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Author Topic: Has anyone ever heard of poison proofing your dog?  (Read 6976 times)
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tgooch
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« on: August 31, 2007, 07:21:43 AM »

Has anyone ever heard of poison proofing your dog?  I found this article and found it fascinating.

Here is the link to the article:  http://www.canada.com/topics/technology/science/story.html?id=4abdcf10-b672-41ce-a15e-9fe4d519df23

Just in case anyone has trouble viewing it here is the actual article:

EDMONTON - Faced with a temptation most dogs could not resist, a year-old Bouvier named Lexi is a model of self-control.

The dog dish placed inches from her inquiring eyes is filled with kibble, a dog biscuit and a hamburger patty.
Lexi stares. She drools. But she does not eat until her owner, Wanda Karstens, gives a secret command.

"You can use any word that someone isn't likely to say," she said Thursday. "It would be bad to say eat it or finish it."

She wouldn't disclose her own password, but said many of the growing number of people who poison-proof their dogs under the guidance of long-time Edmonton trainer Kevin George pick commands such as whisky, scotch or even saki to tell their dogs it is all right to eat.

"Some people pick a word from another language," she said. "Any word that is unusual."

Karstens sought out George and his Sentry Dogs Dog Training Centre in the late 1970s after someone tossed a large piece of sausage over her backyard fence. She found it before her dog at the time ate it, but it got her thinking about how easy it would have been to poison the beloved family pet.

"I was grateful the dog didn't eat it," she said.

That was four dogs ago, before she became George's secretary. George has been training pets and working with the canine units of law enforcement agencies for 50 years.

Along the way he has suffered three heart attacks, but rather than slowing down, he said the demand for his eight-week poison-proofing program has grown by 40 per cent over the past two years.

"There's been an ongoing growth, particularly over the past five years because there's been an increase in dog poisonings," he said.
Military, police and patrol dogs are all taught the behaviour to avoid the possibility of being poisoned with food or water while on the job.

"If you try to give food without the command to a patrol dog, they will simply bite you," he says. "Whereas a civilian dog is taught to ignore it."
He said the training can protect pets from poison and from potentially dangerous foods such as chocolate.

"The concept is, we want the dog to learn not to take food from a stranger without the handler's permission and not to take food from the ground," George said. "It could be anything from the garbage can rolling over and the Easter turkey rolling out to someone intentionally throwing something toxic over the fence for a vindictive purpose."

He said the basis of the training is an extension of basic command training.

"The dog learns that the command is like a 'may I.' If the dog hears the 'may I' command he'll know he can take it."
While this may sound harsh to dog lovers, there is some heart in this system.

After Lexi dutifully ignored a bowl full of the things she loves, George rewarded her with the biscuit, but only after he said the secret command.
"In the 50 years we've been doing poison-proofing we've never heard of one of our dogs being poisoned," he said.



I have a neighbor on one side of me that I’m afraid would try to poison my dogs.  On the other side of me I have neighbors that are kind of ignorant when it comes to what should be fed to dogs.  I have found all kind of different things (Rice, Bread, old Hot dogs, etc) lying in my yard.  I have asked them not to throw anything over the fence for my dogs to eat.  They play ignorant and pretend that they do not speak English.

I police my yard everyday to make sure there is nothing that could laying in it that could harm my dogs.  I’ve switched out my fence to a 6ft privacy fence but that hasn’t seemed to help.

Has anyone trained their dogs to not eat anything that they don’t have permission to eat?
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JustMe
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2007, 07:33:00 AM »

Sounds like a good idea.  I know 2 people who have managed to get their dogs not to eat anything that they themselves don't feed to them.  I'll have to ask how they did it.

Secret commands:  Good way to do that is to use commands in another language.  I learned the German commands for my dogs (German Shepherds) so I can use those for sit, stay, lay down, come, etc. 
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dingbat
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2007, 07:40:23 AM »

tgooch

Saw this years ago when I worked at a kennel that trained guard dogs, these dogs were for serious work. They were poisoned trained, would only eat if the food bowl was presented with the left hand and given a particular command in German. IT took quite a bit of work but it is possible. Usually started when they are young but can be taught. It is really amazing to watch. They were also gun trained, attack trained specifically to do certain things. Some were trained not to bark and hold suspects. It was an interesting job.

db
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I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.
tgooch
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2007, 07:54:23 AM »

I'm currently going through puppy training classes with my newest addition to our family.  Since Maggie passed away, I got another Jack Russell (I've named her Bailey) and decided to go through formal puppy training with her.  I will ask to see if there are any type of training classes available for poison proofing. 
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dingbat
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2007, 08:10:54 AM »

Quote
I will ask to see if there are any type of training classes available for poison proofing.

tgooch

That is great that you are going through training. You may have to contact a guard dog kennel to get the training, but as long as you are working with him it will be much easier.

send me a PM if you are interested

db
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I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.
straybaby
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2007, 12:00:03 PM »

one way to start conditioning the dog for training is to always make them sit/stay and not approach the food bowl until released and gradually make the stay longer. i have done this with my dog (also taught her to hand back her dinner and/or step away from it) i'm successful indoors, but outdoors is a curse with all the chicken bones people toss to the curb GRRRRRR! she doesn't steal food off the coffee table or left in anywhere in the room most of the time. i would say she's at a 95% rate indoors. i left a bag with a box of beef jerky in it on the floor by the door overnight in the same room as her and it was still there in th AM. Food is of MAJOR importance to her, so i was pretty damn proud (aka shocked!) of her!!!
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dingbat
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2007, 12:15:46 PM »

Quote
It can be done but I have never tried that level of training myself.

It is tougher than you think

db
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I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.
kaffe
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2007, 07:24:02 PM »

Wow, DB... with such neighbors, who needs enemies?  Maybe if you get a hold of some video or training kit, you might try your hand at training your dogs yourself (I mean, if you have the time).  I'd be a nervous, screaming, paranoid wreck if I suspected my neighbors may poison my cats.  Have you tried flinging back the rancid hotdogs and wotnots back over to your neighbor's side of the fence?  Years ago, I lived in a downstairs flat.  My non-English speaking neighbors upstairs used to throw their food wrappers, bottle tops and sometimes bottles over their veranda and on to the small yard in front of my veranda.  I got so tired of picking up after them that one day, I gathered up the debris from the yard, stuffed them all in a black garbo bag and marched upstairs, rang their doorbell and handed the resident the garbo bag, saying, "I beleive this belongs to you."  All said with a big smile like I was returning something they lost, you know.  The flinging over the veranda stopped after that. 
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tgooch
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2007, 08:20:32 AM »

Have you tried flinging back the rancid hotdogs and wotnots back over to your neighbor's side of the fence? 

Yes I've started doing that.  It has seemed to slow down a bit.  I did put video cameras up and made sure that they seen them while they were being installed.  I think that had more to do with it.   Grin
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onlooker
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2007, 05:26:17 AM »

What a terrible neighbor you have.

My dogs won't accept treats at the Vet's office nor from strangers if handed or placed on the floor.   They just ignor them & walk away or look at me.    I did not specifically teach them to do this.   I am the only one in our house who feeds or gives them treats though, so that may have something to do with it.



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Offy
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2007, 07:16:01 AM »

I did manage to teach my Aussie (rb) not to take food or anything from others. But, he IMO was the smartest dog I had ever encountered (next to his brother, Gator LOL) The most important factor is the relationship with the trainer & the dog. The second part meant enlisting another person (his brother's owner) to help out. He trusted her implicitly and knew her. She would offer him food, silently & I would tell him no. She would offer him a toy, silently and I would tell him no. We added verbal enticement to take it with the no command. I would give him permission on occasion, but I was the one that took the treats from them and gave it to him as a reward for obeying.

So, when we went thru the bank drive thru and the teller offered him a treat, he wouldn't eat it either- even if from me, unless I gave the verbal Ok signal. He saw her put it there in the tray & me get it out. He wouldn't take anything from anybody at the vet either. One day I saw my neighbors handing him a treat over the driveway gate and he looked at me for permission. They told me that he did that all the time looking back at the house for me and that he never took it even if it was a steak bone with meat on it.  I just told him he was trained that way for safety. They weren't offended and understood the reasoning. I personally was proud of him because I didn't even know they were doing that!!
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tgooch
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My Little Maggie


« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2007, 01:39:50 PM »

Wow Offy sounds like you have a really special dog.  Since my little girl (Maggie) died I've been very concerned about what my other dogs eat and I really want to control what they receive.

I think Bailey is going to be a really smart dog.  She started puppy training on Wednesday and has all of the commands down already. 

The neighborhood I live in is really nice and the neighbors on either side of me are probably the worse on the street, if not the worse, close to it.  The one lady (my pet name for her is hillbilly [female canine]) will hopefully be gone soon.  She was in forclosure but then filed bankruptcy so they put a stay on the forclosure.  I'm not sure how long that lasts. 

On the other side of me they are oriental and don't speak english very well.  Except on the 4th of July this year when they about burned my house down with fireworks.  They were setting off the real big ones like you would see in a professional display.  It shook the whole house and poor little Maggie was so scared that she pee'd on the floor.

Now keep in mind I've always tried to be a decent neighbor.  I've helped these people with cutting their grass.  They would let their grass get so high that it was close to impossible for them to cut it with a walk behind lawnmower.  I got my riding lawnmower out and cut it for them.

Any who, I yelled over and asked them not to aim the fireworks at my house and that seemed to encourage them to do it even more.  So I ended up calling the police on them.  One of the guys over there (There are so many I'm not sure who is who anymore) started yelling "Bad Neighbor" and "F*@king A$$hole" at me and the lady that lives accross the street.  Now I can honestly say that during those 20 minutes or so their english was perfect!

Hopefully the cameras will make them think twice before they toss anything over the fence into my yard from now on.
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mynameislola
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2007, 10:10:12 AM »

My outside dogs are trained not to eat anything off the ground or from a stranger.  In case they ever get lost, they are also trained to eat from a bowl so they don't starve to death.
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