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New challenge, in the fall our Live Oak trees shed loads of small acorns, mostly green or just turning brown. We've enclosed 2 acres of our property to let Katy run and play off leash and she loves it. Gets to run free 3-4 times per day for exercise. One of us is always "supervising" but at 5 months old she is not 100% obedient, especially with "drop it" or "leave it". In the past we have been mostly looking out for mushrooms/toadstools and any construction debris from the fence installation.But now she is picking up acorns.

She doesn't seem to be eating them intentionally but likes to roll one around in her mouth, occasionally dropping it, but more often cracking it and dropping the pieces, though presumably not all of the pieces. About this same time she has been having intermittent diarrhea, and we think it may be tied to this acorn habit she has acquired. We desperately want her to enjoy the newly enclosed section off leash so must find a solution. These trees drop tons of acorns each year and picking the up is not an option, especially near the base of the trees. The questions:

1) Could this troublesome diarrhea be caused by ingesting parts of the acorns? (She's had diarrhea before and has been treated by the vet but none of those measures seem to be working and it seems that the bouts are in synch with her romps off leash). This has gotten so bad that she has soiled her crate 4-5 times in the past 6 days, she has never done that before.

2) She understands the "drop it" and "leave it" commands but is far from being consistent, and her focus on us is very weak when she's exploring off leash. Could we tighten this up with an e-collar? Tone and vibrate only, I'd not want to use stimulation until she is older and maybe not even then. Need to learn more about that.

3) Will she outgrow this? Her fenced area has been a key part of the larger plan and we can't provide her the daily exercise she needs without her off leash romps.

Thanks guys
 

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We had a similar problem with Ellie eating the landscaping mulch in the yard. As a small puppy this concerned us a lot as while not poisonous could cause a blockage. It caused us a ton of stress in trying to keep her from doing this. When young it is very challenging to reinforce the leave-it and drop-it command when they are not near you. What worked for us was a spray bottle with water and having Ellie drag a long line while "free" out back. The long line was if she decided she wanted to try to play a game of "come and get it from me" and the spray bottle was to reinforce the leave-it / drop-it commands. We'd then stalk her while she was out, if she went for the mulch she got a leave-it command with a squirt. If she managed to get it, then drop-it with a squirt. After while of doing that, we use the command without a squirt to test her and to teach her that if she reacts quickly to the command she won't get the squirt. Eventually she stopped bothering with the mulch and the whole ordeal allowed us an opportunity to really drill in the leave-it command!

After 6mos we moved to an e-collar which is far more convenient than squirt bottles and long lines.
 
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