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He's almost a year now (about 10 months old), and I thought it was just a phase, but it's not so much like that as it seems.

I've had problems with him eating wood (from chewing on tree branches), which almost caused him a visit to the operating room because he would not poop, and threw up everything he ate or drank.

He doesn't eat his poop, but he eats dirt, rocks, branches, leafs, grass, plastic bags, bones, and even dry wall or anything in between. Yes, he is the one out of my 3 dogs that gets into the trash, the other two know they shouldn't and they don't!

I've tried to move the trash bags to other places where he can't reach them, but that does not seem like a reasonable solution. He doesn't care if I'm right there, if there is something good in the trash can, he's going to at least take a nice big whiff out of it while possibly sticking his head in there to see if he can reach anything.

This is not something I had to emphasize so much as to yell "no" or "bad dog" with my other dogs.

So my question is, how do I handle my rowdy, hyper, eating-everything-he-can dog?

  • There's a page talking about Stages of Puppy Teeth that says larger dogs get their adult teeth faster. So, what breed is your dog? At ten months he is a bit late, but..? The older of my two dogs also eats tree branches, grass, bones and practically anything that smells good (his opinion), but no rocks or dirt. He also sniffs the trash can if he has a chance, but he backs off if I even so much as look at him. I don't see a problem with my dog, but your dog eating rocks surely is a problem. – Esa Paulasto Jan 9 '14 at 5:54
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    @sulfureous You should look into a behavioral disorder called Pica. It might be anxiety related or boredom. It might be stress or frustration over inability to expel excess energy. It might even be related to real medical conditions like brain lesions or thyroid and liver problems. You would be best to rule out all possible medical conditions with your vet. – maple_shaft Jan 9 '14 at 13:23
  • @EsaPaulasto , my dog is a cross breed with what seems like Boxer and Pitbull. He's not a big dog, I would say medium at about 40 something pounds. I think he already got his adult teeth, but I'll pay attention to it more to see if I can find out if he might for some reason still be teething. In my opinion with the aid of other people replying here I think I might be dealing with boredom or excess energy with him because even my other dogs get tired of him and avoid him because he always wants to play. – sulfureous Jan 9 '14 at 16:29
  • @maple_shaft thank you very much for the reference on the Pica disorder, definitively something I didn't know about and will read about. I think you are right about him being anxious, bored and with excess energy. I will give a couple of weeks to try what Mahdi suggested in his answer as it should most likely relieve stress so I can start with the simpler things. Thanks again! – sulfureous Jan 9 '14 at 16:33
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It might help:

  1. Put him on leash, and go for a walk, just not to the places he usually goes for trashes -- you don't want to fight with his instincts, so try to avoid it at first.
  2. You must be alone, holding the leash. Ask a family member or a friend to bring the other two dogs as well, but walking quite far behind and without distraction -- you will need them later.
  3. When he shows interest/over-excitement for garbage (or whatever else), he must be like this, right?

enter image description here

What you need to do here is to make him calm down. Pull on the leash time to time, don't make noise, just something like "hey" or "it's okay", you should not being angry or aggressive at all. You can also touch him, so he can gently cool-down. At this point you must be about 5 meters from the trash and you should keep him there like that until he gives-up. Then you will see something like this probably:

enter image description here

From now onward, you have to walk with him like this, slowly going closer to the trash or object. He should NOT pull the leash, you should keep him calm. If he is pulling, then stop and wait until he calms down, then one step closer. Go closer until you get to the point that you're just a little bit far from the trash or object (but he still can't reach it), and let him sit down there. Seems you're waiting for someone, just wait there.

You will get to the following point soon or late:

enter image description here

Now bring the other dogs. Let them sit down there for a while. Like a normal summer day in your backyard. Then give some of their toys or even some food as a treat. Let them be there for a while and then start walking to the next point. If he is already tired, that's a good news, go back home and repeat it again another day.

Just remember this is the correct way of walking with a dog with a leash. He/she should not pull for any reason.

enter image description here

Update

BTW I forgot to mention two things:

  1. Feed him well with his favorite food before going for walk.
  2. Play with him in your place/backyard before going for walk so he wouldn't feel so excited. When playing, try to engaging him with his toys. Let him knows how he can enjoys playing with his toys.
  • Just wondering... do you know what kind of dog that first dog is? It looks like an English pointer, but not sure. He looks like mine, so... Just wondering. – jeremy Jan 9 '14 at 15:33
  • @Mahdi thank you very much for your detailed response. I will definitively start trying this out with him. Your update with the two points at the end was something I didn't think about either so thanks again! I'll let everyone know how it went in a pair of weeks with daily walks. – sulfureous Jan 9 '14 at 16:25
  • @Jeremy Well, that's a hard question. I can't tell you the breed, but I'm pretty sure it's not a pure English Pointer. The skin, coat and pow looks like a pointer, but they body, neck, tail and face are definitely something else. It might be mix or even mug -- more likely. You can post some of his photos on dog forums, but believe guessing breed is so hard. – Mahdi Jan 9 '14 at 16:57
  • @sulfureous You're very welcome. I'm looking forward to hearing some good news from you! Just don't give up, dogs live at the moment, so with 5-10 times repeating something, they're likely to pick it up. Also don't you forget to make it fun for yourself and your dog. Dogs are more than a pet, we need to understand them and everything will be better -- they try to understand us every second in their life. – Mahdi Jan 9 '14 at 17:01

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