Often, the nutritional value of a substance or object has little influence on your dog’s desire to eat it. Dogs eat weird things, sometimes for reasons even veterinarians can’t fathom. Axle grease is no good for your dog. If your dog has developed a taste for it, for whatever reason, the fastest way to curing this habit is to reduce his access to the substance and to create an aversion to it.
Tip #1 - Check the ingredients lists on all axle grease containers in your home. Some axle grease products contain elements of edible substances, such as peanut. If this is the case, it may explain Lucky’s habit of eating the stuff. Throw out any edible axle grease containers and replace them with synthetic axle grease.
Tip #2 - Make a list of all objects around the home that have axle grease on them. This will typically include cars and motorbikes but may also include some power tools.
Tip #3 - Put all portable objects, such as power tools, out of reach. Restrict access to all non-portable items, such as cars and bikes. If you don’t have a lockable garage, use a baby gate to prevent your dog from getting into the yard unsupervised. Cesar Milan believes that prevention is better than cure when it comes to curing dogs from eating foreign objects.
Step #1 - Put a leash on Lucky and walk him toward the source of the axle grease. As you walk him, give him lots of verbal praise. Giving praise while he is not trying to eat the grease means you can withdraw the praise if he shows an interest. In situations where a dog’s health is at risk, aversion training is the safest option. Some trainers use electric collars to create the aversion, especially for rattlesnake aversion training where avoidance is a matter of life and death, but you can use kinder methods.
Step #2 - Allow him to approach the axle grease. As soon as he gets within 5 feet of the grease, stop praising him.
Step #3 - Tug gently on the leash to distract him. With sufficient repetition, Lucky will learn that when attempts to eat the axle grease, the positive stimulus of praise is replaced by the negative stimulus of being tugged. Over time, he’ll begin to associate these consequences with his decision to try to consume the axle grease.
Step #4 - Repeat this exercise daily, each time increasing the amount of time you spend near the source of the axle grease. Give food treats at the end of every session in which your dog doesn’t attempt to eat, sniff or otherwise investigate the grease.
By Simon Foden
About the Author
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.