We apologize for the downtime. During this maintenance period, the site has been upgraded to the newest versions to enhance the user experience. Please note we are still working on the site, so its appearance may change from time to time over the next few days.
A seemingly constant source of anxiety for me is walking my dog and being too slow to stop her from inhaling a chicken bone or anything else that I don't want her consuming. I realize that this behavior has been reinforced intrinsically and it seems like a monumental task to stop the behavior without some well timed aversive
My priority in training and conditioning has been to diminish reactivity, fear, and anxiety. I'm hesitant (unable) to implement an aversive stimulus, especially one associated with me, because I want my dog to feel safe in the world and can't justify upsetting the progress we've made . This seems to be one place that it might be necessary or appropriate, as management is quite difficult. Am I correct in assuming that conditioning an alternate response to ingesting a tasty treat on the ground would be difficult? I had the idea of planting bones wired to stakes and rewarding with a super food when she turned away from them. Has anyone solved this problem before?
Discouraging dogs from eating things off the ground is very difficult because it is so self-rewarding. The best course of action is to teach a rock solid "leave it" with super yummy treats like deli meat, hot dogs, or cheese. Start in your house without anything to difficult to 'leave", and then slowly up the difficulty.
While you are training a leave it cue, you may want to have your dog wear a basket muzzle while out and about so he cannot get ahold of garbage on the ground and self-reward. You can look up the "muzzle up" project to teach your dog to enjoy a muzzle. A combination of preventing the undesirable behavior and training will hopefully help you reach the desired outcome.
You definitely need to work on leave it. You especially can’t expect a dog to leave alone something that exciting with no prior training sessions. Check out Zak George on YouTube for leave it exercises.
Good luck to you!