How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Dog Poop

We all know that dogs can be fairly disgusting at times.  But there’s one behavior that usually grosses out every owner:  eating fecal matter.  For various reasons, dogs will sometimes wolf down dog poop in its various forms, especially when they are young.

This behavior is technically called coprophagy.  Fortunately it is usually easy to stop if you give your dog the proper nutritional supplements and make some behavior modifications.

Why Dogs Eat Poop

To begin with, you need to know why your dog is engaging in this behavior.  If you notice your dog eating poop you should take him to the vet if it’s something he does often.  Your vet can find out if your dog is eating poop because of some kind of nutritional deficiency in his diet.

Eating poop can be a sign of several deficiencies but your vet can perform an easy blood test to find out if there is something important missing in your dog’s blood chemistry.  In many cases you can simply add a supplement to your dog’s diet and it will help stop the problem.

Training Your Dog to Stop

Once you know if there is a physical problem with your dog you can address any deficiency.  On the other hand, if your dog is eating poop because of a behavior issue, then you can use behavior modification to change his behavior.

Reduce your dog’s opportunity to eat poop.  You can begin by reducing the number of chances your dog has to eat the fecal matter.  Pick up the poop and remove it as soon as your dog, or any other dog, relieves himself.  Pick it up daily or even more often if your dog has a yard that he uses.

If you walk your dog you should take him yourself to where he normally potties and don’t let him near any other fecal matter you may encounter on your walk.

Personally Supervise Outings.  You should personally take your dog on his walks, if possible.  This includes outings to the dog park since dogs sometimes get away on these trips and can find poop to eat.  If you will spend more time with your dog so you can watch him and correct his poop-eating behavior, he will learn faster that the behavior is not acceptable.

Negative Stimuli.  If you really want to change your dog’s poop-eating behavior you will need to teach your dog that it is unpleasant.  You can use a noisemaker or spray him with a spray bottle to startle him when he starts to eat poop.

It is important that you add this negative stimuli immediately, as soon as your dog starts to eat the poop.  You can’t delay it or give verbal commands.  Your dog needs to hear the startling noise or feel the spray as soon as he starts to eat the poop so he will associate the the negative stimuli with eating the poop.  Otherwise he will be confused.

Use Deterrents.  You can also use deterrents such as cayenne pepper or bitter apple on the poop.  When your dog eats the poop, he won’t like it, or he may not want to eat it.  Another deterrent is to give your dog pumpkin with his food.  Pumpkin makes the poop unpleasant so your dog won’t want to eat it.

There are also some commercially-sold deterrents but you should read the ingredients.  Avoid deterrents that have chemicals or ingredients that you don’t know.  Try to use natural deterrents.

Vitamins and Supplements.  If your vet determines that your dog has a deficiency of some kind, you can add a good multivitamin to your dog’s diet.  Ask your vet to recommend one so it contains the vitamins or minerals that your dog is missing.  You may also want to supplement your dog’s diet with more fresh foods.

If your dog is eating dog poop you can usually train him to stop doing it.  It’s important to help your dog understand exactly which behavior you object to and want to change. You have to be consistent and make sure your family is consistent, especially if other people in your family walk your dog.

If you can keep control of your dog’s walks, what happens on their walks, and whether they eat anything on their walks, you should be able to stop the poop-eating behavior fairly easily.

Please share your thoughts.  Does your dog eat poop?  How were you able to cure the problem?  Don’t be shy, please leave a comment below.  We can’t wait to read your response!

Until next time……

About the Author: Wayne Booth is owner of Canine Behavior Specialists in Nashville, TN.  Wayne has been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990 and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network,

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