Teaching Your Dog to Refuse Poison

With the ever growing crime rate in today’s world, one of the best sources of security is the domestic dog. The dog population is increasing at a rapid rate and one popular question asked by most dog owners is, how do I get my dog to be aggressive? Quite an easy question with an easy answer. Well a tougher question might be how do I prevent my dog from eating poisoned food in my absence if a stranger throws  it into my yard?

There is really no universal method of teaching your dog to refuse food or to stop picking up food from the ground, as several methods abound. Although the level of efficiency of such methods cannot be totally estimated, their end result would depend largely on the individual dog as well as the handler.

The first step to training your dog is by getting him acquainted to the word “NO”. This alone could be enough to prevent excessive beating, which could come from an inexperienced or impatient handler. Excessive beating usually results in a shy or  timid dog, which will crouch in fear or urinate when approached by people. This is a typical behaviour peculiar to all social animals (including man).

I always recommend that if a dog is to be scolded it should be in the early stage of its life. Beating with sticks or whips is really unnecessary. A rough shake on his scruff is sufficient and this must be accompanied by the word “NO”. Dogs need love and attention and must be fondled and petted regularly. This will enable the dog or puppy to develop confidence in himself as well as to differentiate between his doing right or wrong.

In order to produce an intelligent dog, your dog must be allowed to express himself freely and careful studying of the dog would enable the trainer to decide the best training method to adopt. Special talents can also be observed in individual dogs this way. The dog is a scavenger by genetic make-up and even though such traits are gradually being bred out, the problem still exists in some modern dog breeds such as the Labrador Retrievers. Unlike humans who respond out of reason rather than instinct, dogs respond instinctively and hence a conducive clean environment is the first step to stopping your dog from picking up food and other objects.

Having carefully read through the above, the next step is teaching your dog not to pick up food or other items from the floor. An easy and cost-effective method, which has been used with immense success over the  years, is the use of the choke chain. This is very efficient in dogs above 6 months of age. The steps are short and are summarized below.

  • Boil little pieces of meat in a pot.
  • Take the dog out of the kennel and tie him to a pole within the compound.
  • Place some pieces of meat in batches of 2 or 3 in different parts of the compound for example, close to the gate, near the fence, or close to hedges or trees.
  • Place a large amount of meat in the dogs feeding bowl and put the bowl in the dog’s kennel (this must be done while the dog is outside the kennel).
  • Slip a choke around the dog’s neck as described in pictures 1&2 and attach a  leash to the  choke chain.
  • Walk the dog around the compound and take him to the places where the little pieces of meat have been placed.
  • Allow him to sniff at the pieces of  meat. As soon as he attempts to pick the meat, pull back hard on the leash choking him and throwing him back simultaneously. Say a firm “NO”
  • After walking him to all the different areas were the pieces of meat have been placed, return him to his kennel were his meat has been placed in his bowl. Slip off the choke chain and allow him eat the meat placed in the bowl.
  • The entire training process should last 3-4 weeks. After the dog understands what he is meant to do, carry out the same exercise again, this time without him being on leash.

    Extra tips:-

    •  Play with the dog as you walk along and keep patting him to encourage him. This makes the entire training process fun to him and encourages him to walk along with you. It’s not meant to be some sort of punishment. He will soon understand that. He will also be able to know when and what you are angry at.
    • Your dog’s feeding bowl should be made of a durable stainless steel, which the dog should get used to. This prevents the occasional changing of plastic bowls, which the dog will destroy occasionally.
    • The meat in his bowl should be the same as the one placed around the compound.
    • Vary the types of meat, say fried or boiled chicken or beef, to get him used to a variety and he’ll know its not just meat alone but anything on the ground.
    •  Keep varying the location of the pieces of meat in your compound.
    • Always use a choke chain and never attempt to beat your dog.
    • Remove all the pieces of meat around the compound immediately he is back in his kennel.
    • Never allow your dog to roam about unsupervised throughout the training period or else the dog will pick up the habit of picking things when you are not around.
    • Training should not exceed 10 minutes once or twice daily or else the dog would get bored.  Your dog must be eager to walk with you.
    • Training should be restricted to early morning hours or late in the evenings.
    • If your dog understands the word “NO” you do not need to use the choke chain, simply shout “NO” instead of choking him.

Jovi Otite

Jovi Otite (Ph.d) is the co-founder of BornBlack. He is an Animal Science Expert in Animal Reproduction, agriculture and alternative renewable energy.

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