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I know at just 6 months and under, this is a puppy's time to get to know the world and goldens explore through their mouths. Being a first time dog parent, I've told myself this repeatedly, but I still feel incompetent with my training when other dog people also find it weird that my puppy will pull up grass or eat anything on the ground when she's excited. In addition, I know nature walks on a long lead would be a great experience for her, but every time I put her on a longer lead, that time is very brief and full of frustration as I have to get her to drop whatever she's picked up next.

She knows "leave it." If I'm holding something or put it in front of her and say these words, she'll look away as to not give in. When I'm setting her food down and ask her to "wait," she won't eat until I've said "OK" unlike when she was younger and would be ready to knock me or anyone over to get to her bowl. But if we're in a field or on a walk, long lead or regular leash, she refuses to listen to "leave it," "drop it" or "come." And even worse, she knows she shouldn't be doing it because she'll take off running if I try to step in her direction or tug on her leash to interrupt her.

I brought a ball this time to keep her distracted and still, she ran to it at first and then dropped it to pick at everything around it (clods of mowed grass, dandelions, confetti probably littered and forgotten from a kid's birthday party, even someone's half chewed stick of gum). What else can I do to manage this? I want to be able to take her out for more than a walk to exhaust her energy for the evening. We tried the beach once, but with the excitement of so many people, she just ate sand.
 

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First you are making good progress, as you note many commands the pup is following. Number one, don't give up be consistent and I would not go on nature walks or anything else until you can control the pup in your own yard. They need to earn that privilege. When you leave the yard, the risk of eating something dangerous becomes greater....so be patient.

I use pinch collars to train my young dogs obedience, if you are not into that or even a choke collar, just keep doing what you are doing and in time the pup will figure it out...

Good Luck,

If you should decided to try a pinch collar or choke collar....work with a trainer to find out how to properly use them. Like any training aid they can be misused....
 

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She knows "leave it." If I'm holding something or put it in front of her and say these words, she'll look away as to not give in. When I'm setting her food down and ask her to "wait," she won't eat until I've said "OK" unlike when she was younger and would be ready to knock me or anyone over to get to her bowl. But if we're in a field or on a walk, long lead or regular leash, she refuses to listen to "leave it," "drop it" or "come." And even worse, she knows she shouldn't be doing it because she'll take off running if I try to step in her direction or tug on her leash to interrupt her.

I brought a ball this time to keep her distracted and still, she ran to it at first and then dropped it to pick at everything around it (clods of mowed grass, dandelions, confetti probably littered and forgotten from a kid's birthday party, even someone's half chewed stick of gum). What else can I do to manage this? I want to be able to take her out for more than a walk to exhaust her energy for the evening. We tried the beach once, but with the excitement of so many people, she just ate sand.
She only knows "leave it" in a specific context, i.e. if you're holding an object or putting it in front of her. She doesn't know it in the context of something that's already on the ground. Dogs don't generalize well. In other words, you need to train the command in different places and different contexts. To get her to leave stuff that's already on the ground, start by training it at home with an object that isn't valuable to her, then gradually work up to clods of grass and pieces of litter. It's important not to use the command in situations where she might not obey - so you should never tell her to "leave it" in a situation where she might not do it. If you do, she will learn that she doesn't need to obey the command. Same for "come": if she's ignoring you on walks, it's because she's learned that she doesn't have to obey you. Personally I would go back to the beginning and re-train using a different command, train it in different places and contexts, and with different objects, and not use it in situations where she might ignore you.

She's not refusing to listen, she's just not yet trained to obey in that specific context.
 

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I live in a city and never realized just how many things people leave on sidewalks (chicken bones! half a glazed donut! an entire pizza slice!) until I started walking Minnie around. Minnie knew leave-it in specific contexts, but I had such a hard time teaching it for high-value objects on the street (and to your pup, sounds like everything is high-value right now!) because she would get so overstimulated that any correction would send her into a frenzy of jumping and zooming. Whenever she went for something, I started just very calmly grabbing her snout and pulling whatever it was out, and then continuing on the walk without giving her any attention. After several weeks of that, she learned that a) she will never get to keep or eat what she finds, and b) she won't get any attention from me if she does pick something up. For her, it was a combination of wanting the thing and also wanting my attention so she could get all riled up. Now she just walks past almost everything with just a sniff, except maybe chicken bones.
 

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I have the same situation with my older pup. She does very well with her in-house, no distraction training, but walks are another thing all together. I know this is no replacement for solid training, but I sometimes use a mesh muzzle when we go for walks. Unfortunately someone close to my home has recently been throwing food garbage along one of our walking routes. :mad: When Lumi is wearing the muzzle I can relax and enjoy the outing, and we both have a much better time. I'm hoping that with continued training we can eventually skip the muzzle, but for now it works for us.
 

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Don't forget that dogs are really really bad at generalizing! This is why it's so important to train pups in a variety of environments, not just as home. In this case, it's super easy since you know exactly what "sets" her off. So swap out a basic commands training session a day for that. Bring your treat bag, go to the spot where you know she misbehaves, and do your training session there.
 

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Our puppy is almost the same age as yours. He doesn't suffer from picking up things as much with his mouth as your dog, but he will smell everything. And if I get an inkling that he's going to want to pick something up, I say a "nah-ah" instead of "leave it" because as prior comments have said, it's like you're talking to your dog and inadvertently reinforcing the behavior -- and he also only knows "leave it" in certain contexts (e.g., with home things that we don't want him to go after -- shoes, wires, etc., which he does great at).

Our biggest outside hurdle for the past few weeks has been leaves. Oh lord the leaves . . . . at first he would just pick it up and chew on it and spit it out, then it devolved into actually eating leaves. We concluded that some of this behavior was his typical golden curiosity, but the persistence of this behavior was boredom because he seldom picked up leaves when he would be really tired coming home from obedience class or a play date. So whenever he passed by a whole lot of leaves and didn't pick it up, we praised him so, so much (praise for good behavior works so much better than corrections for bad behavior). Now, he rarely picks up leaves. So if you have the opportunity to wear your dog out with a game of fetch or even a puzzle game before you go out, it would make your walk and outdoor training go more smoothly.

Took a long while, but we eventually got there. You'll get there with her too!
 
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