How can I stop my dog from eating everything?

I have a 2 year old border collie mix who had stomach surgery about a month ago because he somehow ate a pinecone. He could have died from this, and I am so scared because he STILL is trying to eat everything he sees outside. I don’t let him out unless I’m with him, but he always manages to somehow find something to put in his mouth and try to eat. I try to watch him as close as I can, but as all you dog owners know, there is no way I can prevent him from snatching something up in a second and swallowing it. I feed him enough, and have tried switching him to different foods to keep him full. He gets plenty of exercise every day. He has plenty of toys to keep his mind occupied as well. I am at a loss; I don’t know what to do. I’m so concerned he’s going to eat something again that he shouldn’t. I don’t want to put a muzzle on him, but I am feeling like this might be coming down to my only option. Can someone tell me if this is a god or bad idea? If it’s a good idea, are there any types of muzzles that you can recommend to me? I have no clue what to look for, as I have never had to muzzle any of my dogs before. Has anyone had the same problems with their dogs? Thank you so much for any feedback that you give, I definitely need it!!!

Asked by Chance on Dec 11th 2013 in Behavior & Training
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I suggest a basket muzzle. That is the kind greyhounds use while racing. Most dogs who eat inappropriate items continue to do do this so I would put the basket muzzle on when he is not on leash.

Sandy answered on 12/11/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Toto, CD, RN, CGC

I would teach a good "drop it" or "leave it" command so that whenever he is sniffing the ground you can have him drop whatever he picks up BEFORE he swallows it.
Teach the command inside at first, and use gradually higher value items to proof him with such as pieces of meats, etc. Once he has it 100% indoors you can start outside. It WILL take work on your part, but it will potentially save his life.

Toto, CD, RN, CGC answered on 12/11/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer

Tasha (in memory)

I agree that when your dog listens better, it will not be a problem. This dog should be leashed at all times. Then, leave it, drop it and come MUST be reinforced daily with 100% compliance by your dog. This will take time and effort from both of you, but it can save a life. When you think he's got it, practice it at least once a day outside too. A gentle leader headcollar might help you control him better physically as well, if you have to pull him away from something. ^_^

Tasha (in memory) answered on 12/11/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


You might try to schedule feeding him right before the outside times.

Ichabod answered on 12/11/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Are you following a feeding schedule for your dog? Make sure you do it as it has other benefits too especially in potty training. Aside from that, I would suggest that you walk your dog on a leash so that you can control him. Train him also so that he would refrain whenever you say "No!" or "Stop!".

Member 1166037 answered on 12/13/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I doubt it's a feeding issue with your dog. My guy had pretty much the same problem. He ate a baseball, paper, pinecones, sticks...luckily he had a rock-hard tummy and it always went right through him (his doo was the proof...)

I'd suggest finding a basket muzzle if you want an immediate might be tough since dogs generally hate things on their heads like that.

Definitely teach him a "leave it" command. Start inside with a toy/treat, walk him by it (he's on a leash) and say "leave it", be sure to correct the instant he even LOOKS at the toy with "lust"... It will take a while to learn, but the leave it command is VERY handy.

I use the command with my dogs at feeding time. Sometimes I drop a pill that only one dog needs, so I just say "leave it" and then pick up the pill without worrying about the wrong pooch snatching it.

It's also pretty common for young dogs to be pigs, it shouldn't be a huge issue when he matures more (another 1-2yrs)

Best wishes! :)

Merry Christmas!

Shasta answered on 12/23/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer