How to Stop a Dog from Eating Everything on Walks


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how to stop a dog from eating everything on walks

If your pup is a big of a scavenger, you’re probably wondering how to finally stop your dog from eating everything on walks.

Not only is it gross if your dog snacks on some poop or garbage lying around, it’s also potentially dangerous.

The good thing is that puppies are more interested in eating stuff off the ground than adult dogs. And there are a few tips that can help get rid of that behavior, for the most part.

Why Is My Dog Always Scavenging for Food?

Walks are one of the best ways to get some exercise for both you and your dog. But walks can end up being a real chore if your dog won’t stop trying to eat everything he sees.

There are probably also plenty of things out there that you don’t want your dog putting in his mouth! So how do you stop your dog from trying to eat everything he sees?

The first thing to do is figure out why your dog is scavenging so much in the first place!

Here are a few reasons why your dog is showing scavenging behavior.

It’s in the Genes

Because of their wolf ancestry, many people believe that dogs are hunters. And while yes, dogs do exhibit hunting behavior, they are actually partially scavengers too.

So what exactly is a scavenger? A scavenger is an animal that eats food that’s already dead and left behind rather than doing the killing themselves.

As dogs evolved, they likely turned more and more towards scavenging rather than hunting. And even though today most dogs live in homes with humans who feed them, they still retain this need to scavenge in their genes.

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Food and Sleep Are a Dog’s Main Occupations

If you’ve spent much time around a dog, then you know how much they sleep.

The amount of time your dog sleeps during the day will vary by age. For example, young puppies will generally sleep about 18 to 20 hours a day.

Adult dogs will usually sleep about 12 to 14 hours a day.

That means the majority of your dog’s day is just resting and relaxing! If only our days looked the same…

The other element that occupies a lot of your dog’s time is food. Most dogs are very food-motivated, which means that they’ll do what they need to in order to get food.

When you consider this, it makes sense why some dogs tend to try and eat everything while walking. Since food is one of their main daily occupations, they’re just trying to fulfill their needs while you’re on your walk!

Pica or Missing Nutrients

If your dog is frequently eating things that he’s not supposed to, then he might have a condition called pica. This is a behavioral issue for dogs that is sometimes the result of boredom, attention seeking, or even depression.

Pica can also be caused by medical issues like parasitic infections or hyperthyroidism.

Eating things he’s not supposed to can also be a sign of a nutrient deficiency in your dog. Some dogs are pretty intuitive when it comes to their own health and diet. If your dog feels like he’s not getting the nutrients he needs, then he might try to get them from other sources.

Always make sure to read the label on your dog’s food to make sure it contains all the nutritional elements he needs. You may also want to consider options like a raw diet or homecooked dog food.

Here are some of the best dog food delivery services for fresh cooked food.

If your pup is eating everything he can find on walks, he might be missing some nutrients
If your pup is eating everything he can find on walks, he might be missing some nutrients

Boredom

Have you ever heard the saying that a tired dog is a happy dog?

As it turns out, it makes for a happy owner too. This is because a tired dog is a dog that won’t get into much trouble!

If your dog is bored and you’re not helping him find ways to entertain himself, then he’ll start finding his own entertainment. And that might be eating things he’s not supposed!

If your dog is bored, then he’ll probably show other signs too. Check out “Is My Dog Bored? 7 Symptoms of Dog Boredom (and Help!)” for more information.

A clear daily routine with enough activity can also help reduce boredom. Make sure to download my free daily puppy schedule planner to get started:

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How to Stop a Dog from Eating Everything on Walks

Understanding why your dog is showing scavenging behavior is the first step. Now we can get into how to stop your dog from eating things he shouldn’t on walks!

Train a Super Solid “Leave It”

“Leave it” is a really important command for your dog to know no matter how old he is.

Of course, the earlier you get started with “leave it” the better. Begin by practicing the command at home in a controlled environment, and then work your way up to trying it out on your walks.

The more consistently you use “leave it,” the better your dog will be about not eating things he shouldn’t on your walks.

Make Yourself More Interesting

If your dog is super interested in whatever he’s trying to eat, then you might have a hard time pulling him away even with a solid “leave it.”

You’ll have a way easier time if you make yourself more interesting than whatever your dog is getting into. You can do this by bringing along his favorite toy. Or making sure that you have some of his favorite treats on you.

If you’re planning on using treats, just make sure to only reward him if he’s looking at you or walking nicely next to you. That way he doesn’t think he is being rewarded for eating things he shouldn’t.

Don’t Give Him Access to Trash (Indoors and Outdoors)

You should always be working to set your dog up for success. If your dog frequently eats garbage, then make it’s your job to ensure that he no longer has access to garbage.

Keep your garbage bins outside tightly sealed and, ideally, away from anywhere your dog can reach them.

As for your indoor garbage, keeping a tight lid on it or storing it in a cupboard will help a lot.

Here are 9 tips to keep your dog out of the trash.

Reward Him Regularly When He’s Paying Attention to You

Positive reinforcement dog training is a highly effective method of training while also being gentle on your dog and strengthening your bond.

A huge part of positive reinforcement training is rewarding behavior you like. And you should like it when your dog pays attention to you rather than whatever’s on the ground!

So if your dog is focusing on you instead of other distractions on your walks, make sure to give him a reward for that.

Double Check His Health at the Vet

If you’re working on “leave it” and training your dog to pay better attention to you and he’s still eating things he shouldn’t, it might be worth a vet visit.

Your vet will be able to check your dog over for signs that something is medically wrong, like pica.

They’ll also be able to help you out with management methods and treatments if it does turn out your dog has a medical condition.

This is also a great opportunity to ask questions about your dog’s diet!

If Nothing Else Helps: Use a Muzzle

A lot like crates, muzzles get a bad rap. Many people think that they are cruel, and that only dangerous dogs wear them.

But muzzles can be a really useful safety tool for a variety of reasons! And even dogs that aren’t dangerous sometimes need to wear them.

If you’ve tried everything under the sun and your dog is still eating things on walks, then you might want to consider muzzle training. As long as you train him properly, your dog will be comfortable in his muzzle and will stop eating things he shouldn’t.

For some dogs, the above mentioned tips don't work. In that case, you might want to try using a muzzle, at least temporarily
For some dogs, the above mentioned tips don’t work. In that case, you might want to try using a muzzle, at least temporarily

Do Dogs Grow Out of Eating Everything?

If your dog is still just a puppy, you might be hoping that he’ll grow out of eating everything.

Puppies are very new to the world, and might try putting things in their mouths to learn more about them! Eventually, most puppies do grow out of it, but not without your help.

You’ll need to learn how to stop a dog from chewing on things if you want to make sure your pup stops getting into things he shouldn’t!

How to Stop a Dog from Eating Poop

Dogs do a lot of things that confuse us. Some dogs roll in poop and dead animals, while others will just start chowing down on feces. Yuck!

If your dog is eating his own poop, then you might want to call your vet so they can check for medical conditions that might be causing the issue. If your dog comes back with a clean bill of health, then you may need to monitor your dog while he’s outside relieving himself.

Over time, you’ll be able to train your dog not to eat his own poop. Use positive reinforcement and reward your dog every time he chooses to walk away from poop on the ground.

Some dogs really enjoy eating poop. Yuck!
Some dogs really enjoy eating poop. Yuck!

How to Stop a Dog from Getting in the Trash

Dogs that eat trash can be super frustrating! Especially when they’re flinging all the trash around your house.

If you’re wondering what you can do, here are 9 tips to keep dogs out of the trash.

Conclusion

Walking your dog can be a lot of fun. But it’s significantly less fun if your dog keeps eating things off the ground while you’re walking.

The first step to helping your dog stop is by understanding what the cause of the behavior is in the first place. Once you’ve figure that out, use the above tips to teach your dog to stop eating everything on walks and enjoy fun, stress-free strolls!  

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