Dog Training

How to Get My Dog to Stop Eating Random Food in 5 Steps

We constantly hear about the dangers of food poisoning in dogs: even on popular walking routes yours can get poisoned. Sadly enough, animal haters are always targeting innocent pets. A question pops up, then: is there a guide on how to get my dog to stop eating random leftovers? 

It's hard to imagine the great suffering that these awful people do to owners, dogs and even wild animals.
Fortunately, there is a way to avoid this! The best way to prevent any kind of poisoning in dogs is to go through a few training sessions for your pet to steer clear of eating unknown treats. 

For that very reason, here's a guide on how to put a stop to your pet's habit of picking up things without your permission.
If you've asked yourself how to get my dog to stop eating random food, you don't need to worry anymore: here are 5 steps to prevent food poisoning!

Poison bait
Table of contents

Should I Learn How to Get My Dog to Stop Eating Random Food?

The primary reason is clear: so as to not let your dog get extremely sick!
Naturally, the most logical preemptive measure would be to get a muzzle designed to prevent that. However, this deprives dogs from their freedom. Even then, some greedy dogs do manage to catch something from the ground, despite the muzzle.

Additionally, reports of food poisoning in dogs come in big numbers around metropolitan areas. As a result, protective muzzles get sold out quickly locally. Although you could order them online, you'll experience a delayed delivery due to the high demand. 

Overall, it's just not a long-term solution for many dogs and owners.

Moreover, lots of snacks can sicken dogs. There are often food scraps that people carelessly throw away, especially in cities or along busy roads. Chocolate, strongly spiced kebab, or even vomit, attract many a pet, just like the scent of fresh roses charm bees. The difference is that these leftovers are absolutely poisonous for most canines and might warrant a hefty visit to the vet. This is why it's so important to learn how to get my dog to stop eating random food scattered around.

Not only should puppies learn early on not to eat anything from the ground without permission, senior dogs, too. It's crucial to teach adult dogs who've just settled in a new family how to avoid eating poisonous items. It's not as easy, though: adult rescued animals are very used to it. Regardless, with time and effort, dog training can fix this unhealthy behavior.

Did your dog eat something outside? Watch for symptoms.

Stop eating random things

A Guide on How to Get My Dog to Stop Eating Random Food

1) Clarify What's Edible & What's Not

In principle, you can generally forbid your dog from eating things from the ground while outdoors. However, if you are interested in playing games that involve food, such as a searching game, you should teach them they can only fetch what you want them to. Otherwise, your pet might get the wrong idea. They won't understand why the treats you throw are okay to eat, but a half-eaten cheese sandwich is a no-go. Search or chase games make perfect sense for very active dogs or dogs with strong drives. This is a good way to keep them mentally busy outside. You could even use as a distraction method!

2) Prepare the Right Bait

The training goes down like this: you first lay a bait on a walkway, preferably on a cardboard tray that you can easily dispose of afterwards. That way, no leftovers will stick to the road. Your bait should be something tasty, but not too tasty either. If not, your dog will eat it all without any control whatsoever and the training will be useless. Mastery comes with hard training! Start with something simple, such as a sausage. Then, slowly work your way up to liverwurst, ham, bacon, cheese, minced meat or boiled chicken. These snacks are also most often used as bait for poisoning prevention training. You should have a treat ready at the same time, like liver sausages, for instance. It should definitely be something that your dog adores and rarely gets. Fragrant, moist treats also work well. Some owners also opt to reward their pets with the same food they use as bait. However, you might be ruining your dogs' nutrition by doing that. You can also add flavor to what you use as bait. You can add bits of your pets' favorite snacks so that they wind up loving their training sessions.

3) The Training Method

To begin our training, we need to place a fake bait where we can walk past it. If the fake bait is on the left side of the path, take your dog to your right. Take enough distance, so much so that your dog doesn't notice the bait. It's advisable to have someone else place the fake bait correctly here. You don't want your pet to notice. It's time to introduce the real bait. Take your pet close to your side, walk them with a leash, and approach the bait. That way, both of you are heading right towards the bait. As soon as they notice it, take a firm stand, grip the leash and don't let your dog pull on. If possible, you should include commands like "off," 'stay,' or even a simple no. Feel free to say the word with a stern determination: pets understand clear communication better. Despite all the ruckus, remain friendly and praise your dog whenever you make progress. Repeat this several times until your dog is finally capable of walking past the bait. Shower them with verbal praise when that time comes. If you notice it's really hard for them to ignore the bait, include a reward in between for not going crazy about the bait. This will keep your pet motivated and more likely to learn. It's essential that you don't stop walking. Walk past the bait and show your dog that the food on the ground has nothing to do with them.

4) Rinse & Repeat

You can increase the training as much as you like. Start with a paper plate with sausages, then put several paper plates with treats and increase the difficulty. Also, change the training location so that your dog understands that the food ban doesn't apply to one place only. Once your pet has displayed superb control of their impulses, you can lay the food on plastic wraps on the floor for the ultimate test. This way, you ensure no white paper plate or the likes will entice them. If you find incentives during your usual walks, like a banana peel on the ground or half a sausage roll, use that to practice! Do the exercise and walk past those items several times. Keep going back and forth until your dog ignores them completely. Include this exercise into your daily strolls and your dog won't ever anything from the ground ever again. This extra practice will make training against food poisoning in dogs much more efficient.

5) Remain Consistent

Some dogs acquire such fine discipline that they can look at scrapes without having any reaction at all. Regardless, you should stay consistent with the training to make your point clear. It's not the same as them waiting at home in front of their food bowl. After all, out in the open, he is not allowed to eat the food scattered around. If you have practiced well and your dog makes pays no heed to leftovers, give them a stationary command to make your point across. It's a safety measure. After that, safely put the scraps away and throw them in a trash bin. In any case, your dog will understand that they are not allowed to eat that. Do never let them eat food from the floor, even after training or as dinner!


Food poisoning is such an incredibly painful experience for our pets. Luckily, if you are curious enough to ask 'how to get my dog to stop eating random leftovers?', you can learn how to avoid this horrible situation at all. The reason behind dog haters' atrocities are the dog feces that owners don't pick up. This is not only a nuisance for non-dog owners, they also function as disease carriers that might sicken other pets. 

If you see someone leaving their dog's droppings, politely speak to them about it and ask them to pick it up, maybe even offer them a bag to do so. Little actions like these contribute to a better world and weakens such senseless hatred towards our lovely companions.

Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and build an inseparable bond.

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