help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.
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Thread: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

  1. #1
    Junior Member Jack_Shepherd's Avatar
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    help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    I have a 9 month old Lab/Shepherd who won’t stop eating tissue paper/toilet paper/paper towels. We keep our main trash can under the sink but the bathroom and bed room trash cans we keep on the floor. 90% of the time we keep the doors closed because we know he'll come running out with some if we don't. I'm really scared because when we clean the house some of the paper towels have chemicals like pledge, glass cleaner, and 409 on them. I turn around for a second and he's chomping down on them. I grab it from his mouth and say NO, give him a toy and say good boy! and throw the paper towel out. I figure after awhile of doing this he would be like.. OK this = sad, toy = YAY! Nope he will grab tissue paper and eat it. I'm thinking about getting a zap collar that vibrates when he miss behaves. Any thoughts or ideas?. Thanks!

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    Senior Member jesirose's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Keep the doors closed all th etime, and watch the puppy more.
    Reed: Wirehaired Vizsla, 10-18-09
    Sadie: American Eskimo Dog, 2-2-08
    Madison: Cocker Spaniel x Schnauzer? 12-2010

  4. #3
    Junior Member Jack_Shepherd's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    right, but I know that and thats not helpful. I need new ideas to try or tricks people have used etc.

  5. #4
    Senior Member jesirose's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Try teaching the leave it command. This is primarily an issue of prevention though. It is helpful if you keep the doors closed 100%. My bathroom door is NEVER open when the puppy is out of the crate. We don't have a problem with her stealing the TP anymore.
    Reed: Wirehaired Vizsla, 10-18-09
    Sadie: American Eskimo Dog, 2-2-08
    Madison: Cocker Spaniel x Schnauzer? 12-2010

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    Junior Member Jack_Shepherd's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Yea we use the drop it command and he normaly does after a few times, but some times he'll try to get you to chase him. I we try to keep the doors closed for the most part, but it's tuff to remember every time and I see it as a failure on my part that I have to do that. I should be able to teach him not to go in there and take TP. He's a very smart dog, so it's something on my part that im not doing.

  7. #6
    Senior Member jesirose's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Drop it is not Leave it.

    The failure is in assuming a 9 month old dog is smart enough to remember not to do something when no one is there to teach him otherwise. Dogs are IN the moment. If you're not watching him, he'll keep going in there. If you are watching - close the door, or use Leave It.
    Reed: Wirehaired Vizsla, 10-18-09
    Sadie: American Eskimo Dog, 2-2-08
    Madison: Cocker Spaniel x Schnauzer? 12-2010

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    Junior Member Jack_Shepherd's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    anyone else?

  9. #8
    Senior Member alphadoginthehouse's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Is he stealing the TP from the roll or the trash? If it's the trash, can you put the trash can up/in a cupboard. If it's from the roll, I have no ideas. I can honestly say I have never had a dog or a cat play with the TP roll. Sorry I'm not more help...

    It's hard to remember to close the door all the time...trust me I know. Consistency is the key for both of you...you with closing the door and him to not eat the paper. You can both learn...I know you can!



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    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    If you can't remember to close the door (and everybody forgets occasionally); then I suggest removing the bedroom trash can completely or getting one that has a closing lid with a foot pedal to open. For a bathroom trash can, either a foot pedal opener or keeping it under the sink (if you have a cabinet style sink).

    Alternatives could be baby-gating the hallway or doorway that leads to the bedroom and bath area (or stairs etc however your house is laid out) or getting creative-- you could attach a spring door-closing mechanism like is common on storm doors/screen doors to that the door's default is closed.

    But if you consciously make closing the door a habit, it will stay a habit; I've heard that if you do something (or not like quitting a bad habit) for 6 weeks, then you will keep doing it without thinking. True or not, after a reasonable time, the habit gets stronger.

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    Senior Member KBLover's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Maybe teach the TP roll to mean something else.

    Like lie on his spot.

    Pair the presence of TP with some command. For example, I show the tp and say the behavior I want him to do, like going to his place. Then reward.

    Keep it up and eventually the tp roll can predict the next cue and he'll go on his spot. Of course, this takes time as you want to cause the connection to the tp in many ways (like on the ground, in your hand, in all the rooms, etc) and it can be challenging in the beginning.

    Maybe something like that could help if the standard "leave it" doesn't work (though, it should I would think).

    Quote Originally Posted by Shell View Post
    But if you consciously make closing the door a habit, it will stay a habit; I've heard that if you do something (or not like quitting a bad habit) for 6 weeks, then you will keep doing it without thinking. True or not, after a reasonable time, the habit gets stronger.
    6 weeks?

    Wow, I heard 21 times - I love the habit theories
    Last edited by KBLover; 11-17-2009 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Junior Member Jack_Shepherd's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Good ideas guys thanks! I didn't even think of a baby gate. has anyone tried the bitter spray? I was thinking about giving that a shot as well.

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    It would seem to me that you'd have to spray bitter apple on every piece of trash that went into the can. Surely that's way more trouble than just keeping the door closed!

    For the nine? ten? years of my last dog's life, we kept the kitchen trash can on top of the clothes dryer in the kitchen. That's what kind of dog trainer I am


    RIP Clifford, who never met a stranger

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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by jesirose View Post
    Keep the doors closed all th etime, and watch the puppy more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Shepherd View Post
    right, but I know that and thats not helpful. I need new ideas to try or tricks people have used etc.

    How is it not helpful? If you keep the doors closed the puppy can't get to them....problem solved.

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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    With some of our more difficult puppies, we have used mousetraps. Set it on the floor in front of the trash can. One snap is enough to keep some dogs away for good. Others are smart enough to defeat them.

  16. #15
    Senior Member jesirose's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    What the hell.
    Reed: Wirehaired Vizsla, 10-18-09
    Sadie: American Eskimo Dog, 2-2-08
    Madison: Cocker Spaniel x Schnauzer? 12-2010

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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    How is it not helpful? If you keep the doors closed the puppy can't get to them....problem solved.
    His dog might be able to operate door knobs.

  18. #17
    Senior Member jesirose's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by lizziedog1 View Post
    His dog might be able to operate door knobs.
    Then he should say so.

    But I doubt it's the case.
    Reed: Wirehaired Vizsla, 10-18-09
    Sadie: American Eskimo Dog, 2-2-08
    Madison: Cocker Spaniel x Schnauzer? 12-2010

  19. #18
    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    I don't think the op is getting what is being said here...THEORETICALLY certainly you can teach your dog to NOT eat paper, but the problem here is twofold:
    1/not enough management from the owner (keeping doors closed, making sure any chemically treated paper products are in a HIDDEN garbage can or taken out of the house when used) and not enough supervision.
    2/an adolescent dog who finds paper to be SELF REWARDING. Self rewarding behaviours respond better to extinction (see management) combined with training. I certainly would be hesitant to use an ecollar for this as there is risk he may misconstrue what the stim is for..possibly resulting in a dog that won't go in the bathroom or bedroom at all..timing is so very important in using training of any kind and if you find that management is too hard I really can't see you using an ecollar in the proper way either. There are few quick fixes in dog training, especially in innate behaviours like garbage stealing.

    Keep working on the drop and the leave it in your regular training sessions so the dog has a good reinforcement history (learning) for those moments when you really need it. You need to set the base before expecting a good response under distraction.

    Manage your garbage so that things are not tempting for him...he's been intermittently self-rewarded for taking the paper things so this makes the behaviour stronger.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


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    Junior Member Jack_Shepherd's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by emily445455 View Post
    How is it not helpful? If you keep the doors closed the puppy can't get to them....problem solved.
    Im not trying to train myself, im trying to train my dog. At sometime and some point we are going to leave the door open or a friend is going to leave the door open, this is not a solution to the problem this is a work around. I want to be able to train my dog to not go though the trash.

    Quote Originally Posted by lizziedog1 View Post
    His dog might be able to operate door knobs.
    Not yet, but he's starting to figure it out... they are the long handles you push down to open.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cracker View Post
    I don't think the op is getting what is being said here...THEORETICALLY certainly you can teach your dog to NOT eat paper, but the problem here is twofold:
    1/not enough management from the owner (keeping doors closed, making sure any chemically treated paper products are in a HIDDEN garbage can or taken out of the house when used) and not enough supervision.
    2/an adolescent dog who finds paper to be SELF REWARDING. Self rewarding behaviours respond better to extinction (see management) combined with training. I certainly would be hesitant to use an ecollar for this as there is risk he may misconstrue what the stim is for..possibly resulting in a dog that won't go in the bathroom or bedroom at all..timing is so very important in using training of any kind and if you find that management is too hard I really can't see you using an ecollar in the proper way either. There are few quick fixes in dog training, especially in innate behaviours like garbage stealing.

    Keep working on the drop and the leave it in your regular training sessions so the dog has a good reinforcement history (learning) for those moments when you really need it. You need to set the base before expecting a good response under distraction.

    Manage your garbage so that things are not tempting for him...he's been intermittently self-rewarded for taking the paper things so this makes the behaviour stronger.
    Thank you for the info, this was helpful! We live in a small apt so it's one second he's chewing his bone and the next kathy (my girl friend) leaves the door open and he running out chomping away. We are trying really hard to keep the doors closed, but like I said thats just a work around a larger problem. We try to leave him out as much as possible when we are home because he is crated during the day while we work. I don't want to have to crate him everytime we start making dinner or watch tv etc. I was thinking about bringing a trash can out and everytime he walks up to in and sticks his head in tell him no, and when walks away give him a treat, or something along those lines. I also make sure not to punish him when he drops the TP when I ask.
    Last edited by Jack_Shepherd; 11-18-2009 at 09:35 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  21. #20
    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: help me stop my dog from eating tissue paper.

    If your three-year-old puts her hand on the hot handle of a pot on a stove burner, you absolutely tell her not to touch the pot...but you also stop putting the pots on the front burners of the stove where your three-year-old can get to them, because you aren't going to watch her every second and she might forget what you thought you taught her.

    You can train a dog to stay out of the trashcan, but one of the most integral parts of that training is going to be your presence. You will need to keep an eagle eye on the dog so that you can interrupt and correct the bad behavior, then redirect the dog to a positive one. It seems to me that you are not able to keep that kind of an eye on the dog, hence the reason it is able to sneak off and steal trash.

    There's no shame in getting trashcans with lids or keeping the bathroom door shut or putting the hazardous waste in a different room or whatever. It isn't a "work around," it's a solution.


    RIP Clifford, who never met a stranger

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