If you have or have ever had a dog who likes to eat poop, you know just how gross it can be! There’s no smell quite like hot ‘n’ fresh poop breath…
When my dog started eating poop a few years ago, the first thing I did was mention it to my vet. It is critical to rule out any medical issues before proceeding with training! If you are having this issue and you have not checked with your vet yet, stop reading and give them a call. (But don’t forget to come back!)
Once we’ve ruled out any medical reason for the poop eating, or coprophagia as it’s officially called, we can focus on training solutions.
Teach your dog a very reliable “leave-it” command. This will be critical for when you see your dog starting to be interested in a pile of poop, you can verbally cue them to look away.
If Leave-It is a new command for your dog, this will take a lot of practice on a lot of different objects. Start with things that are easy and your dog doesn’t care about anyway. Click here for a more thorough description of how to teach leave-it.
Anti-coprophagia treats can be a very useful assistant. In my experience, I have not found an anti-coprophagia that totally stops the behavior without any effort on my part. I’ve tried a number of brands, and have found these ones on Amazon to work the best for my dogs. https://amzn.to/30tV0dj
You will want to try a couple different brands to find out which ones your dog is most responsive to.
What the treats will do is make it a little easier to use the “leave-it” command on your dog in a poop scenario. When I first tried the treats, I was expecting them to just stop the behavior all together. When that didn’t happen, I stopped buying the treats. It became increasingly harder to call my dogs away from poop. Once I restarted the treats, it reduced the poop’s deliciousness just enough for my “leave-it” commands to begin working again.
Clean that yard! Cleaning up after your dog poops as soon as possible will reduce the opportunities your dog has to eat the poop. Your dog literally can’t eat poop if there is no poop around to eat!
As a busy, adult human, this isn’t always possible, but as much as we can keep that yard clean, the better.
If you think muzzles are just to prevent dogs from biting, think again! Muzzles can be extremely useful in coprophagia cases. The muzzle prevents the dog from eating the poop, regardless of training, treats, and yard cleanliness. Depending on your situation, a muzzle could be a good prevention tool while you also work on steps 1-3 as described above.
Poop eating is not a fun problem to solve but with persistence, training, and patience, we can drastically reduce the amount of times your dog comes up to you with THAT breath…
(Side note: I never thought I’d write the word “poop” so many times in one day…)
Other Animals’ Poop?
Another kind of poop my dogs find in the yard is rabbit poop. In order to help prevent small mammal poop from ending up in my yard, I purchased a couple owl statutes from Amazon. I move them in the yard every couple days and they have been a great deterrent for the rabbits that used to poop in my yard!
Through training, creativity, and persistence, we can drastically reduce the amount of poop our dogs ingest.
Thank you for stopping by to read about poop today! If you know someone who would benefit from this information, feel free to send them the link!