Eating non food items - German Shepherd Dog Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-02-2014, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
New Member
silverseahorse's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 12
Eating non food items

Ok I'll get to the point... She eats poo. Her poo, my other dogs poo, my cats poo, random poo if we go for a walk... Etc. my other GSD did this occasionally as a pup, but nothing like this. Summer is 13 weeks and eats poo constantly. Of course I remove it straight away from my yard and immediately from the cat box, but she is so fast! My cat is still using his box and she sits and waits!

She also eats other items. I forgot to latch my sliding door and when I got home from work I discovered she had gotten hold of two toilet rolls from the holder and shredded them. Annoying, but no huge deal. What I didn't realise until the next day was that she shredded 2, but she actually ATE half a roll of paper AND the cardboard tube! I of course discovered this when she vomited her dinner, breakfast, a poop she had eaten AND all the toilet paper/tube. I'll spare the description, but I came close to vomiting myself. I'm really worried, I know she could have ended up with a bowl obstruction!

She also eats plants, dirt and pebbles. She grabbed some aluminium foil I dropped on the floor and I had to basically crash tackle her and prize it out of her mouth before she swallowed it. She even pulled dryer lint out of the bin and ate that! Currently I've removed all toys from her after she ate half of a my other dogs soft squeak toy. She ripped up her bed and ate some of that. When I have to leave the house, she and my other dog are now in a bare tiled room with no toys, beds, bedding and just a water fountain because she eats literally everything else. Now I'm just waiting until she starts eating the walls!

What do I do? I took her to the vet and they were not really any help other than saying she might have an enzyme deficiency or she might just grow out of it and not to leave things lying around that she can eat (yeah no sh.....!)


P.S. That's the offending pup in my avatar!
silverseahorse is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-02-2014, 10:30 AM
The Agility Rocks! Moderator
MaggieRoseLee's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bushkill, PA (The Poconos!)
Posts: 27,408
YOur vet is right For the poo (which for many of our dogs is the most yummy treat EVER... (I don't agree there is an enzyme problem)) you just need to manage the situation to keep it away from your dogs.

One of the many reasons most of us crate train is because it just naturally teaches our dogs to NOT get into the habit of eating/destroying household items because when you are in a crate those items are NOT available. So grazing on the house never becomes either a habit or an issue.

What you may want to work on is training for a great 'leave it'. Best and easiest is if you do it with a clicker... Intro to Clicker Training (perfect for puppies!)

Generally, all the behaviors you are seeing are coming from a bored pup with too much energy, too many brains, and NOT ENOUGH TO DO!

I know for my dogs I have to sit down with the calendar and actually SCHEDULE!

Schedule dog classes (really, classes). It doesn't matter what classees, obedience, rally, clicker, agility, herding, tracking. ANYTHING to get the dog out of the house and both of us learning something new and fun.

Schedule socialization. With friends. With neighbors. With the new people I met in DOG CLASSES. At dog events in the area.

Schedule REAL exercise. Hiking. Swimming. Canoeing.

It's amazing how the more I organize and plan my dogs days, and put it on the calendar..... the better my dogs behave around the house. Cause when they are home they rest and relax. And they focus their brains and energy to do 'good' when out and about with me, rather than get into trouble around the house cause they are bored bored bored.

Your situation is normal!!! And why, frankly, I don't recommend GSD's to most people because for most of us with extremely busy and over schedules liives already, adding all those extra hours just for the dog isn't possible and it's the dog that gets the short end of our time and money plus weekly planning.

Not saying that's you.... just most people I know.


Glory B Wildhaus AX, AXJ, XF
plus Miss Osin Blue Wildhaus

"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
MaggieRoseLee is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-02-2014, 11:23 AM
Knighted Member
Susan_GSD_mom's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,084
Originally Posted by MaggieRoseLee View Post
YOur vet is right

Generally, all the behaviors you are seeing are coming from a bored pup with too much energy, too many brains, and NOT ENOUGH TO DO!

It's amazing how the more I organize and plan my dogs days, and put it on the calendar..... the better my dogs behave around the house. Cause when they are home they rest and relax. And they focus their brains and energy to do 'good' when out and about with me, rather than get into trouble around the house cause they are bored bored bored.
This is SO true. I have a 5 year old former breeding bitch, and the first time she had a bowel movement when I got her home, she barely finished when she turned around and chowed it down. I was aghast! In the decades I have had GSDs, that was a first for me.

She has been here nearly six weeks now, and I can let her run loose in our 1/2 acre back yard, and she poops and tears off to have fun with our other rescue GSD, without so much as a backward glance. With all the snow and the "polar vortex" (then its re-run) I haven't had much opportunity for even laying the groundwork for formal obedience, but I have tried to find them activities in the house to keep them occupied, and every day the temperatures ease a bit, they get to run their hearts out and have fun. Just the exercise alone had made a world of difference in her.

I hope the crate works for you. One time Jade even pooped in her crate and ate it! That was before I knew her signals, though, and it was more my fault.

And when you have her outside, keep her on a leash until she poops, then immediately take her away from it, crate her, and clean it up before you take her back out (clean up after other dog(s), too). As far as the cat litter box goes, can you get one of those covered ones, or the one that automatically rakes it away? How about putting into an area with a barrier that will allow only your cat in, but not big enough for your dog?

All this will take diligence and persistence on your part. For my household it was important because I am a caregiver for my sister, whose immune system is somewhat compromised. I didn't want our very affectionate Jade licking her after she had eaten you-know-what!
Susan_GSD_mom is offline  
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-02-2014, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
New Member
silverseahorse's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 12
I'm a little but put off by you saying you don't recommend GSDs for beginners. This is my 6th GSD spanning some 30 years (Lady, Mot, Bailey, Kelly and currently Annie and Summer). They go everywhere with me and do everything with me. I love active Velcro dogs.

Ok I don't leave her locked up by herself. I've been on vacation for the last 4 weeks. I've taken Summer everywhere and she has been my constant companion since I've had her. I've taken her bush walking, down to the horse paddocks to run, to the beach - both swimming and just on the sand, down to the local cafe where dogs are allowed, to friends, to a friends BBQ, she has met all my neighbours, I take her for drives etc etc. both dogs come with me everywhere. However she has started doing these things almost compulsively. From the moment the poo hits the ground she turns to eat it. I have been taking her to the toilet on a lead to train her to go outside. I stopped using the lead because she knows how to do it now. She however, will find anything that has been missed. I make it a habit to sweep the yard for poo but if I miss anything, her nose will find it. Including native animal poo from animals that run the yard at night, bird poo, duck poo etc. I can't let her outside to play with me because she will compulsively look for poo and is not interested in games. I've removed it, but you can remove the smell and she will go hunting obsessively. When she can't find it, dirt, pebbles, sand etc.

When I've left to go out, I haven't been leaving all day. I am talking a 10 minute trip to the post office, grocery shopping etc. I can't leave her in the car when the outside temp is 35C here so she has to stay home.

If I put her in a crate she will still eat her own poo and consume her toys.

I can't watch her 24/7. I have to sleep at some point. She is with me all the time but still obsessively does these behaviours.

Annie is only 11 months old. I know what she was like and she was not obsessed in the same way. If I removed her poo she wouldn't spend the next 30 mins searching for it despite me trying to play/distract

I am a neat freak. People cannot believe I have pets when they come into my house. I don't leave poo. I hate the smell. My cat has even gotten into the habit is meowing when he poos to signal me to clean it immediately. He is OCD like me! It doesn't stop Summer obsessively smelling for things. Despite the 40000L of pineoclean and constant mopping/vacuuming of my house, she still hunts.

Last edited by silverseahorse; 02-02-2014 at 04:06 PM.
silverseahorse is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-02-2014, 04:08 PM
Master Member
SummerGSDLover's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Vancouver, WA (USA)
Posts: 750
Just wanted to say "Your dog has a GREAT name!"

SummerGSDLover is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-02-2014, 09:27 PM
nicky's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Northwest
Posts: 79
Oh, I remember that problem! You just made me so grateful that phase ended. She would eat cat, horse,dog,coyote,elk,moose,and any poop she was given the opportunity to eat. Let's just say I have some disgusting stories. I finally had to take her out to poop on a leash so I could pull her away from her own poop. And she got plenty of activity, an unbelievable amount of exercise.

She also had a sock fetish, particularly little kid socks. I didn't realize this until I started seeing them come out. I was blessed she didn't get an obstruction. I was yelled at (literally) when she was at the vet and I had to give a stool sample and there was a baby sock in it. She was at the vet for something totally different. I did have to get a handle on the sock situation at home, or anything else on the floor, but she always seemed to find something. I felt like the worst owner.

All of a sudden she stopped at around 6 months. I think giving her a kong ball to carry around or even a stick helped a little bit. But I think basically she just grew out of it and moved on to bigger and better. Now I don't have to keep up on the laundry, poop pick up, and picking up around the house like I use to.
nicky is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome