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D2007-45

Dear Daisy Dog

Toby, our 5-year-old golden retriever, rips grass out by the roots. Then he looks straight at us and runs the other way, never eating the grass. How can we stop this destructive behavior?

Daisy Responds

My brother Sam used to do the same thing. Mom stopped it by distracting him just as he got that look in his eye that meant he was about to rip out a clump.

The key is to redirect Toby’s attention just before – or just as – the unwanted behavior begins. Then reward him for the desired behavior.

You can accomplish this by throwing a special ball that you’ve hidden in your pocket or by asking Toby to come, sit and take a food treat.

Keep him occupied with games that require him to carry objects in his mouth.

Call his name, run away from him, and when he follows you without grass in his mouth, reward him with praise or a treat.

If necessary, attach a drag line to his collar so you can interrupt the grass ripping behavior.

If that doesn’t work, buy a citronella spray collar or a loud stadium horn to interrupt the unwanted behavior.In time,

Toby will refrain from ripping out grass in favor of lavish praise, a favorite toy and a treat.

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