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Does anyone else have a healthy dog that CONSTANTLY scavenges?

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  • Does anyone else have a healthy dog that CONSTANTLY scavenges?

    Our 1 yr old Dachshund, Odie, is in great shape: healthy weight, dewormed regularly, gets plenty of exercise, gets plenty of attention, eats good food but will constantly search for food. He eats the cat's food, eats the cat's poop, will search the cushions for crumbs, has amazed us with his counter surfing techniques, will grab food from little Chachie, and even eat paper or wood. He has toys and our other dogs to play with. He doesn't drink excessively. Stools are normal. There is no physical reason for this behavior.
    But Odie is always always on the hunt for food, no matter what he is doing, where he is. He acts like he is starving. And it's driving me nuts.
    We do not feed people food but when we got him, he knew very well what it was.
    I'm a former career vet tech so I'm pretty knowledgeable about the possibilities of underlying issues so I had blood work done. Nothing was out of order. His blood work was perfect.
    So what the heck can I do to break this constant hunt for food?

  • #2
    Subbing as I recently acquired a 19 month old female (spayed) Rottweiler who does the same thing but not as aggressively as your Odie. BTW, her medical history is nearly identical to your Dachshund

    I have had three other Rottweilers in my life, their quest for food & other stuff was never this enthusiastic.

    i am blaming it on the previous owners two older children who were ten & eight. I think, they fed the pup anything and everything they did and did not want when nobody was looking.

    Freyja is a forward type dog and thankfully was formally obedience trained by her previous owner. But her food & scavenging manners are not so great, lol. She has stolen dog treats literally rght out from under the nose of my Catahoula/Pit mix. She is making progress to sit and wait as long as I am standing there.

    She tried to eat the cat poop a few tins but did stop -- I don't think the taste of "Fresh Step" appeals to her

    Anyway, I'm of no help --- merely sharing your misery and hoping someone has an answer

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep, they were called corgis! Lol!

      Both were four-legged vacuum cleaners, even as old dogs. It’s annoying, but generally harmless—except for the occasional emergency vet visit when they snarfed a large bar of chocolate or a bottle of dilauded pain pills.
      "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive

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      • #4
        Can you provide puzzles with food, snuffle mats? Slow feeders?
        Play scent games with him?
        Hide and seek with toys?
        and of course keep couters clear of food and cat food and litter boxes inaccessible.
        "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

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        • #5
          My Cockers! Our walks involve me dragging them as they sniff for rabbit and deer poop, and anything tossed from moving cars.

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          • #6
            All of my labs all of my life have been like this. Counter surfers. Anything that is food or formerly was food (now poop/manure or cat/dog vomit) is fair game.
            Heck sometimes if it touched food it is fair game. My MIL was over one day and dropped a piece of the wax paper that comes between pieces of pre-packed cheese. My lab scarfed it up off the floor. She was like it wasn't even food. Both DH and I said but it touched food.

            One lab ate an entire container of Crisco out of the lazy Susan cabinet. Over the years he also ate a 5 pound bag of carrots, 6 pounds of apples, the fish food, a bag of powdered sugar, multiple packs of Big Red gum at once.

            My fathers's labs ate half a 40 pound bag of dog food, the top half of a turkey left to thaw in the kitchen sink, 48 fundraiser chocolate bars, the delivery of sour cream to the local restaurant at the golf course.

            My foxhound was pretty food motivated. Thankfully she didn't learn to counter surf. But wouldn't turn down anything that was on a coffee table or the floor.

            I am actually more puzzled by dogs that don't suck down their meals and can be free fed.

            I think some breeds and some dogs just tend to really like their food and are walking vacuums.
            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, using your nose to scrounge around for tidbits sounds like a really fun game if you ask me!

              Since he's told you that he likes this sniff-and-find game, you can give him more appropriate ways to satisfy this urge as others have suggested: food puzzles, scent work, treat and toy hide-and-seek...There is no reason to you need to plop down a bowl of dog food in front of him twice a day, so don't be shy stealing from his "rations."

              Simultaneously, you can slowly begin to teach him to "ask" before eating. Admittedly, in my limited experience with Dachshunds they were the type to ask forgiveness rather than permission, but that probably had more to do with the type of owner they attract.

              You start with teaching a basic "leave it" which entails holding a treat in your hand, letting them mug you until they give up, and as soon as they stop giving them an EVEN YUMMIER treat as a reward. There are thousands of really helpful videos on YouTube. I like this one but you will be spoiled for choice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztRNfyErf8s

              Personally, I think you could reduce this behavior, though not overnight. Training "leave it" really just installs this moment of "Oh, that looks yummy/like fun, I want to do that, BUT SHOULD I..." I wouldn't recommend that you teach "leave it" once and then follow your dog around commanding him to leave it - it's a waste of your time. But people often teach their dogs not to eat things found on walks, so I don't see why you couldn't also teach him not to eat things found on floors or in couch cushions.

              If you don't already, you can also start asking him to wait or do any number of silly tricks before being given anything, such as his meals, other treats, etc.

              As for the couch-diving itself, I'd distract him when he looks like he's about to go for it, and offer him something more fun to do.

              Your story says "bored" rather than "hungry" to me, and Dachshunds suffer terribly if they're overweight.
              Disclaimer: My mom told me that people might look at my name and think I had an addiction other than horses. I don't; his name was Bravado.

              Comment


              • #8
                hmm - after having goldens for 30+ years, I thought that was normal dog behavior. Our current dog, an SM, is worse. My last golden, when he was a puppy, jumped on the table and ate the sweet corn COBS left over from supper. DH's hunting buddy's lab eats soap - when sharing a hotel room on hunting trips, they have to hide the soap. He will dig it out of luggage, etc. And they all - all - eat horse poop and any cat poop they can find. I have to sweep after the farrier or they will eat so many hoof trimmings that they end up barfing later...

                Comment


                • #9
                  I did and do now again. One was mostly a ridgeback X, he was a terrible counter surfer until he got too old to get on his back legs (which was not until just a few months before we had to let him go at 13!!) He would also steal dog food cans and crunch them flat to eat the dog food (powerful jaws at 95 lbs The worst was him eating an entire container of sugar free gum with xylitol in it. Thankfully I caught him and made him throw it up, that coupled with his size and he lived through it.

                  Out APBT now is a counter surfer, amazing how she can stretch herself so far to get stuff off the counter. She is not quite as bad as our old guy was, can actually leave food sitting and go into the other room for something and it be safe. Worst so far is she ate a rope off a toy, made her throw that up. Silly silly dogs.

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                  • #10
                    Every lab I’ve ever owned. Lol! First lab taught me the importance of putting everything away after every meal. He ate a can of Crisco, a frozen ham, a box of Christmas cookies and drank a pan of soapy, chicken flavored water that was in the sink. No ill effects from any of it.

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                    • #11
                      Holeeeee-Moleeee! I'm showing this thread to DH, who thinks the new Rottweiler is bad about eating things and I thought was sorta bad ---- she doesn't begin to get on the scale, after reading all these posts, lol

                      Thank you everyone

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                      • #12
                        I also thought that was normal dog behavior. Cat food needs to be on a table or shelf; cat litter needs a door/gate, garbage cans need a secure lid. Food on the counter is just an invitation. It needs to be put away. A microwave is a great investment to hold various things out of the reach of animals. I throw my hoof trimmings in the garbage because they will steal them from the manure pile and eat them until they barf.

                        Crumbs in the couch cushions? Well, yeah, of course the dogs are going to eat them! Which is preferable to attracting mice, maybe. So.....be thankful or not so messy.

                        My garden has a fence which is for rabbits but also keeps the dogs from stealing cucumbers and brussell sprouts off the plant. Occasionally a cucumber vine will grow over the fence and they will get it. I'll find them in the yard with big bites out of them.

                        Rabbit and deer poop....not much you can do about it other than an electric collar but in general I don't bother.

                        Gum - never even bring it into the house - ever. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Our nine month old German Shorthair Pointer is like that. He never ends his search for food, and has demonstrated remarkable counter surfing technique as well as superior jumping and climbing skills. We have had several GSPs and none of them have been like this, nor have any of our labs or goldens. His high water mark was eating a cube of butter we had left on the counter, leaving nary a speck of it anywhere. Cat food is a favorite, but we have finally managed to keep him out of it as long as no one forgets to shut doors. I'm amazed he isn't a fatty, but he isn't.
                          Mystic Owl Sporthorses
                          www.mysticowlsporthorses.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Our beagle was this dog!
                            I love that multiple people have had dogs eat whole containers of Crisco! J never got into crisco . . . or if she did I can't remember it. But she did eat multiple tubs (in her lifetime) of butter. After first carefully prying the container open with her teeth.
                            She also would get coffee grounds out of the trash joyfully, which lead to a series of increasingly elaborate trashcan security measures in our kitchen.
                            Once she made it on top of the kitchen counter (a beagle!) where she proceeded to snarf down about three bites of brownies right out of the pan before knocking the pan off the counter. We found her hours later still standing up there, totally freaked out and too afraid to jump down.

                            Her most expensive adventure was with 8 of those solid chocolate oranges. A tenth of her weight in chocolate spelled out a vet visit and an overnight stay as well. Luckily she recovered fine after having her stomach pumped.

                            Over the years she finished a couple different loaves of bread. She would get so stuffed that she could just lie on her side, and if you touched her tummy, it was as tight as a drum, poor thing. She also ate dirt and grass, which we thought might have been some kind of vitamin deficiency, but she also had normal bloodwork.

                            In my opinion her most famous eating adventure was when she got a pack of asthma meds out of my backpack and popped each blister in the blister pack to carefully eat about 20 pills. When we told my doctor he replied "well, that is supposed to be a very safe medication!"

                            Best of luck with your snarfer. As others have said, it will teach you to never leave food at dog height (or within several inches of the edge of a countertop!)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oh yes...a lifetime of Corgis that all did/do this constantly. Healthy, lots of exercise, obedience and agility training but they all act like they are starving

                              I’ve always thought it was just dog behavior

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by MissCoco View Post
                                Our beagle was this dog!
                                I love that multiple people have had dogs eat whole containers of Crisco! J never got into crisco . . . or if she did I can't remember it. But she did eat multiple tubs (in her lifetime) of butter. After first carefully prying the container open with her teeth.
                                She also would get coffee grounds out of the trash joyfully, which lead to a series of increasingly elaborate trashcan security measures in our kitchen.
                                Once she made it on top of the kitchen counter (a beagle!) where she proceeded to snarf down about three bites of brownies right out of the pan before knocking the pan off the counter. We found her hours later still standing up there, totally freaked out and too afraid to jump down.

                                Her most expensive adventure was with 8 of those solid chocolate oranges. A tenth of her weight in chocolate spelled out a vet visit and an overnight stay as well. Luckily she recovered fine after having her stomach pumped.

                                Over the years she finished a couple different loaves of bread. She would get so stuffed that she could just lie on her side, and if you touched her tummy, it was as tight as a drum, poor thing. She also ate dirt and grass, which we thought might have been some kind of vitamin deficiency, but she also had normal bloodwork.

                                In my opinion her most famous eating adventure was when she got a pack of asthma meds out of my backpack and popped each blister in the blister pack to carefully eat about 20 pills. When we told my doctor he replied "well, that is supposed to be a very safe medication!"

                                Best of luck with your snarfer. As others have said, it will teach you to never leave food at dog height (or within several inches of the edge of a countertop!)
                                Wow....maybe closer supervision would have helped? Finding your dog "hours later" on the counter should have been quite a lesson.

                                This is why people need to crate or confine their dogs when they aren't home. Foods and medications are often fatal to dogs.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  One thing that helped for me was buying a very nice “baby gate” with a smaller gate for the cat to pass through. I have labs, so they sit and stare at my cat’s room, but they can’t get in. Rest of the house is like Fort Knox for food.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    S1969 yes, crating probably would have been a better solution for our dog!
                                    She was crated as a puppy, but by the time she was old enough to not chew on non food or toy items, my dad started working from home, and then her crate just fell out of use, you are right that she probably would have had fewer adventures with odd food items if it stayed in use.

                                    She lived with us for 13+ years, and despite the many anecdotes I listed, I don't think we were bad owners.
                                    Despite baby-proofing most drawers and cupboards, with two kids in the house (one of whom was me), things didn't always get "fort-knoxed" to her standards.

                                    Our family learned many lessons from her, and one of them was that she could be very quiet when getting into things, all of those incidents except the brownies and dumpster-diving for coffee grounds happened when at least one person was home. She was a rather independent soul, so it wasn't necessarily suspicious for her to be napping in another room when we were home. But your point is well taken, and excellent advice as well!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      There is a theory that for labs food obsession could be genetic.

                                      https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/...one-to-obesity

                                      I'm so glad to have a lab that is the least food motivated dog I've ever met.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        So I was in IKEA lining up for lunch. A woman had a PADs puppy (a lab about 3 months old, or so) There was a clod of dirt on the floor from somebody's shoe and I saw her give a click and give the pup a treat. So I asked her what she did it for, and she said it was to tell the pup he could not sniff the clod of dirt....so that discouraged him. So now we know!

                                        Start young and be consistent.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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