Is Your Dog a Sneaky Scavenger? Most Canines Are!
Dogs are known as “opportunistic scavengers” driven by their sensitive nose! Keep reading about the canine scavengers and what you need to do about it!
Dogs As Scavengers
Image Courtesy: Pixamio / Pixabay
Canines are natural-born scavengers when it comes to yummy-smelling food even if you are not thrilled by their choices! If your dog is highly motivated by food (not all dogs are), chances are they are skilled scavengers whenever the opportunity presents itself.
In other words, dogs are “opportunistic or social scavengers!”
The K9 Opportunistic or Social Scavenger
Dogs are hardwired to find food. Of course, the domestic dog today does not have to put effort into finding food since he has humans that offer a steady food source!
But old habits die hard, and most food-motivated dogs will continue to scavenge through the trash, the compost pile or anywhere tempting smells lead his nose!
Canines are known as opportunistic or social scavengers. That means dogs will “feed on food from different sources as it becomes available.” They are also known as “social scavengers” by rummaging through the trash and attempting to gobble down anything remotely interesting on their walks!
It’s true, your beloved pooch
lives for the free meal left behind
by humans, wolves, bears or other wildlife!
Once proud hunters in the wild (at least until they formed bonds with humans), domesticated dogs today have given up their predatory hunting behavior to enthusiastically scavenge for discarded meat and plants (as obligate carnivores).
K9 Breeds Who Hunt
While most domesticated dog breeds have evolved into happy scavengers, some breeds are still bred to hunt for their humans like the Labrador Retriever, Bloodhound, Pointer, Beagle and more. With proper training, these breeds can tap into their predatory instincts to hunt live game.
Stop Your Dog’s Scavenging Behaviors: 5 Ways
Unfortunately, scavenging dogs can find themselves in a heap of trouble with their undiscriminating behavior! So how can you address and discourage your dog’s unwanted scavenging and keep him safe from toxic items or even a potential intestinal blockage?
Use our five tips below!
1. Train your dog to “leave it!”
Courtesy: Katrin B / Pixabay
The “secret” here is teaching and reinforcing this
command until it works every single time! Make sure you use it often and in a variety of situations with a variety of distractions to make sure your dog always delivers on command.
2. Consistently ask and reward your dog for paying attention to you. Every time you have their full attention (despite what is going on), offer a high-quality treat (or toy)
to reward their wanted attention.
Combine the verbal command “watch” and again generously reward the behavior!
3. Regularly engage in nose work with your dog and combine it with the “leave it” command to increase the difficulty and work on his impulse control.
4. If modifying your dog’s scavenger behavior is difficult or taking a long time, consider using a muzzle to minimize their risk of ingesting something harmful as you continue their training.
5. And finally, focus on walking in areas that pose fewer temptations for the scavenger dog!
Training Your Dog the “Leave It!” Command
Could Save His Life!
If your dog is a devoted scavenger, the “Leave It!” command will help stop your pup from ingesting foods and more on his daily walks!
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