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kheredia's avatar

How do I stop my dog from eating everything?

Asked by kheredia (5543 points ) June 26th, 2009

I have two dogs. One of them is a perfect angel but the other one.. oh boy!!!! He’s about two years old now but I still have not been able to get him to stop eating everything! He eats wallets, socks, pillows, blankets, shoes, pretty much anything you can think of. About a year ago we had to take him to the vet because he got really sick. I thought I was going to lose him for sure. I feel really bad because my other dog doesn’t get to have a pillow because this dog will probably eat it.

I’ve tried pretty much everything! He has nylabones, toys, rawhides, you name it! I’ve even had to leave him at home with a muzzle so he doesn’t go eating everything. He’s a really sweet boy but he’s just turned out to be sooo expensive!!! Do any of you have any ideas to make him stop?

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18 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Does he only eat things when you are gone? How well is he trained? What breed of dog is he?

kheredia's avatar

He is a shar pei/american bulldog mix. He doesn’t chew on stuff in front of me but he’s been known to take stuff out to the patio when nobody is looking. He’s pretty well trained except for that.

jfos's avatar

I had a dog like that, she was a black lab. It might be too late to train him, but I would say to “discipline” him every time he does it. He could be doing it for attention, he could be doing it because he’s hungry. You have to do something he doesn’t like each time he does it… smack on the nose, spray with water, etc., etc.

kheredia's avatar

I always try to discipline him when I catch him doing something. If he doesn’t listen the first time, then I’ll put on the muzzle or put him in the patio. I thought he was going to grow out of it but he’s already two years old!

irocktheworld's avatar

well if your dog is a good and cute then just teach him to do somethings!!!!!=]
thats all i hope it helped u!!!!!!=]=]=]

marinelife's avatar

I would try crating him if he destroys thing when you are gone. That may well be separation anxiety.

I would not hit him on the nose as discipline. It is not effective. Only discipline him if you catch him in the act.

Set up a toy box with his chew things and other toys in it (I would avoid nylabones and rawhides, which can have bad health effects).

When you catch him chewing something he shouldn’t, take it from him. Say “No Chew: or whatever your command word for that is. Then offer him something from the toy box.

The other thing I would do to help break the habit is to get some of the spray anti-chew repellant (here is one type) and spray things you don’t want him to chew.

Be persistent and consistent.

Good luck.

irocktheworld's avatar

you should give your dog an amount of food he/she should eat and give plenty of water but you should maybe keep food away from your dog just in case..

marinelife's avatar

@irocktheworld I’m not sure I understand your answer in relation to the question.

RedPowerLady's avatar

You also have to engage in positive reinforcement. Animals learn quite effectively using this method. This means you must use praise more than you use discipline. When you come home from being gone have your dog go get a toy or bone and then praise him enthusiastically. The goal is that every time you come home he has something appropriate in his mouth (instead of something you don’t want him chewing on). When you discipline you are telling a dog what Not to do. When you praise you are telling a dog what they Should be doing. It isn’t complete without the whole equation. And randomly, every time (for now), you see him with something appropriate in his mouth then praise him. Either play with him, pet him, or give him a treat (mix up which praise you use).

I would also always have something appropriate for him to chew on. Many dogs do not like rawhide. You may try pig ears or hooves instead (available at PetCo by the piece). I also like the dental floss ropes because they take longer to tear apart.

I also agree that this is likely separation anxiety. Or it is acting out saying “i don’t like it when you are gone for so long”. Whatever you do make sure not to reward the bad behavior. Too much negative attention can be a reward because it is attention. Never leave the inappropriate chew toy with the dog (some do this because it’s already ruined and it’s a cheap toy then). Also remember that dogs don’t have a great memory. If you are punishing for something after the fact it is likely they don’t understand whey they are being punished.

I also personally believe the idea that your dog is too old to be trained is rubbish. :)

marinelife's avatar

@RedPowerLady Great point regarding the positive reinforcement!

Darwin's avatar

American Bulldogs live to chew – we have one and she eats everything. We have done several things. The first is to train ourselves to put our things away so she can’t get to them. The second is to attempt to teach her the command “Leave it!” This works well if we are home and catch her in the act. The third is to teach her the phrase “Do you want to chew?” which means we give her something she is allowed to chew and praise her for chewing it. And finally, we leave her chew toys where she can get them, including several different Kongs with various treats inside, and praise her when she decides to go for one. We reinforce “Leave it!” with a squirt from a water bottle. It doesn’t hurt her but she dislikes it intensely.

She isn’t perfect, but she is doing much better. She, too, is two years old. Past chewing dogs that we have had seemed to stop on their own accord about age four.

Now my question is what does a Shar-Pei/American Bulldog mix look like? Your dog must have a lot of loose skin. As you can see from my avatar I also had a Shar-Pei, Gracie, who unfortunately died from lymphoma.

marinelife's avatar

@Darwin “Leave it” is the command I use for my half Dal/half English Setter. It works reasonably well unless it is food. The Dalmatian we eat anything gene triumphs. I did not know that about American Bulldogs. I’m sure it will help @kheredia to know there is some light at the end of the tunnel even if it is a ways off.

kheredia's avatar

I think he definitely has some separation anxiety but I really don’t know how to help him with that. I work at a daycare facility for dogs and i have attempted several times to take him with me, but he really does not enjoy it at all. He stands by the door and barks and tries to push the door open. I thought maybe if he went with my other dog he would get over it but he didn’t. So now I’ve given up on the daycare idea for him. His fun consists of playing with my other dog, chewing on stuff, going on walks, and visiting the dog park or dog beach every now and then. He’s a good boy most of the time, and his chewing has been a little more controlled in the past few months but I’m going to use some of the advice you guys gave me and hopefully he’ll be better about it.

Thanks a lot for all of your responses.

cyn's avatar

you should call the dog whisperer

gizmo's avatar

I have a 6 year old llasa who has started eating everything in site, we can’t leave anything at all out. He even ate the whole handle from a fly swatter. Nothing has changed in our routine, he has tons of toys, we have taken him to the vet and nothing is wrong with him. We can no longer leave him in the house alone without crating him. If we take a shower he manages to find something. Hence the fly swatter. He even chewed on a extension cord. I can’t leave a pillow or blanket in the crate or he will eat that as well. Have absolutly no idea what to do.

kheredia's avatar

@gizmo so your dog never gave you this problem before? That’s very strange. Maybe something is stressing him out. Are you leaving him home alone more often then before? Maybe its a separation anxiety issue. My dog has been doing this ever since we got him as an 8 month old pup. Some days he’s good and others he just eats the first thing he sees. I’m hoping he just grows out of it.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
whatdoido11's avatar

my dog eats every thing if we dont take her with us where ever we go we left home for 20 mins came back an shit was tore up but how do i stop her from doing it i had her sense she was just a puppy and i dont wanna get rid of her but i will if it continues i will bring her to the pound

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