dog eating wood chips at dog park

msfingers2March 18, 2007

I sure hope somebody can help me. We have a friend who brings her beagle mix 1 1/2 yr old dog to the dog park. She's fine for awhile and plays with her pals, but then she starts eating the wood chips that cover the park. She has become sick and visited the vet regarding this -- the vet's advice is to keep her away from the park, or wear a muzzle -- neither of which the owner wants to resort to.

Does anyone have any experience with this??

Our friend does yell at the dog when she catches her dog starting this behavior, and then the dog treats it like a game, picking up a chip and running away with it.

Any advice would be greatly apprecicated.

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Well obviously yelling doesn't work. With some breeds yelling has the opposite effect. You have to show them what's in it for them and don't take kindly to yelling. The dog may not understand what it's doing wrong.

The person has to teach the "leave it" command in an effective way. I suggest starting out with the positive reinforcement methods that an obedience trainer can show.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 7:44PM
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I agree with training, but in the mean time, what's wrong with using a muzzle? Not one that restricts the dog, use a basket muzzle. They're comfy and the dog can drink through it. Put a poop guard on it and off to the dog park she goes.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 8:48PM
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The command "leave it" is priceless for a situation like this.

And I get a bit grumpy when I hear about a pet owner who is unwilling to do what is required to keep her dog from getting sick, like avoiding the park or using a muzzle. Sometimes we have to do things that we may not WANT to do for the safety of those who depend upon us.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 9:49AM
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Pardon my ignorance, but what is a poop guard? Never heard of one.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 11:45AM
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When she sees the dog starting for the chips, she should divert his attention with a game, a walk, or toss a ball.

He's learned a new game of eat the chips, get her attention, and then play chase.

But........if none of that works she should try the muzzle. One of my dogs began eating bark (during his senile years) and I can understand how quickly a piece of bark can be eaten, especially when you're not looking!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 1:01PM
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"Leave it" and "Drop it" have taught my beagle a game of "Hey mom can I have this!?" She picks something up, and if she's not sure if she can eat/chew on it, she tosses it in the air over and over, catching and pouncing on it. If we ignore her and her game, she'll go on to eat/chew it eventually because she's allowed, but if we say no, she'll drop it and leave it alone.

It sounds to me like this park is off leash. Maybe she should keep the dog on a short leash at the park, (no fun, I know) and teach him to leave the wood chips. The leash will prevent the fun little game of chase he has learned to play. And it's alot easier to teach something if you're not chasing and yelling at the dog. She needs to the dog to focus and pay attention to her, or it won't work at all.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 2:01PM
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Thanks so much for all your help!!
I've printed each one of your answers and we've showed them to Daisy's mom. Only time will tell if she follows any one of them. She did say she's afraid to muzzle her because if another dog goes after her, she won't be able to defend herself. But Daisy is not a fighter, so I don't think she'd be that frustrated -- it beats having the owner freak out and yell at her and then ban her from the dog park -- anyway, we'll see what happens. I hate to hear she's not coming to the dog park -- she's half Beagle and I think half Lab -- quite a mix, looks like a Beagle on steroids -- LOL, but just the SWEETEST dog, and she and my pup, Wilbur, a Shih Tzu, are best buds. So I hope the owner takes one of your suggestions.
Thanks again so much for your input!! This forum is the BEST!!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 10:38PM
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> "I hate to hear she's not coming to the dog park "

thank your lucky stars.

The last thing in the world we need at the offleash parks is some impatient, upset pet owner who does not excercise their dog first before going through the gate. The dog parks are for socializing and sniffing butts. Not for excercise and rambunctious running around. Toungues should be dangling before you cross the gate.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 8:42AM
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Quirky, I have never heard such a thing! Most people who use the park do it because they cannot get this kind of long-running exercise anywhere else.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 9:59PM
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