Dogs sometimes eat things they shouldn’t like a pen, a nickel, gum, and other things. Dogs also sometimes eat grass, lick water from a puddle, and will pick up things as they walk around. If you have a dog that seems to have a bad habit of eating “bad” treats when you walk her and find yourself pulling her head away from food on the ground and other random objects, it may be because your dog is exploring and using her sense of smell and then taste to discover the world around her.
It can be dangerous though, as some items are poisonous and others will give her an upset stomach. To modify this behavior, you’ll need to tempt her with something more attractive than already-been-chewed gum, cigarette butts, and random pieces of food found on the ground.
1: Bring along a toy. A squeaky toy or a ball may keep your dog distracted. When she’s about to dive for something, squeak the toy or if your dog wants to, let her carry it on her walk.
2: Avoid walking down blocks where pieces of food might be on the ground such as schools, restaurants, bars, and picnic areas. People often smoke outside of office buildings.
3: Bring treats and if your dog starts to steer you towards a patch of grass or anything on the ground that could be bad for her, tempt her with a treat instead and keep walking.
4: Teach your dog the command, “Leave it!”
Make sure you recognize the signs that your dog is about to dive and grab something that is bad for her. Some dogs will go into a pounce pose where the head lowers and the butt raises, others will keep their nose to the ground and not watch where you both are walking, they are seeking. Break them of this mentality, get them interested in the path you’re taking and not the items along the way.
It’s tough to figure out why a dog may find something like a pen, gum, or paper appetizing or something worth checking out when they could have peanut butter treats, antler chews, and other more appealing things. Do your best, stay calm, and be consistent! You’ll start to see changes.