Went for a walk about 5:30 tonight when Roscoe found a dead squirrel in the road. Before I could kick it out of the way or yell leave it, he had it in his mouth and would not let go. I tried prying open his jaw but he wanted that stinky thing so bad that he tried to run across the street at one point. Good thing I had him on the leash. By the way, he's almost 16 months and weighs 80 pounds.
I'm so mad at myself because I saw the same flattened squirrel yesterday but forgot about it today.
I tried offering him a biscuit but he wouldn't drop it. At one point I almost got his jaw open enough with my right hand so that I could pull the squirrel out with my left. But he bit me on my left index and second fingers enough to draw blood. I didn't think to say "No bite" because it hurt like hell even with gloves on.
Right after that, he swallowed the squirrel and I brought him home. Then I went to the ER for a tetanus shot. Now there'll be a dog bite report and my wife is concerned that he's too aggressive. I don't think he is because most of the time he's just a mellow yellow who loves everyone. He plays very well with people and dogs. But she's worried.
The only other time he's done this was last summer when I tried to get part of a turtle shell out of his mouth that had been cut up in a tractor mower. He didn't draw blood that time. But clearly dead animals are his thing. I welcome any advice.
I had the same problem with my last lab. She had a dead squirrel I could not remove from her mouth. She was very ball driven and a neighbor came out with a tennis ball and starting bouncing it in front of her. She finally dropped the squirrel and grabbed the ball. LOL The next time it was a raw chicken breast she found in the street on trash day. She did swallow it whole and was very sick after that with food poisoning. From then on I just watched her like a hawk. Sorry I'm not much help. There are some things that the "leave it" command just won't work on.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. -- Gandhi
In addition to Leave It, Drop It is a great command. Corby would prefer a treat over a dead squirrel, so it's not an issue for me, but he will drop anything if I give the command. It is amazing how ingrained commands are when your pup knows them - it's like they can't help themselves but to obey! I guess you're not there yet, sorry, but if you work on these commands, things will get better.
I trained Drop It using a treat - giving Corby something of increasing "value" (rope, ball, bone...) then telling him to Drop It (which he would do to get the treat), and then rewarding with the treat.
Edited to add: Give is also a useful command, and can be trained using the same methods as Drop It (except, of course, instead taking the item from the dog's mouth)
Last edited by Jan; 11-12-2011 at 08:30 AM.
My friend's dog ate a dead squirrel and other than bad poop for abit, he was fine. Just keep an eye on him.
Practice give and return. This means giving a toy (or bone) and then asking for it back (drop it) then returning it to the dog right away. This way they don't feel that every single time they drop it - they loose it. I find this works great with puppies or young dogs that like to play keep away or chase me. I also do this with bones, I give it to them, then soon after ask for it back (sometimes I have to pry it out of their mouth) then return it right away with a good dog gooood dog!
When fosters have something dead or found on the sidewalk food, I grab the skin around their mouth and press it into their tooth (find a sharper one!). I will keep pushing with more intensity until I can get whatever it is out of their mouth. I am less likely to get my fingers caught (as often if you have your fingers in a dog's mouth and they want to keep what they have in there - they WILL get bitten) and have a better success rate. Pieces of dead bird, dead squirrel, full slide of pizza, half a sandwich, I've had to pull a lot of things out of a dog's mouth (both my own dog's and foster dogs). I probably rarely even say drop it or leave it at this point, I know this is high value and I just have to "take" it.
ETA: Jan's idea of giving something of HIGHER value than what they gave is great too. Maybe mix both (randomly asking for something then giving it right back, or giving back something of higher value).
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Thanks to all. We'll keep working on the leave it and drop it and we'll add give it.
I agree that the best way to avoid this kind of confrontation is to have your dog trained to automatically give up any item on command because good things happen when they do obey.
Instead of trying to pry my dogs mouth open I press down with a finger on the middle of the tongue. Usually forces them to push their tongue forward and they will open their mouth then easily. But.... I'd never stick my hand in the mouth of a dog who was behaving protectively.
IMO you also should implement Nothing in Life is Free with this dog.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I've decided that if the dog wants it so badly that I can't open his mouth, he'll just eat the squirrel, LOL. Fortunately Bean only eats "food" and spits out the sticks, squeakers, crayons, fluff, etc.
Sorry to hear that there will be a dog bite report. But since you got the tetanus, you should be good for 10 years