How to protect your dog from poisoned bait?

Poisonous bait is the nightmare of every dog owner. Unfortunately, on social media or through other dog owners you always hear of poisonous bait findings and even worse, of dogs that have been poisoned. What can you do now as a dog owner to best protect your dog:

1.Recognize poison bait.

There are classic poison baits, such as minced meat, black pudding, bologna, sausages, or similar tasty items. They are then either prepared with poison, e.g. rat poison, or also with sharp or pointed objects, e.g. razor blades. Unfortunately, such “dog haters” are very inventive, so we cannot immediately tell with the naked eye whether a suspicious piece of food is really poisoned. If you encounter something suspicious on your walk, it is best to pick it up immediately, store it, e.g. in a poop bag, and examine it at home in peace.

2. A reliable command to stop your dog.

To prevent your dog from picking up poison bait from the ground, it is a good idea to teach him a break-off command, such as “No”. At the signal of the stop command your dog should immediately stop his action or intention (namely to eat something) and go into a learned alternative behavior, e.g. sit. How exactly you build this abort command, you will learn under the category “Anti Poison Bait – The “Yuck!” Command.

3. Reliable Output

If your dog does see something in front of you and it’s already in his muzzle, you can prevent him from swallowing it by using the “Off” command. The “Off” command tells your dog to give up what he currently has between his teeth. For this command to work well, continuous training is very important. Your dog should learn in the training that he loses nothing when he gives his prey voluntarily, but even gains something better. How exactly you can do this, you will learn in the category “Anti Poison Bait – Secure “Drop it”.

4. The right protection

For 99% protection, the only thing that helps is a well-fitting muzzle with food protection. The muzzle prevents your dog from picking up anything from the ground and protects your dog from danger better than any anti-poison bait training. Especially for very greedy dogs, we recommend good muzzle training, so that the muzzle can be worn in everyday life without stress. You can find the muzzle training in the category “Medical Training”.

5. Show to protect others as well

You can also teach your dog to indicate suspicious food. So good training can also help your dog to leave food when he finds it on the way. Indication of food belongs to the supreme discipline in dog training and requires a lot of patience and a long generalization phase, i.e. it must be trained regularly in many different situations. The dog can then learn that when food is found on the walk, he shows a certain indicating behavior, e.g. sit or down, and thus lets his owner know that he has found something. If you plan to actively search an area for bait with your dog to protect your dog and others, we strongly recommend wearing a muzzle, because even the best-trained dog can have a bad day and in the worst-case pick up a bait! How to train the alert behavior, you will learn in the category “Anti Poison Bait – Show Bait/Food”.

By Sarah Mertes

Certified dog trainer