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Prevent your dog from eating inappropriate things on your walks

When the dog eats inappropriate objects outdoors, it can result in serious injuries and surgery. Therefore, in addition to training and preventing these behaviors, it is very important to have strategies in place that can completely prevent the dog from eating these objects. Here we will give you the best tips to prevent your dog from causing major damage to their gastrointestinal tract.

The muzzle is your best friend

Many people associate a muzzle with aggressive behaviour and preventing the dog from doing harm to other people or animals. However, there are more varieties of muzzles that can help you stay calm on your walks. While you're training and preventing your dog's behaviour, it's a good idea to keep a muzzle on your dog while out on walks.
There are muzzles in the pet store that are only made of fabric and do not prevent your dog from breathing normally on walks. There are also plastic muzzles that prevent your dog from eating things outside. These muzzles do not close the mouth and airway, but allow you to give your dog treats and for your dog to drink water.

Teach the muzzle with reinforcement

It can be a bit special for your dog to put on a muzzle, just like the harness was when they were puppies. That's why we think it's smart to train the muzzle positively and with free rest as a central part of the training.

  1. Start by introducing the muzzle (or ideally another object that resembles a cone) and rewarding the dog for any interaction it makes with the object. It is the dog's choice to approach the object and is then rewarded for doing so.

  2. Increase your criteria and wait for the dog to touch the object, or alternatively put its nose slightly into the opening. Always reward the dog for voluntarily exploring the object.

  3. Increase your criteria further and reward the dog when it puts its whole nose in the opening. Always reward your dog for offering behaviours you want.

  4. When the dog pushes its nose into the object with confidence, it's time to train the muzzle itself (if you've chosen to use a different object to begin with). Now we want to get the dog used to the snap of the muzzle and reward the dog each time.

  5. Be careful not to let the dog wear the muzzle for too long. Remember that this is also a step in training where you gradually let the dog use the muzzle for longer periods of time. Always reward the dog for wearing the muzzle.

Think about where you take your walks

In addition to choosing to let your dog wear a muzzle on walks, it can be helpful to think about where you take your walks. Depending on where you live, there may be good and bad places to walk. Think about where you take your walks and choose places where there are fewer people around, or fewer interesting things on the ground. If you can get to the woods, it's often a safer place for you and your dog to walk.

Keep your dog on a lead

To keep an eye on your dog, it can be a good idea to have your dog on a lead, so you can steer it away from objects and other things on the ground. If you let your dog loose, it may also be a good idea to practice your recall properly, so you can call your dog in when you see it heading towards something on the ground. However, this is not optimal while you are training your dog to ignore objects on the ground. So attach a leash or long leash until you feel more confident that your dog can opt out of temptation.

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