How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop  

Posted by — Kim in , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here's a great article that I thought I would pass on...hope you find it interesting! –Kim

The Causes of "Coprophagia"

Poop-eating (Coprophagia) is a disgusting behavior, but it is unlikely to MAKE your dog sick, so at least you can let that worry go. It will be easier for you and your dog if you remain calm during training – even if he relapses.

The causes of Coprophagia are not fully understood. However, veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers generally agree that it is a behavioral problem. On the other side of the coin, there are a handful illnesses that can cause coprophagia, but they generally present with more symptoms, including diarrhea. To be on the safe-side, take your dog to the vet, especially if your dog has diarrhea and or has not been to the vet for vaccinations.

When you know your dog is healthy, the following training plan should help.

  1. Know that STRESS is the enemy. Your dog is very young and he may still be nervous, or stressed out about going to the bathroom. Stress is the cause of many undesirable canine behaviors. Believe it or not, there is a lot that can stress a 5-month old a puppy. They are learning to hold their bladder and bowels, as opposed to just going whenever they feel like it. They are also still in the process of learning when and where they may go to the bathroom. Potty-training a pup can be frustrating, but avoid punishing mistakes. Instead tighten up on management and forgive mistakes.
  2. Do NOT let GOOD BEHAVIOR go unnoticed. Reward your dog every time he goes to the bathroom in the appropriate place. As soon as your dog has finished PEEING or POOPING, use your best happy voice to praise him. Then feed him a tasty treat. Toss a second treat away from the poop to distract your dog while you remove the poop with a scoop or bag. If you have already been doing this, continue and make sure that you do it for BOTH pees and poops. I would skip shouting "No!" This could cause more stress. Just wiggle the dog treat and praise your dog, so that his attention is on you and he leaves the poop alone.
  3. CLEAN UP! Always join your dog on potty walks so that you can reward your dog and scoop the poop immediately.
  4. INCREASE EXERCISE & MENTAL STIMULATION. Make sure that your dog is getting plenty of vigorous exercise each day. A 5-month old Shepherd could probably use at least two 1-hour play sessions each day. This means running, fetching, hiking, playing with dogs. More is always better. And, when you leave your dog alone, make sure that your dog has plenty of things to CHEW. Bones and Kongs are best.
  5. Try adding a SUPPLEMENT to your dog's food so that the poop will be unappealing to your dog. There are several products, listed below, but I have also heard various recommendations on adding enzymes to your dog's food. The theory is that if poop-eating is caused by under-digestion (eat the poop to give a second go at getting all the nutrients), then the enzymes help the food become more digestible.

At this point, regardless of the CAUSE, there is also a BAD HABIT. I recommend trying the supplements IN ADDITION to doing the behavior modification work. If you are only going to do one, try the behavior stuff first (its free), then buy a supplement if there is no change in behavior after 3-weeks.

  • Forbid
  • Deter
  • Papaya, Fig or Pineapple (contains enzymes that break down amino acids)
  • Meat Tenderizer (from a grocery store; contains enzymes that break down protein)

Do you have a question for Kelley?

Source: DogTime blogger Kelley Filson

Also, see:

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at Saturday, July 18, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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