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Discussion Starter #1
I might have a misconception about normal dog behavior and would really appreciate if you guys could tell me your opinions. I do not want my pup walking loose in the back garden (not that big), especially not before I check everything for dangerous objects, but preferably not until he learns a solid "leave it". However, that rule is viewed as ridiculous by numerous people. I need to check with you guys if it's really that absurd.

Short version.

Is it (do you consider it to be) normal and acceptable to let your dog eat sand, grass, plants, insects, wood, etc? Should you let your dog free in the garden if you know he does those things, or should you first establish a solid "leave it" command and recall before doing so?

Long version, totally not relevant to the question, so you can skip this. But this brought me the question above and I like to tell 'stories'.

Yesterday was quite stressful. We got a garden table plus chairs as a gift, but had to pick them up. We have no car, so I went with a friend of my mother there. Everything but the table top fitted in the car.. so.. I had to walk from one neighborhood to another with a large round wooden table top, about 20 minutes. They were supposed to meet me halfway, but I ended up walking the whole distance alone.
So, I came home, exhausted, wanting dinner. But my sister insisted me to assemble our new garden table so we could eat outside and enjoy the sun. So I did. My pup was inside looking at me, sometimes doing a high pitched bark.
My mother's friend was about to leave (she is Cesar Milan fan, never owned a dog, but likes to give opinions), and my mother asked her, "Don't you think he should let his pup wander about in the garden. It's such a nice weather, look at the pup, he's so sad, he wants to be outside." She replied, "Yes, you really should. It's good for him to be outside." I - already a bit stressed - said, "I can't, he eats everything he sees, sand, plants, insects, wood, stones. I don't want that." "Oh, but that's normal dog behavior", she replied, and smiled.
She left, my mother came back, repeated it a few times while I was trying to fit the legs on (beneath) the table top. "OK ok ok ok, I'll let him out."
And there he came running, super happy, and extreeeeemely helpful with assembling....
My mother and other sister didn't want to wait, so they started eating. My pup was bored and found a small rotten plank and started eating the wood. I feared it still contained nails, so I got some treats and tried to lure him to me. But he prefers running away. So I had to chase him, unfortunately, and got quite pissed, especially after seeing that my mother and sister were laughing from the dinner table (they didn't think of the danger of nails). I was really stressed at that point and Madoc couldn't get the plank fast enough, so ran away without it. After disposing of it and doing a light speed zen, I calmed down and called him. He came, I asked him to sit and gave a treat.

I only let him in the garden with a long leash, and when I'm holding it to correct him.

ps: I am 27, sisters 21 and 19 and pup is 6.5 months, just for better understanding of the story.
 

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My puppy gets to wander around my yard if he's dragging a line and I'm out there. If I can't watch constantly I clear a patch of grass and set his xpen up outside or he goes inside to his crate while I'm busy.

There's nothing ridiculous about supervising your dog. I tend to ignore what "typical" people suggest because typically they're the same people who have puppies who have destroyed so much of their stuff lol .

I do the same in my house . Drag a leash for months or in the pen til older. None of my stuff gets ruined what do ya know :)

That said , chewing on sticks is fine with me. I interrupt plant eating and I don't care if mine eat bugs . Some exploring is good but if you think something is harmful yeah skip it
 

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OP -- I think you are over thinking dogs. Try to get things that might be dangerous out of the yard. Remember if you chase the pup, the pup will run and he can run faster than you. (So yes, witnesses will find this funny.) In a situation like this, try calling him and running the opposite direction (so pup will run after you instead of you running after the pup). Another tactic is to sit on the grass and mess intently with something you have or scratch at the grass, or roll around etc.

My dogs like bunch grass. That's fine with me. My dogs like juniper logs. That's fine with me. My dogs like rocks - that's not so fine but I live on a rock pile sooooo it might as well be fine with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@mego
I sold his xpen yesterday, which he had never used. I put him in it once and he went nuts and jumped against the sides until it all started to fold and he became trapped between two sides. Maybe I needed to buy a heavier one. He doesn't seem to enjoy himself if I'm not around. I can give him a mountain of toys, but if I walk away he'll follow (only not when he's up to something..
I did that with the leash indoors, but that was difficult to keep doing because not everyone agreed with that method and would do otherwise when I was not around. Constancy is important, so I had to take it off.
Thanks for your message. :)
@middleofnowhere
Yes.. That might be the biggest issue with me. I have difficulty accepting some things that are viewed by many as normal behavior for dogs. I can change my views though (not with poop, that stays a big no no, haha).
I know, I have forbidden myself and my family to chase him, something we did when he was little, which created this problem. But I had no choice in my mind, I didn't know how to lure him. But thank you for the tips, they are great, I will do those in the future if it happens again. :)
Haha, really? Won't biting on rocks damage their teeth?
 

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I might have a misconception about normal dog behavior and would really appreciate if you guys could tell me your opinions. I do not want my pup walking loose in the back garden (not that big), especially not before I check everything for dangerous objects, but preferably not until he learns a solid "leave it". However, that rule is viewed as ridiculous by numerous people. I need to check with you guys if it's really that absurd.

Short version.

Is it (do you consider it to be) normal and acceptable to let your dog eat sand, grass, plants, insects, wood, etc? Should you let your dog free in the garden if you know he does those things, or should you first establish a solid "leave it" command and recall before doing so?

Long version, totally not relevant to the question, so you can skip this. But this brought me the question above and I like to tell 'stories'.

Yesterday was quite stressful. We got a garden table plus chairs as a gift, but had to pick them up. We have no car, so I went with a friend of my mother there. Everything but the table top fitted in the car.. so.. I had to walk from one neighborhood to another with a large round wooden table top, about 20 minutes. They were supposed to meet me halfway, but I ended up walking the whole distance alone.
So, I came home, exhausted, wanting dinner. But my sister insisted me to assemble our new garden table so we could eat outside and enjoy the sun. So I did. My pup was inside looking at me, sometimes doing a high pitched bark.
My mother's friend was about to leave (she is Cesar Milan fan, never owned a dog, but likes to give opinions), and my mother asked her, "Don't you think he should let his pup wander about in the garden. It's such a nice weather, look at the pup, he's so sad, he wants to be outside." She replied, "Yes, you really should. It's good for him to be outside." I - already a bit stressed - said, "I can't, he eats everything he sees, sand, plants, insects, wood, stones. I don't want that." "Oh, but that's normal dog behavior", she replied, and smiled.
She left, my mother came back, repeated it a few times while I was trying to fit the legs on (beneath) the table top. "OK ok ok ok, I'll let him out."
And there he came running, super happy, and extreeeeemely helpful with assembling....
My mother and other sister didn't want to wait, so they started eating. My pup was bored and found a small rotten plank and started eating the wood. I feared it still contained nails, so I got some treats and tried to lure him to me. But he prefers running away. So I had to chase him, unfortunately, and got quite pissed, especially after seeing that my mother and sister were laughing from the dinner table (they didn't think of the danger of nails). I was really stressed at that point and Madoc couldn't get the plank fast enough, so ran away without it. After disposing of it and doing a light speed zen, I calmed down and called him. He came, I asked him to sit and gave a treat.

I only let him in the garden with a long leash, and when I'm holding it to correct him.

ps: I am 27, sisters 21 and 19 and pup is 6.5 months, just for better understanding of the story.
Teaching him the leave it command and then introducing your dog to such environments is a better option. The behavior can be expected from dogs and is considered normal in my opinion. But that doesn't mean it should be encouraged.

Eating things from your backyard or other such environments can affect your dog's health. So make you teach your dog the "leave it" command and always supervise your dog in such environments.
 

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the easiest way to do the xpen outside is to use tent stakes to hold it to the ground.

put a long line on him outside is easiest. or even having him drag a short line. That way, you can easily remove him from situations that he shouldn't be in. Without chasing.

Yes, eating everything in sight is normal. But as others have said, not to be encouraged.
Some eating of grass is normal and fine. Chewing on the occasional stick is normal and will happen all his life. Eating rocks can be very dangerous.
But, you have to let him be a dog. That means chewing on sticks and grass. Trying to eat dead things. Occasionally rolling in dead things. It's just part of having a dog. We can try as much as possible to discourage it but it will probably happen at least once
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, you guys are right. I have to let him be a dog and that involves things I rather not have him do. I already changed a few things. If you had asked me a few years ago what I thought about dogs licking their human friends, especially on the face, I would have made a comment about how disgusting that is and that I llirarely did not understand how people accepted such things.
Now I have a dog and I let him my whole face (not when he ate poop....). Just wash it afterwards.
I will do my best, thanks :)
 

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Is it (do you consider it to be) normal and acceptable to let your dog eat sand, grass, plants, insects, wood, etc? Should you let your dog free in the garden if you know he does those things, or should you first establish a solid "leave it" command and recall before doing so?
Normal and acceptable are two different things. :) Biting, chewing, and barking are all "normal" dog behavior, but that doesn't mean we should allow them to bite us, or chew on the rug, or bark their heads off every time a leaf falls on the lawn.

My mother's friend was about to leave (she is Cesar Milan fan, never owned a dog, but likes to give opinions), and my mother asked her, "Don't you think he should let his pup wander about in the garden. It's such a nice weather, look at the pup, he's so sad, he wants to be outside." She replied, "Yes, you really should. It's good for him to be outside." I - already a bit stressed - said, "I can't, he eats everything he sees, sand, plants, insects, wood, stones. I don't want that." "Oh, but that's normal dog behavior", she replied, and smiled.
:rolleyes: Is she going to pay the vet bill when your puppy ingests something that can harm him? If not, then ignore her. It's none of her business how you raise him, and it's only prudent to not let him roam freely when you're busy and not able to actively supervise if he's likely to eat sand, plants, rocks, or wood.
 

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My girl is now 2 1/2 years old. While I am seeing some maturity, she still is very much a pup, a diva at that. We have a fairly big backyard, completely fenced and then lined with 21' foot cedars. I take her in the backyard onleash, if she has to go potty late at night. Other times she is walked throughout the neighborhood (we have our route) onleash. She accompanies me in the backyard offleash when I can keep an eye on her. Her leave it is pretty good, but unless you are engaged with her, she will amuse herself with twigs, rocks and/or digging. Favorite game is chase me, it's a natural and she loves to play this with my son's boxer. With me, not so much, because I won't chase. If I'm out gardening, etc. I make sure I have something to keep her engaged like a basketball which she can herd throughout the yard. She gladly follows me when I water, and it's a constant training to have her sit and wait for her turn to get water from the hose. If I'm doing something where I can't keep an eye on her such as mowing the grass, or painting, etc. she has to stay indoors. Simple as that. I know that as she matures, the digging, rock chewing, etc. will disappear, at least I hope so ... that was the case with my previous GSDs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm sorry, I didn't check this thread anymore for replies.
@Cassidy's Mom
Thank you for your message, it confirms how I think about it. :)
@graciesmom
Must be fun. Our backyard isn't big at all. Big enough for my pup to walk around, but not to play fetch or even run around (was possible when he was very little). Thanks for you message, fun to read how somebody else manages with their dog. :)
 

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The thing is, a lot of what dogs do "normally", in the absence of human intervention in the form of training, impulse control and manners, isn't appropriate for harmonious life with us. So, just because it's normal dog behavior that doesn't mean we have to tolerate it or that we shouldn't do anything about it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'll keep that in mind for the next person who desires a discussion about this. :)
In a sense it's the same with us, only we are expected to correct ourselves, at least if had a civilized upbringing. If history has thought us something, it's that many horrible things come quite natural to us - given the right situation.
Natural is not a synonym for good. :)
 
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