, etc. At first, it seems normal as if your dog is exploring the environment around him.

But pica is more than that. If your dog is practising this more often, then it might be missing some essential nutrients from their diet. It’s good to consult your dog’s vet in this case. 

Smell of dust 

Dogs have a strong sense of smell. Yes, they can smell even the faintest scents. You sure must have seen your dog sniffing around and finding something. 

Now the worry starts when your pooch not only wants to smell the dust but eat it! You’ll find your dog licking the furniture, carpet, outdoors, and even literally eating the mud outside. 

Obviously, this isn’t a healthy or even an edible snack. So, you have to help your dog get rid of this urge as soon as possible. The mud contains a gazillion germs that can infect your dog before you know it. 

Exploring the world 

Dogs are very curious creatures. They want to know what’s around them and how they can interact with the environment. For this, dogs use their mouth. They put the objects in the mouth to inspect them.

As long as your dog just puts the objects in its mouth and doesn’t tries to swallow them, then it’s almost fine. But if your pooch is eating the objects that are not supposed to be eaten, then you have to stop your dog.

While exploring the world, the dog can choke or get poisoned. So, don’t take it lightly and observe what is in the reach of your dog. 

Love for the grass

Grass grazing isn’t a thing for dogs but you may find your dog eating grass in outdoors! You can allow your dog to munch on the grass but be sure there is no weed in there. Also, grass grazing is okay when your dog doesn’t eat a lot of it. 

The grass is good for maintaining a healthy digestive system for your dog as it contains excessive fibers. But as dogs are carnivores, their digestive system is not designed to digest a lot of grass and plants. 

Those dogs who have pica eat grass, plants, flowers, and everything they come across. This excessive plant-eating is not good for your dog. 

Poop eating 

As disgusting as it sounds, some dogs and puppies love to eat poop. You will find your dog smelling the diapers and even licking it. It’s nauseating for us, but not for the dogs. Dogs who like this also eat any waste they find outside such as a waste of cows and other animals. 

The waste material contains certain nutrients because of some undigested food in there. But it also contains dangerous parasites that can infect your dog. No matter what, poop eating is not a good habit and should be shunned right away. 

Extreme hunger 

If your dog doesn’t eat everything all the time but tries to munch on inedible things at times, then he might be hungry at that moment. Imagine if you are hungry and find nothing to eat then you’ll even eat something that you don’t normally. The same is the case with your puppy. 

Clearly, the solution to it is that you never keep your dog hungry. Try to feed him at regular intervals and include nutrition-rich food to his meals. 

How to train your dog to stop eating everything?

Now that you know the reasons your dog might be eating everything, it’s time to know how to keep him from doing so.

Keep it in your mind that dogs don’t eat everything intentionally. They are just like toddlers who can’t differentiate between what’s good and what’s bad for them. So treat your dog like a child and start its training

There are several ways to make your dog realize that everything isn’t food. These ways are:

Be patient 

First things first. Dogs cannot be trained without lots of patience. You have to accept that dogs can’t be trained in days. Consistent effort and lots of patience is the key. 

The methods that are mentioned below require lots of hard work from your side. But believe me, the results you will get will make your life easy. You’ll no longer worry about what your dog is eating. So, just start and make sure you train your dog with patience and consistency. 

“Drop it” method 

This is a command that you can give your dog to refrain from eating everything. This training method is not hard but again, you have to do it again and again. 

  • Throw a certain thing that you don’t want your dog to eat at a place where it can reach easily. 
  • Now watch your dog until it goes and grabs that thing in the mouth. 
  • As soon as he starts biting the object show him a treat and accompany this with the command “drop it”. 
  • If he doesn’t listen to you and runs to have the treat then hide the treat again.
  • Don’t allow him to reach the treat until he drops the inedible object and comes to have his treat. 
  • Repeat this several times. Try to do this practice outdoors as well. 

Increase the impulse control 

This is the training to strengthen the impulse control of your dog. Try these steps to train your dog:

  • Hold an inedible object in one hand and treat in the other. Hide the treat and show the object to your dog. 
  • Allow him to sniff and bite the object but don’t allow him to snatch it from you. 
  • Then show the treat. Your dog will sniff it and will ask you to give it to him. 
  • Don’t allow him to have his treat until he releases the toy (inedible object). 

During this exercise, don’t give him any command. Rather, allow him to make his own decision. In this way, your dog’s impulse control will increase and he’ll refrain from eating objects that aren’t meant to be eaten. 

Physical activity 

Involve your pup in a lot of physical activity. Deviate him by providing lots of toys and exercise equipment. Encourage your dog to run, jump, and play. After that, praise him generously and give him a treat.

This way, your pooch will remain busy in healthy activities and he will not want to munch on everything in free time (as there would be no free time for this!). 

Use a dog muzzle

Thinking about dog muzzle might make you feel like you are doing something wrong with your pet. But using a muzzle is a great way to keep your dog from eating everything until he gets trained.

Meanwhile, you can train him to drop the inedible object and have his treat. Be sure that the muzzle you are using is not very tight. Your dog should be able to breathe and drink water properly.

But don’t let him eat unwanted things and wait patiently until your dog is trained. Also, don’t worry about what people would say (for example, it’s inhumane to use muzzle) as you know better how to train your own puppy. 

Talk and play with your dog 

The more you will talk to your dog, the more it will be able to understand your commands. So, talk as much as you can and play along. This activity is great to increase healthy interaction between you and your pet. 

The Takeaway 

Dogs can sometimes eat whatever they come across. Especially puppies like to put everything in their mouths just to discover the world. To prevent this, you have to train your dog by giving commands and increasing its impulse control.

The more you will be consistent, the quicker you will reach the goal. And trust me, it’s not that difficult. Good luck with that!

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