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Can anyone tell me how to get my 1 year old Golden to stop eating socks. We keep them out of his reach, but each time a friend dog sits we come home to a very sick dog pooping and throwing up until he passes socks. Just recently he ate a sleeve off a shirt of mine. He's never done this before, but seems to be acting up since we got back from our 9 day honeymoon. We are trying to keep everything out of his reach, but is there any aversion technique we can teach him? We are tired, when he's passing an item he shouldn't he wakes up every 1-2 hr to go outside to go potty or get sick. Other than his sock eating and recent shirt eating he's very well behaved. He's crate-trained when not home and went through basic puppy training and knows to leave it, wait, etc, but doesn't wait for permission to get a sock. He has lots of toys around the house too.
 

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good luck.

i have a 4 year old Black lab that EATS EVERYTHING!!!

we keep everything out of sight, he gets more excersise than he needs, and yet still eats them

i am curious as how to get him to stop as well

not my golden will get them, but just to bring them to me.
 

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In the Moment
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Boy, that's scary. You are lucky that so far everything has passed. Many times it causes an obstruction and needs surgery. I don't know the solution but I hope someone has some good tips for you.
 

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1) Pick everything up well, and train your pet sitters to do 100% supervision! As said above,t here's the risk of an obstruction (....at best, a few hundreds to a few thousand dollars, at worst, death). NO MATTER how much training, there is the risk is too great, management should be your first priority.
2) Find a trainer who can help you teach a good automatic leave it with these items COnsider training your dog to retrieve/play tug with these items.... playing tug/retrieve is compatible with swallowing. But find a competent professional, DO NOT try to train this on your own....
 

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Chester & Murphy's Mom
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It's summer....wear sandals :)
My boys will grab socks pretty quick as well, we just need to be quicker. All shoes and socks when not on feet go in closets and laundry room. Good luck.
 

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Personally, I would crate my dog rather than have dog-sitters while away for short periods of time and kennel my dog with a repuatable kennel while away on vacations. I also keep my house well picked up - I have 3 goldens.

I would also train my dog incompatible behaviours; I gave up many years ago trying to prevent my Casey from grabbing my socks so instead trained him to bring his prize to me - he actually opens the closet and roots around the hamper until he finds a sock :) Goldens love grabbing things in their mouths and we can hope it is a toy, but otherwise turn it into a game so you get your sock back and your dog doesn't eat it.

You can certainly try aversives but they will most likely result in your dog stealing your socks and going to hide while he eats them every chance he gets. My Faelan steals my footwear and proudly prances around and brings it to me; he never chews or damages the sneakers, boots or shoes but seems to find comfort in carrying them and bringing them to me.

I would step up the training sessions - positive methods please - so that your dog has structure and a job to do. A 1 year old dog could probably have 2 training sessions a day; Heel, come, fronts, leave it, drop it, take it, retrieving games, spin left/right etc. These sessions don't have to be long (like 5-10 minutes each maybe) but do have to be progressive and fun.

Good luck.
 

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Picking everything up is the best solution. I have a sock eater and he had gotten my son's socks several times and my husband's tube sock one time. He was a very sick pup, fortunately each time he vomited them up a couple of days later. Now we keep a baby gate at my son's bedroom door since his room is always a disaster area. And my husband's stopped leaving his socks where Danny can find them. We haven't had an incident in over 3 years now. *knock on wood*
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sock Eating Suggestions

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I agree keeping the house cleaned up is the easiest and maybe we should just kennel him instead of relying on friends. We thought it would be less traumatic on him if he got to stay in his own house, but that appears way more traumatic since he's eatings socks. We also utilize the dog-gate to keep him out of the basement where my husbands clothes are in our spare room, unfortunately we also have the guest room in the basement, hence the additional access to the basement when a dog sitter is around. We also learned he could push the door open with a little force so we've remedied that.

I like the idea of training him to retrieve socks for a prize. We talked with a Bark Buster training this weekend and he gave us aversion techniques, but I agree he may just hide when he steals them, he never grabs them in front of us.

I have started training the puppy each day to give him more mental stimulation and I have him walking in the heal position, because that seems to be taxing on his brain, makes him tired.

We've also tried the Bitter Apple spray on the socks, but he didn't seem that turned off by the taste, so I asked a Bark Buster trainer and he said to put the Bitter Apple Spray on your hand and make your dog taste it on the back of his tongue where the bitter taste buds are so he associates the smell with the awful taste. If he only gets it on the tip of his tongue it won't be that bad.

Additionally, Bark Busters suggested feeding him by scattering his food in yard to encourage in hunting instinct, we already used the Buster Ball for his entertainment, but love the outdoor idea as well. Also raw bones were suggested to entertain him.

I'll let you know how the retriever sock training goes. Thanks for the suggestions.
 

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I wish I had an answer for this one. I've lost two Goldens now to sock eating. You'd think I was an irresponsible owner, but I've run through it all a million times. Our dogs were disciplined, walked, healthy and represented the breed well. And they were so so so loved.
The first Golden (Cooper) - ate a sock and it became lodged in his intestines (the first time we had ever heard of a dog doing this). Our vet cared for him for a week before finally getting X-rays. By that time he was so weak that they felt he was unable to make it through surgery and we put him down - that was the most painful experience of my life, but we were left with his sister, Lucy.
Lucy - A very well mannered and incredibly obedient dog. She didn't even need a leash. Recently she started eating our little boys socks and passing them. I spent time with her teaching her not to do it, but she ate another one and this one didn't pass. Luckily we knew the signs and took her to an emergency vet right away. I had x-rays done immediately, and then opted for emergency surgery. There's no way I was going to let this dog go out the same way. Then just 1 week after stiches were removed she ate something else and got sick again. X-rays proved us right. This vet liked Lucy so much that she did the surgery for free with one catch - she got to keep her. We really couldn't afford another surgery so we opted for that.
So now I've lost both of my beloved and beautiful goldens to this behavior. I'm at a complete loss trying to figure out if it was me (in which case I never deserve the opportunity to own another one) or if goldens can just be like this.
It is terrible.
 

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Erik,
I'm so sorry for what you've been through. I lost my first dog to this, (it was my two year old daughter's stuffed animal) and I know how heartbreaking it is. I am afraid that it is something that has to be managed. I don't know what your management plan has been in the past, but maybe in the future when your son is a bit older and better about picking up you would try to have a dog again and utilize baby gates and a crate (these are my methods). Knowing that I have to be as diligent as possible, but even with our best efforts mistakes can and will happen.

I am sorry for your loss, it's very difficult.
 

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Good news my 1 year old Golden that I originally posted the sock eating concerns about will be 2 in March. We found teaching him to RETRIEVE socks for treats to be the best way to get him to stop eating socks. Aversion did not work because he would sneak them, now at least he trades them in for treats. Also keeping all clothes behind closed doors he cannot push open is the key. Last, finding a couple that takes the dog watching seriously and keeps all soft objects out of reach saved our sanity. We found a couple with another Golden puppy to watch him so now they play and he doesn't get upset when we leave him.
 

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I have a 6 month old golden that has eaten 7 socks, 2 pair of my female panties, a sleeve off of a shirt, and several stuffed animal parts. My boyfriend & I do our best to keep the socks picked up, but he even gets them out of the hamper. We begin to suspect that he has one in his stomach when he has a poor appetite. Usually about 3 days later he will vomit up the clothing. I am worried that one of these times he will get a blockage. I have only had to use 3% hydrogen peroxide once and it was when he LITERALLY had 2 socks & a whole pair of underwear in his stomach. It took 2 doses of peroxide & 3 hours later it all came up. I hope this is a problem that he will outgrow. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to share! Sock-eating is a very dangerous habit for our Golden's! Take Care -Stephanie
 

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As you know it is very dangerous!
My hamper is a big garbage can with one of those foot petals that lift the lid, so it is basically covered. If that doesn't work keep the hamper in a room the dog can't get to.
Really, management is the only thing that works, they usually don't outgrow it.
 
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Casper loves to run off with socks and shoes, but hasn't eaten any. I count my socks. I count them into the hamper, into the laundry (when I do it, usually it's my husband), and I count them into the drawers. The last time we lost a sock we searched until we found it.
 

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My Nala has eaten a ton of socks. Luckily all have passed so far. We keep all bedroom and bathroom doors closed (she likes toilet paper and paper also). Is this a Golden specific behavior? Do they outgrow this when puppyhood is over? She is 9 months.
 

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We also have a golden that likes to eat everything. The main thing to do is to be extremely vigilent and make sure that socks/potentially dangerous things are kept far away. We have baby gates and locks on doors to stop Sammy getting into rooms where there might be stuff he could eat. Teaching 'give' is also a good one to get them to drop something that they might have. It is easier said than done and we're still working on it with Sammy who's almost 1. We've had a couple of scares with him swallowing other things, so we do our very best to make sure that he can't get to socks etc.. Toys are also a worry as he would eat the stuffing from them so he can only have real safe toys like balls/kongs.
 

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Update on sock eating Golden - Prozac

Our Golden is now 3 1/2 and we did well with getting him to trade socks & underwear for treats, we made it almost 2 years without an incident. However, we had a baby a few months back and he somehow got a baby onesie, we have no idea how because we keep our house so picked up. Our dog was never one to go into the hamper and grab something, he was more of an opportunist. The onesie caused a blockage that required serious surgery to the tune of $3K, however we caught it right away so no long term damage (i.e. he did not loose part of his colon). It was very scary. We ended up going to a dog behaviorist that diagnosed him with Oral OCD and he is now on generic Prozac to help treat is oral fixation. In addition we were told to play with a soccer ball & feed him out of a buster cube & divide his meals into 3 so he gets breakfast, lunch & dinner. People will keep telling you to walk them more, but you could walk our dog until he's too tired to walk anymore and he still has his oral fixation. I continue to work on the trade command because no matter how diligent you are at keeping the house picked up that 1% time the golden finds something I want him to know he can trade it for a treat. We adopted our Golden when he was 4 months and we were his 5th home, we later learned the first 5 months are the most formative of a dog and since he was passed around he developed this oral fixation as a comfort mechanism. He also does something "blanket sucking" where he gums a big stuff animal like a baby would a pacifier. Good luck to those out there with the same problem. It seems most vets have no interest in treating the condition, trainers will promise they can fix it, but they can't they just charge you $200 to tell you to walk him more. Try Prozac, buster ball for meals, soccer ball & trade for treat.
 

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Add some salt to your peroxide next time and he will bring up whatever he ate within 5 - 15 minutes. I have had two goldens who would get underwear, socks or gloves whenever he would find them. The first golden managed to get teenage daughters' things because they would leave them hanging around in their rooms if I didn't pick them up. He managed to pass everything so did not need surgery. Once my daughters' were out of the house on their own things were a lot better. My second golden was more into winter gloves if I dropped one while walking. Took him to the vet one day after this happened and that's when I learned about the peroxide and salt solution. The golden I have now has never eaten anything but paper. Once in a while if the closet door is not closed properly he will bring out a shoe, take out the inner sole and chew on it but never ate the whole thing. Have to be very careful with these goldens as you never know what sort of things they can get into.
 

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1) Pick everything up well, and train your pet sitters to do 100% supervision! As said above,t here's the risk of an obstruction (....at best, a few hundreds to a few thousand dollars, at worst, death). NO MATTER how much training, there is the risk is too great, management should be your first priority.
2) Find a trainer who can help you teach a good automatic leave it with these items COnsider training your dog to retrieve/play tug with these items.... playing tug/retrieve is compatible with swallowing. But find a competent professional, DO NOT try to train this on your own....
We keep all socks, underwear, clothes in a hamper with a lid on it. We NEVER leave anything on the floor. We are anal about this. Like RedDogs said, this can result in your dog dying, will result in surgery and thousands of dollars. This is no laughing matter!
 

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Resurrecting an old thread here. I'd like to hear from some Golden owners who actually had this problem. My 2 yr old Golden has a terrible sock eating problem (occasionally other items, but mostly socks). It's next to impossible to keep everything away from him with a house of small children. We manage to keep suspicious items away from him 99% of the time, but that 1% of the time... Yes, I know it needs to be 100% of the time. That's easy for people to say that don't have a Golden with this problem and a house full of kids.

Anyway, for those who actually had this problem, did your Golden outgrow this? Was training to trade for a treat the best method that worked for you?
 
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