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advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 24 Jan 2010, 17:47
by marionfunnell
Hi - just got back from our afternoon walk and Finn now has a plastic headless doll kind of thing in his tummy. The leave it training had been going so well and on his morning walk he is fantastic, it just seems to be his afternoon one that is the problem.

We are now considering putting a muzzle on him to stop this behaviour as we now have a few anxious days to see if whatever it was that he swallowed comes through. This is not our first time - he has swallowed a poo bag (with poo in) that took abouty 4 days to come through and at least one more poo bag as well as dead fish, other smaller bits of plastic and numerous socks. The socks however, he usually vomits up but the rest have all, so far, come out the other end.

We don't really want to muzzle and are wondering whether it could be because he has his dinner after the afternoon walk at the moment due to the darker nights and is possibly a bit hungry during the walk. I always have treats with me but today even liver cake didn't tempt him away, also another local dog walker tried to help but Finn just kept running away and chewing faster!


Marion and Finn

Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 24 Jan 2010, 17:58
by Daisy(mini)Doodle
We did meet a Labrador owner back in the summer who had his dog muzzled, after a £500 vets surgery bill as the dog kept eating plastic bottles etc, what about trying one of those spray collars to use as a deterrent for a while that should emphasise the leave it command

Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 24 Jan 2010, 18:08
by Bid
One of Daisy's sisters was a poo eater with a very sensitive tum, and was forever going through bad bouts of collitis, so her Mum got her a muzzle. THis stopped the poo eating, but there were downsides - people kept away from her because they thought she was vicious, and other dogs regularly got clonked on the head with her muzzle and started to back away from her :( . The spray collar worked well with her as a means of learning the leave command (not as a deterrent), but it had to be done very carefully so that she didn't know who was doing it, and she has to wear the collar all the time, just in case :|

Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 25 Jan 2010, 00:34
by jojorolo
We are having similar problems with Rolo who is 6 months. He is a dreadful scavenger. He went through a poo eating stage but last week he swallowed a glove almost whole and then a dirty rag in the park. He is very good at 'leaving it' in the house but not so good outside. Like you I am worried he will eat something dangerous. Also find it hard keeping track of whether it comes out the other end, although the vet said he would be in discomfort if it was still in there.
I really dont want to muzzle him and maybe the spray collar is the answer.

We also have a stealing thing going on in the house but only when we are not in the room. However hard we try to keep everything out of reach, as soon as we leave the room you can guarantee when you go back in, he will be chewing (or eating) something with a really guilty look on his face.

Any advice welcome! Have a feeling you are all going to say "Its a doodle thing!"

Jo :roll:

Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 25 Jan 2010, 00:52
by KateW
I do hope Finn manages to expel the doll naturally....

It is a worry when they scavenge like this; one thing that worked well for us was giving Rufus something to carry (a favourite ball) as his main scavenging took place while he was on the lead and walking to the beach/park,etc. They do grow out of the ordinary scavenging; Rufus will only show an interest now if he finds something horribly decomposed (usually rolls rather than eats) or very interesting. You really have to keep working on the "Leave" command....

Personally I would only think of using a spray collar if I was working with a trainer; I feel Rufus's reflexes are faster than mine which defeats the purpose and it is very easy to make a dog nervous.

If the scavenging is only happening in a certain place, perhaps you could use a muzzle just there....I agree with Bid that the downside of a muzzle is that the attitude of others changes.


Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 25 Jan 2010, 17:31
by marionfunnell
Hi - thanks for the replies. I don't really want to muzzle Finn because of the reactions from other people and dogs and am glad to hear they grow out of it. Part of the doll came out this morning and am following the advice of the vet nurse I spoke to yesterday and feeding him little and often to not overload his digestive system to try and help nature take its course.

I think I am going to hold off on the muzzle and try a long lead for his afternoon walks so that if I see him going for something at least I can get him to me and try and get him to drop it, and try Kate's idea of getting him to carry a toy whilst we are walking.

It makes me wonder why he can leave a piece of dropped chicken or liver cake at home but wants some horrible plastic thing that a non dog owner has dropped and not bothered to pick up. Seems crazy to me. :lol:

Well, I guess its just keep persevering with the leave it and at least it hasn't seemed to upset him or his tummy in anyway.


Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 26 Jan 2010, 03:15
by watto
Glad nature seems to be taking it's course. I can't believe how much having a dog changes us. If you had told me a year ago I would be routinely examining dog poo (or spending a ridiculous amount of time on a Labradoodle forum :lol: ) I would have told you you were mad!?

Hope Finn is OK.


Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 26 Jan 2010, 14:29
by peelm

Longish post alert (sorry)

Fozz was a real scavenger. One day he ate a solid plastic pouch full of fish bait. After a trip to the vets, I decided I had to do something.
After talking to the other trainers at our training school, I tried the spray collar, which worked very well for a week or so, but he just got used to it. What has worked for us is a corrector spray.
I just shadowed him at a bit of a distance and when he picked something up, I asked him to leave it. If he didn’t, I’d turn away and give a squirt the corrector spray in his general direction. When he left it alone, I gave him a treat and played with him for a minute or two I did this for a few days, and now he’s really good. It seems that there were two positive results.

1> he tends to scavenge less and
2> when he does look like he’s going to grab something, his leave is now really good. He’s not scared, just aware of what used to come next if he didn’t leave it.

As has already been said, if you’re not experienced with using a spray collar or corrector spray, find a good local trainer to help out. You shouldn’t correct for just sniffing, but when he pics something up.

The other thing I did was deliberately start to play a game or do some heel work or some form of training at the notorious scavenging sites. This has also really helped as I think the scavenging became a habit “Oh there’s always something to eat around here, I’ll go look….”
There are those who will say that the use of any kind of correction tool shouldn’t be considered, but I think sometimes it really is in the dog’s best interests to try and sort out the issue quickly.
I have to say, all of this hasn’t stopped his love of fox poo…. 

As for socks etc, this one’s real easy. Don’t leave them where he can find them 
Seriously, I think with doods, you should be ready to doodle proof your house.

Does he have lots of toys, or just a couple? If the answer is lots, keep two or three out and put the rest away. When he grabs something he shouldn’t have, give him one of his toys and play for a little while. A behaviourist told me that dogs with lots of toys can start to associate everything that’s soft and fluffy, or chewable as a toy, regardless of who it belongs to. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but it makes sense when I think about it. Change one toy every couple of weeks so he doesn’t get bored with them…

If you want to keep all the toys out, you could try and put them in some sort of container so if he wants something, he gets used to the fact that all “his” stuff is in “his” box…

Hope some of this is useful.

Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 26 Jan 2010, 15:16
by jojorolo
Your dogs are gorgeous, what kind of labradoodles are they?

Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 26 Jan 2010, 16:02
by peelm
Thank you. I think so too, but I'm just a little biased.
Fozzie is a 3 year old silver F3b.
Dylan is an 18 month cream F1b rescue.

There's loads more of them on my website if you want to check them out..

Thanks again. I'll tell them when I get home :-)


Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 26 Jan 2010, 20:39
by marionfunnell
We start our silver training class soon so will ask the trainers there about correction. Finn's toys are kept in a box in the cupboard and we let him have 3 or 4 at a time and then we change them over, maybe I should keep one back for use on walks only so that it is a real treat and try that as a distraction.

Saying that though, I was rushing to get him out today and forgot to take a toy but we didn't have any problems at all and he walked past tissues, dropped gloves, bottles and plastic bags without paying the slightest interest at all. Why are dogs so confusing? :D

He is not off his food at all although his poo is a bit runny and his wind is a bit smelly!!!! (only to be expected I suppose).

Good job we love him! :)

Re: advice re possibility of muzzle

Posted: 15 Feb 2010, 23:34
by daffodil
Buster is now 14 months old and has stoppped being a poo eater after muzzling him and escortong him from the park when he offends by eating poo or refusing to leave whatever he had acquired. This appears to have had a deterrent effect as we only had to muzzle him few times consistently over a month before he soon realised why his walks were so short. We would not interact with him aprt from the leave and naughty command, put the muzzle on and then put him straight on the short lead and walk purposely out of the park or after placing the muzzle swapping from the long lead to the short lead and out until he came home. The muzzle would be immediately taken off after walking 5 minutes from park to home and I would escort him to the kitchen by the collar and ask him to sit. Then give the sit command and say naughty and he would spend 5 minutes for poo and 10 minutes for something more dangerous for example a discarded firework casing! He soon learnt what the outcome of his antics would be and he has since learnt his lesson.

The muzzle we selected was a soft fabric muzzle and as it would be put on so rarely he associated this with discipline. At first he tried the puppy look antics - I am so sorry, I will lie here and be good if you take off routine and wouldn't budge, so I left him to sit and then when he made eye contact again when realising he wouldn't get away with it I would command him to get up and he would then be escorted back out of the park. I think he got the hang of it pretty quick as we purposely walked past other dogs so he realised all the fun he was missing out on! :lol: :twisted:

Good luck!