REGALWISE SHEPHERDS

Advice for puppies who eat things that they shouldn't eat

Puppies explore their world with their mouths. It's normal for pups to pick
up sticks, rocks, leaves, grass, and litter of all sorts that they find on
the ground. Everything has to be tasted to see if it's edible or fun to
play with. Chasing and grabbing things that move is a favorite game with
many pups. A retrieving instinct is a good thing and I do try to breed for
it and encourage it in the pups, but when they pick up something that may be
dangerous, you may need to intervene. Distracting the pup will often work,
but beware! If the pup gets any attention (positive OR negative) from you
for picking things up, they will often repeat that behavior that got
attention.
Teaching them to retrieve the object to you when you call makes it much
easier for you to remove it and give them something else instead. You do
this by scattering some safe toys around the yard and encourage them to pick
up and bring them to you instead. Praise and reward them for picking up good
things, and ignore it or redirect them when they pick up inappropriate
things. Change the toys scattered in the yard every few days so that there
is always some new 'good' thing to find and play with.
I suppose if it were really a problem, you could "salt" the area with some
things you don't want them to pick up which are treated with a taste
deterrent like Tabasco or cayenne pepper. But they will probably smell it
first and not pick it up if it's treated. It takes some ingenuity to
outsmart a shepherd pup!
If any of you hit on a good method, tell me about it so I can share it with
others who may be having the same problem. Thanks!

 

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