The reasons why your dog eats things on walks
There are many reasons why your dog might pick up things on your walks and here are some general ones. It's important to look at your individual if you find other reasons why your dog may be eating things on walks. Your dog can have both a bad stomach and serious injuries and therefore it is important to both prevent, find strategies and train your dog not to directly eat things outside.
Under- and over-stimulation
Our dogs, like us humans, need to have a balanced daily routine to avoid being under or over stimulated. To achieve a balanced day, dogs need meaningful activities combined with recovery. Balance helps your dog from becoming stressed and in many cases performing unwanted behaviours where eating can be the result.
A balanced day is something in between. It is not a dog that recovers all day, nor is it a dog that is active all day. If we don't have balanced stimulation, the dog can become stressed and with it perform unwanted behaviours - such as stressful behaviours and pulling on the lead on walks as well as eating. To evaluate whether we are dealing with under- or over-stimulation, we need to think about what the days before the unwanted behaviour were like for the dog. Form an opinion and start adding or removing activities for your dog.
Stress causes problem behaviours
In fact, a calm and harmonious dog does not perform problem behaviours to the same extent. And this is something we can teach our dogs! Based on a three-step model, we can teach and reward dogs for calm behaviours both indoors and outdoors. Below is an explanation of how this three-step model works.
The three-step model for calmer dogs is about creating a daily routine where you alternate between three different types of activity to elicit calm behaviours. We simply want the dog to offer calm behaviours while indoors, both through training and rewarding calm behavioural needs. Join us! It's easy to adapt your everyday life around this model :)
1. Passive activity
Passive activity means that we give the dog the opportunity to perform its behavioural needs in a calm and harmonious way. When we are outdoors with our dog, it is smart to give the dog space for calm behaviors where foraging for treats in the grass, practicing passivity and bringing chew bones or other calm activation can be beneficial. We want to train the dog to be rewarded for calm behaviors when out walking, to increase the likelihood that the dog will perform more calm behaviors going forward.
2. Active rest
In this part of the model, you give the dog the opportunity for total rest. The idea is to take away many of the dog's choices and make it all about rest. This could be by locking the dog in one of your rooms where the dog enjoys, setting up composting grids or placing the dog on a dog bed where it has been trained to rest until you signal it to leave the bed. The goal of bed training is to make the dog want to be there and rest on its own, so always make sure to turn that training into something positive.
3. Calm rewards
Make sure to always give your dog calm rewards when you want the dog to be calm. This could mean slowly delivering a treat when the dog is walking nicely at the side or calmly offering the dog a treat in the woods. You can also choose to walk at different paces to teach the dog to slow down when you are outside. Always reward your dog when it is calm. This will make your dog offer calm behaviors more often.
Visit a vet or call a digital vet
It may also be wise to visit a veterinarian, or call a digital vet which you as a Lassie customer have unlimited calls to, to evaluate so your dog is healthy and in physical shape. It may be that your dog is deficient in something or needs help from the vet to stop eating on walks. Perhaps the solution may even lie in changing the food to give your dog more energy or a different composition.