Help! My Lab eats bags of poo

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by Deb369, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. Deb369

    Deb369 Registered Users

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    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    I have a beautiful 9 month old black girl. She ate her own faeces when she was very young. We pick it up straight away so she doesn't get the opportunity to do it now. Sometimes she will eat other dogs poo too.
    Our problem is poo bags. She finds them on the ground and eats them. She has now swallowed a total of 6. This number would be much higher if we didn't manage to get them out of her mouth! She has been taught 'drop' and 'leave' and sometimes she does listen but not always. It is very frustrating watching her swallow the bag. Any attempt to move towards her results in her running away (her recall is mostly excellent) The bags usually pass through her but she has had to go to the vet when she ate a carrier bag containing poo! The vet made her sick which was a very stressful time for her and cost me £180!
    She also grabs poo bags from people as they walk along. She lets go when told but it usually ends up in a torn bag. It is really embarassing. Most dog owners are horrified.
    I am getting very stressed out with her because our walks aren't enjoyable when I am constantly checking on her. I now avoid people carrying bags.
    I don't want her to spend her life on the end of a lead and I certainly don't want to muzzle her.
    This is my first post and I apologise for it being so long but I hope somebody can advise me. HELP!
    Thanks in advance.
    Deb
     
  2. sarah@forumHQ

    sarah@forumHQ Moderator

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    Hi Deb,

    Welcome to the forum :)

    Dogs have an amazing knack for presenting us with icky problems!

    I do wonder if a muzzle would be a good short term precaution, to make sure she is safe from causing herself harm, while you work on a more long term solution. Wearing a muzzle doesn't have to be stressful or unkind on your girl, if you teach her to accept it gradually with lots of treats. The PDSA and Blue Cross websites both have information about force-free muzzle training. Unfortunately it might not stop her mushing her face into "loose" poo, and I'm afraid cleaning that off a muzzle is pretty grim work, but it would stop her wolfing down plastic bags. It's something to consider anyway.

    A long term solution might be to teach her to associate spotting a poo bag with an excellent treat. If she's clicker trained you can click whenever you spot a poo bag. And start with truly amazing treats - sardines dished out of a pot with a baby spoon, or pieces of warm meat - something so good that when she spots a poo bag the most rewarding course of action is to find you for her treat. Eventually you can fade out the treats to regular kibble. An in-person consultation with a positive reinforcement trainer might be helpful for getting started.

    Good luck, let us know how you get on!
     
  3. Deb369

    Deb369 Registered Users

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    Location:
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    Hi

    Thanks for your reply.

    I was considering using a muzzle despite being unhappy about it. She is very unpredictable because sometimes she will leave the bag alone when told leave or drop it if she had picked it up and other times she will just ignore me and eat it! Any attempt to go to her results in her running off with it. Keeping her on a lead would solve the problem but it would be a sad life for her. She is coming up to 10 months
    old and loves her freedom. I think I would rather use a muzzle than keep her on a lead.

    She is clicker trained but the lure of a poo bag seems to be too much for her to resist. I hav
     
  4. Deb369

    Deb369 Registered Users

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Ooops... I accidentally sent the previous message before I finished it because my arm was nudged by a wet nose!

    I have been thinking of delicious treats to try to lure her away from the bags. I am sure she would love your suggestions.

    I know Labs are scavengers and do eat all kinds of things but I have yet to meet anybody who has known dogs to eat the bags too!

    I will let you know how we get on.

    Thanks again
    Deb
     
    sarah@forumHQ likes this.

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