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Puppy eats everything
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My partner and I just picked up a Boston Terrier puppy about a month ago. She has added so much joy to our household. Puppies are such an exciting and fun addition to any family, but there are some things you should know before you pick one up. Namely, puppies are just like babies – they like to eat anything and everything in sight. If you’re not careful this could develop into a nasty chewing habit or just an overall taste for things that aren’t food.

Why Does My Puppy Want to Eat Everything?

Puppies are babies, afterall. They haven’t seen the world like we have. Everything is completely new to them – sights, sounds, feelings, and tastes.

Of course, puppies don’t have fingers and hands like we do. So, what is next best thing? Their mouths. To four legged domesticated animals, their mouths are their hands. It is the way they comprehend the shape and feel of all objects, including their owners face, hands, and toes. Not to mention other inedible objects like rocks, bark, dirt, and garbage.

When a puppy grows up under the tutelage of its parents it learns from the mother and father what is good to eat and what is not good to eat. Now that you are the parent, you’ll have to show your puppy how to do everything correctly.

What Should I Do About It?

Chances are, they will grow out of this phase on their own once they grow up. However, some dogs just don’t.

First things first, keep an eye on the dog at all times. Your puppy should never be unattended for any reason whatsoever.

Secondly, take a look at what they are eating. Chomping on grass and weeds outside is usually harmless. It’s unknown as to why dogs like to chew on grass, but many theories have been discussed over the years such as: stomach soothing, to conceal their scent to prey, and even just plain boredom. As long as you are aware of your dog’s eating habits you should always know how they are feeling. If your puppy starts vomiting or whining like they are in pain after eating grass take them to the vet immediately.

How to Train Them to Stop

There are several ways to deal with this problem. The first way would be to train them to come to you when you call them. This will usually distract them from what they’re doing and focus their attention on you instead of whatever they are eating. This is relatively simple to do. Just grab a super tasty treat in your hand and take them outside. When they start getting into something you don’t approve of just say a command word like “come” or “here” and show them the treat. It has to be a treat worth giving up whatever they’ve got in their mouth. So, make sure it’s a good one. After several repetitions of this they should start to recognize that command word means something yummy and they will drop whatever they’ve got. As a bonus, this will also teach your pup to come to you when you call them.

Next, you can try the command “drop it” or “leave it”. This exercise consists of showing your dog some food or treats and rewarding them when they look away from the treats. Keep treats in both hands and show the dog the treats in one of your hands. Then, put those treats on the floor or in your hand and cover them up so they can no longer see the treats.

When the puppy looks away from the treats give them a snack from the other hand. Repeat this a few times then move on the the next step. Now, you can begin to uncover your hand and the dog can visibly see the treats. Cover the goodies back up with your hand if the dog tries to lunge for them and keep rewarding them for looking away. Once the pup has this part down start adding in the word “leave it”. They will then begin to associate this phrase with your actions and their rewards. After they have that down, try it standing up and cover the treats with your foot. Then you can eventually uncover the treats completely and walk away.

Lastly, if you are in dire straights and just cannot seem to do anything to get your dog to stop eating things off of the ground or even digging in the ground to get at rocks and plants, a pet-safe repellent just might be strong enough to help them get the idea. This should only be used unless you have thoroughly tried training and it has not worked for you. It might even be a good idea to contact a professional trainer and see if they can give you some tips. Still, not everyone will have these options available to them. So, a repellent might be necessary. Especially if your pup is a little bit older (and thus harder to train). Make sure you do extensive research on the repellent of your choice to make sure it won’t harm your pup in any way. There are several sprays and granules out there that just smell plain nasty to a dog and are completely harmless otherwise.

Part of being a puppy is exploring the world and all it has to offer. The world is an enormous place with endless possibilities for a little dog. Instinctively animals and humans alike are born with an innate desire to find food anywhere they can get it.  As a new pet parent, it can be stressful watching a dog go through this phase. But, with a little training and a lot of growth, your pup should learn right from wrong and be back to chomping on bones and squeaky toys in no time.

Trisha Miller
Trisha is a writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan and a new puppy mommy. You can find her on twitter @thatdangvegan or check out her blog thatdangvegan.com.