View Full Version : My Cavalier eats everything .... any tips/advice?

23rd March 2011, 10:41 AM
I bring my Cavalier to the woods where he loves to run around and play but problem I have is that he loves eating sticks, branches, horse poo, rabbit poo .... everything really. I've tried holding him on a short leash but hard to correct and reward him when you're trying to figure out is he just sniffing the item on the ground or ready to gobble it up. I have the idea that if I put a muzzle on him for a few weeks it might help but my husband who has the dog spoiled rotten won't have it. I'm trying to convince him that it would be better than a trip to the vet to have a stick or piece of wood removed from his little belly. Any tips or ideas on how you've handled it?

Much appreciated and thanks

Kate H
23rd March 2011, 12:24 PM
Very common Cavalier behaviour, I'm afraid - most of them are plain greedy and everything needs to be investigated as potential food! I've never found an answer - my ruby Oliver regularly gives himself worms by picking up food off the pavement (until you have a Cavalier, you don't realise how much food people throw around!), and my first Cavalier Charlie scavenged something in the fields that gave him virulent gastro-enteritis that killed him at 4 years old. I don't know whether you live in the UK, but there is also a strange woodland disease that killed several dogs last year - possibly related to fungi, but the Animal Health Trust are investigating the cause. Keeping them on the lead isn't really the answer - Oliver picks up food before I see it, and then clamps his jaw tight shut so that I can't remove it! A muzzle could be a good idea - tell your husband about my Charlie so that he realises the dangers!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

23rd March 2011, 01:24 PM
I am thinking about making a soft muzzle as Gracie is the same way outside and it has given her colitis a couple of times... and she has IBS she gets that easily. I agree that it is hard to tell when just sniffing for place to potty or trying to eat something. So seriously considering this option. May using some soft elastic and a piece of mesh fabric over her nose. She could still lick a bit but I can tell when that is happening.

23rd March 2011, 01:26 PM
I think it really depends on how much chewing is being done. Many if not most dogs enjoy eating the feces of other animals–with mine it is deer poop or horse poop (which a couple of them also enjoy rolling in!). In years and years of them doing this I've never had a single problem–if anything, the deer poop seems to give some added fiber and just passes through. :lol:

Sticks can be a more serious problem if the dog is chewing it up and swallowing down pieces that could pierce the stomach or intestines. But a couple of mine like to grab large sticks and chew the edges of them and eventually they just drop them and run along -- and I also have never had problems. I think you have to balance the pleasure a dog gets from running free like this against what might be an offensive habit or a very slightly risky one. After all, they are dogs, and eating feces to them is a normal dog behavior, not something that needs to be “corrected” necessarily–but if you don't like them doing this then the issue is just to be able to call them off and get them to stop. :)

To do this it is better to train a dog to do things that you want to do, rather than relying on what is now seen as an often useless approach to training dogs, of corrections (which often means jerking them around on the lead, which should not be done anyway to this breed :thmbsup:). The easiest and most constructive way to stop a dog from doing something you don't want it to do is not to punish or jerk it back–which often only exacerbates unwanted behavior or causes the dog to do the same thing but when you aren't around or looking. Instead, work in a positive way to improve a dog's recall, so that they always come back every time you call, and also teach the dog to know the word “drop” and “leave it”. None of these things is difficult to teach, but it does take focused training. time and a good, positive methods approach that keeps training enjoyable for owner and dog and makes them want to learn and want to do the things you ask of them. :)

Often the problems that we have with dogs are more a problem that we as owners haven't put in the time to teach dogs to do what we would like them to do–come back to us when called, give up items easily that they have in their mouths, to ignore something that we don't want them to pick up. Training all of these things is really fun in the right environment–a really good rewards based class, or using the techniques of good, rewards based trainers. The website Dog Spelled Backward has loads of training videos and advice, as does Dr. Ian Dunbar's www.dogStardaily.com. Those are both good starting places for techniques for training all of those three commands. :)

Jasper and Holly
24th March 2011, 02:28 AM
I agree it's a Cav thing! My two are shocking at the dog park where I have to keep a close eye on them otherwise they will eat sticks or seeds from the palms. Teaching them to leave it is great and works most of the time until they feel like a game of catch me if you can! Lol. They both have bones everyday which they absolutely love.
Can you not take them somewhere where they cannot get access to that kind of stuff. Our biggest worry is Cane Toads. We have to do a Toad search before we can let them out at night. They are deadly if a dog gets hold of one. It can kill it quite quickly if you don't rinse the poison out of it's mouth.
Jasper is pretty good and is not really bothered about them but Holly is fascinated with them she would have one if she could.

24th March 2011, 07:39 AM
Mine eats cat poo, mice, dead things like really decayed, yukkk really got to watch them. We have a cat litter tray in the house and if we are upstairs when the cats done it Barney will have a go. You can usually tell by the trail leading to his bed. He has killed some rats before as well and although he leaves his toy or other things for a treat he will not give them up easy.
As I was walking home from my dads, my son was bringing Barney down to meet me, wondered what he was carrying, he had killed a rat and they couldn't get it off him at all.

24th March 2011, 03:11 PM
We badly need to build a very large fenced-in area for Bentley to be outside alone. We have cattle on 3 sides of our yard with cattle fencing, not dog fencing! He loves fresh or dry cow piles & found what appeared to be something dead & nasty that he thought was particularly luscious. I've resorted to taking him on the leash even to potty which is really difficult with 20-30 mph winds on top of this hill, and forecast is for highs in the 40s for the next 7 days. He loves wind but I hate it. When he gets across the fence into the pasture he doesn't even know his name...he's on a mission to find something disgusting.
By the way, the fungal disease someone mentioned in the UK is also in the States. It is Blastomycosis and my husband had it 2 yrs ago in his lungs. It comes from the soil, is not visible, tasteless, no smell. He has no idea where it came from but it could've killed him; he was on a very expensive anti-fungal drug for 18 months. It also popped out on his skin in one place. Dogs get it more frequently than humans because they keep their nose to the ground. Google Blastomycosis and you'll get the lowdown.

24th March 2011, 04:05 PM
Thanks so much to you all for the tips. I think this weekend I'll change tactic and when he drops something from his mouth when I ask him to, I'll reward him and see how does that go.

To KateH, I live in the Netherlands and have never heard of that disease so going to look it up straight away .... scary stuff.

To Karlin, not sure if my little fella is eating whole sticks or just eating the edges. I just know I panic when I hear him crunching because I've seen dogs bandaged up where they've been operated to have sticks removed. And he knows because he looks at me as much to say come on, dare you to take it off me. Don't like him eating the poo only because we love giving him lots of kisses and cuddles and not very nice when his breath is stinking of poo :p Though in saying that we do brush his teeth with his little toothbrush and doggy paste and he loves that.

To Jasper and Holly, it doesn't matter where I take him, he finds something to eat up off the ground. I just prefer the woods because there he can run around so freely.

To CSutherland, really hope your husband gets better

Loving this site .... thanks again to you all