Is Your Dog A Scavenger
Have a dog that thinks running around the house with your favorite pair of
slippers is better than going to the bark park? Have a pooch that eagerly unrolls
the toilet paper with the skill of a fine craftsman? If you drop something on the
floor, does your dog go for it faster than Michael Phelps can swim? Well, the
good news is he is not misbehaving…
Not misbehaving, you say? No, your dog was born that way! Dogs, by nature,
scavenge. Think about your dog if he or she ever found himself running the
streets. Would he be more likely to survive by catching animals, or by living on
discarded food? Yep, that scavenging gene is ever-present!
So if he can’t help but do it, what can you do? The good news is there is help!
First, make getting your prized object back easier on you and your pup-
• The first thing to remember is to never encourage your dog’s behavior. If he
has something he shouldn’t, do not make a huge production out of it. Remain
as calm and quiet as you can. The more excited you get, the more he will
think he has started a game; he will try his best to keep that game going.
• Don’t chase the dog. This will just cause him to think you are playing “keep
away”, something dogs love to do with each other. Chasing will only cause
him to run faster!
• Instead, casually walk to him or call his name (a good recall command is very
handy here) and exchange what he has for a yummy treat. This will teach
your dog that giving something up is more beneficial than protecting what he
had. When he is enjoying the treat, simply pick the object up.
Well, this is all great for replacing the object with a more appropriate toy, but how
do you prevent it? If your dog is an active scavenger, the best thing you can do
is let him scavenge, but on your terms! If your dog loves to scavenge it is going
to be very tough to eliminate the behavior, so provide him with things he can
scavenge that are more enticing then what he is currently “hunting”.
Some Tails Up Paws Down pet clients feed their dogs their daily meals using
toys like Kongs, Buster Cubes or Linkables. These are called interactive toys and
can hold lots of kibble and treats. The dogs have to work very diligently to get
the rewards out, which simulates scavenging. Because they are being rewarded
with food goodies, the socks, toilet paper, etc. quickly become less important!
• Always supervise them- there is nothing worse than a 90 pound Labrador
with a toy full of food stuck under a couch!
• Make it very easy for the pup to get the food at first. You can start by merely
setting the toy on top of the food at first, so the pup simply moves the toy off.
Gradually increase difficulty!
• Use your dog’s dinner! Use interactive toys for meals a few times a week,
or even every time your pooch eats. We want to keep up our pups healthy,
and if they are working for their meal, it gives them extra incentive to play the
Tails Up Paws
1350-C Southport Rd #301
Indianapolis, IN 46217
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