My Little Dog is No Longer Obsessed with Eating Tan Bark

My Little Dog is No Longer Obsessed with Eating Tan Bark

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These three photos may not look like much.  A dog walking in the back yard.  But, do you notice anything?  My dog is “unleashed”.

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No big deal, right?  Not for a regular dog.  But, for Misha…well, this is a sign that she is finally growing up and finally gotten over one of her worst behavior problems.

You see, Misha was just a little over 1 year old when our lives got stressful.  She transitioned from puppy to one year old very nicely.  And, then my dad died and we  moved.  The whole thing threw her.  She regressed.  She had to be housebroken all over again.  And, she became obsessed with tan bark.

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She hadn’t been particularly interested in anything in the yard until we moved.  Then, she seems to be acutely away of everything and she wanted to put it in her mouth.  Tan bark was her biggest obsession.  She couldn’t go outside without attempting to pick up a chunk.  Then, there were leaves and every now and then small rocks.  As a pet mom, I was at my wits ends.  I had to watch her constantly for fear of what she might swallow next.

It wasn’t just outside.  In doors, she began attacking the carpet and pulling out yarn.  Luckily, Bitter Apple worked on this issue.  It was completely ineffective outside though.

So, I began putting her on leash in the back yard.  It was kind of a hassle.  But, it was better that worrying over what she might ingest every time I let her out.

The leash was as much for my own peace of mind as her safety.

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Over the years, her obsession with tan bark would come and go.  She’d be off leash for a while. Then, she’d start eating it again and it was back to the leash

But in the last year, I’ve noticed a change.  She has lost her appetite for tan bark.  Though she’ll still eat little things on the ground, she doesn’t seem as obsessive about it.

I’ve been slowly giving her more freedom in the yard over the last year.   She’s gotten better at following commands and will follow me back into the house.

I still leash her in the morning.  I need to check the yard to make sure our wild friends haven’t left any presents over night.  Once that’s done, she’s on her own.

I felt bad keeping her on leash all those years.  But, sometimes you have to do things for your dog’s safety–and for your own peace of mind

I’m happy that she gave up her tan bark obsession.  Now, she can be a regular dog.  She can pee without everybody watching.  And, I can relax and enjoy our time outside together.


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13 thoughts on “My Little Dog is No Longer Obsessed with Eating Tan Bark

  1. I wanted to eat wood chips when I was young. Mom loves the look of wood chips but hates that they need to be renewed every year or two, so she simply ordered rock and covered everything that had chips with rock…no more problems. Glad you got over it as some of the chips out there are dangerous.

    1. Your mom is very smart! I am glad that she was able to stop you from eating the wood chips. I have heard they can be dangerous which is why I worked so hard to keep her out of them.

  2. So sorry to hear about your loss. Jaxson was a bark eater too. He tried to eat rocks and everything else he could find when outside. I feel your pain 🙂 He is now 18 months old and no longer interested. Perhaps for some dogs it’s nothing more than a part of growing up.

    1. Thanks Groovy GoldenDoodles! I didn’t really think about it at the time, but Misha was going through her own grief (she love her grandpa) and trying to adjust to her new surroundings. I guess attacking the tan bark was a stress reliever. I’m glad she is passed it now. Thank goodness they grow up!

    1. AllDogsWelcome, it’s like having a toddler. LOL Being a pet parent can be really trying at times, but the rewards are many.

  3. My big girl Hershey had a backyard eating obsession too, only it was squirrels! In her first two years she bagged 9 of the little things. Now, despite them being far more delicious than bark, she doesn’t care about them. Been there, eaten that.

  4. That’s great! How wonderful that she had you to care for and be so patient with her. I do think dogs pick up on our stress – sounds like she really had a hard time when your dad passed and you moved. So glad she is finally adjusting and can enjoy life off of the leash.

    1. Daily Pip, I think you are right. We don’t always realize how much our dogs are affecting by change or by our emotions. Misha developed a lot of issues after my dad’s death that I slowly worked through. It’s so nice to just let her run around the yard. I can’t keep up with a Jack Russell all the time. LOL

  5. I always love to see happy news like this. I can imagine that it would be hard to use a leash all the time (the ability to keep a dog OFF the leash is why most of us invest in yards!), but it’s wonderful that you stuck with the training plan. I have no doubt that’s why your pup has improved so much. Your kindness and training did the trick!

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

    1. Jean, Thanks for the kind words! It can be difficult working through a dog’s troubles, but if we keep at it we eventually find the right trick that works. I’m happy to not worry that she’ll get sick on tan bark.

  6. Definitely stressful. So glad for both you and Misha that she’s overcoming the habit. I’m quite paranoid where our babies’ safety is concerned; thank goodness that they all got over the desire to eat random things even before becoming full adults – I’d be quite a nervous wreck!

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