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Might be a strange question but.....

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Blinky | 18:07 Wed 26th Jan 2005 | Animals & Nature
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My boyfriend's dog (Golden Retriever) is around 8-9 months old and she is continuously scouring the floor for food. She gets fed enough meals a day but she'll come into his bedroom and eat anything she can find on the floor or about, plastic/paper/coins/string, it is extremely frustrating for us as we have to continuously keep our eye on her in case she swallows anything and have to prise her jaw open to get the items out. Does anybody have this problem with their dog/breed. She gets more than enough exercise (up to 3/4 walks a day) so we hope it's not to do with boredom!
Anyone got any advice?

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Retrievers and labradors are notorious for being doggie 'dustbins'.  You do have to keep an eye on them as they also have a tendency to put on weight.  As In a Pickle says though, make sure it is not worms that is the problem.
she may be mentally bored. No offence but are her walks interesting? how much of her walking time is off lead? Do you interact with her, play with her, teach her new things?
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Yes she has been wormed, and her walks do differ, we either take her over the downs/hills, or down by the river/woods etc, or even if it's just to the park my boyfriend's chases her about and she seems very contented and happy. The only other thing we can think of is that she might be missing another dog's company when she's back at home and it could just be boredom then, but we can't take her out 24/7 so we don't really know how to stop it. She knows it's a bad thing as she runs away when we notice she's got something in her mouth!
Thanks for your advice so far though everyone....

Your dog does not "know it's wrong" it is reacting to you in a conditioned response. It spots certain features and sounds that it associates with you frightening it so it tries to avoid that bad thing. It is a HUGE leap of brain power to associate the (as you se it) naughty doggy action with your response to that action. Believe me, "punishing" only scares your pet, it does not teach it to modify its behaviour.

Say doggy jumps on sofa, and you don't want that, then placing barriers when you are not there and then removing doggy immediately every time it jumps up is the best and most efficient way to train it. It associtaes the jumping up with your instantly putting it off again, and eventually it will stop as the whole cycle is futile. Shouting, smacking, and angry responses will not get it through to doggy brain and only confuse the issue.

blinky... i have kept golden retrievers all my life and i am currently owned by one nearly 7 ..you may find that your dog is just mischievouse and they never grow up at all they are the bred of the eternal puppy..you will just have to make sure you dont leave anything lieing around and provide plenty of hide chews and calcium bones as they love to chew them..or get a tenniss ball and start to roll it round the floors..me and mine have a great game of roll the ball when i am hoovering i keep rolling the ball with the hoover head and mine gets it and throws it back at the hoover head..and then they get more interested in their own toys and not anything left on the floors..they are dogs that love company and attention mine hates me coming on the computer as its taking attention off himself,,mind mine is rather spoiled..
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I kind of resent what you said Hippy, we have never punished her/smacked her or shouted at her if she's doing it, the reason she runs away could also be due to fact that she knows we're going to remove it from her mouth and she obviously wants to keep it in there! I agree with the you willowherb it might just be an attention seeking thing as if she picks something up she knows we'll always going to respond to her if she's not supposed to have it. She'll always sits down and lets us remove when we catch up with her so maybe she thinks it's a game now...? She does have a lot of toys and chews so from all the info, i think that she's just got into the habit of doing it and one can only hope that it might stop as she gets a bit older, as she's still quite young she's still very curious of the environment around her. But yes, we will just have to make sure that everything is out of her reach apart from her toys/chews.

Thanks for all your advice :0)

That game thing sounds familiar. Our first weimaraner learned that if we weren't taking any notice of him , he could get our attention by "stealing" something and parading past us with it, then "running away" We managed the situation by keeping things out of his way, ignoring him if he had managed to get hold of something and leaving "stealers" where he could get them, usually old dusters or t shirts with a knot in. If he felt ingnored, he would parade past with a stealer in his mouth and we would play the game, giving him and us great enjoyment. Only problem came when we stayed with a relative whose bedroom door did not close completely and he came parading downstairs with a (clean) pair of her knickers in his mouth!! Our old boy kept this game up all his life, when he got to age 14, we had to chase him very slowly so that he could get away!
blinky..dont worry too much as i said i have allways kept this breed and if the one i own now can get a piece of paper off the floor,,and rip it to shreds or steal the grand kids toys and make off with them he will...its the breeds nature as long as you remove dangerouse objects you will be fine,,they are lovely fun loving dogs and apart from the dog hair shedding which is never ending they are lovely pets ..
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Thank you for all your suggestions everyone, we are not half as worried as we were and it's put our mind at ease. We tried your idea Wolfgang last night and there was nothing for her reach on the floor apart from an old rag and she did exactly the same thing you described, picked it up, crept past us to get our attention and then ran off as soon as we noticed and obviously we were content with her chewing it as it was nothing important. It it made it fun for her and us by joining in on her 'game'.

Once again many thanks everyone, I can now relax!

Blinky, some other suggestions that may help.....

Up the protein level in her diet (the better the food, the less you feed her), the foods are expensive but well worth it (Iams / Eukanuba & Royal Canin are a couple of examples - but I am in Australia, I think that these two are world wide available! if you want more info - just ask your vet....)

Also - (not to sound harsh at all) when you get a puppy, you do need to change your lifestyle habits a fair bit. So to help combat your problem, get down on the floor (see life from her view!!!) and look at what's interesting and look for things that look fun to chew on!!!  Couple this with some new toys that challenge her - there is one that is a rubber cone-like object that fits a treat inside it.. so she plays with it as well as exercising her mind.....

I hope that this helps!!!

Best of Luck!:-)

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