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My dog eats poop - HELP

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My dog eats poop - HELP
  • Annie, a dog I rescued, eats her own poop and my other dog's.  It's really gross and we weren't told about it when we agreed to take her and then the previous owner moved into a new place where she can't have dogs.  The previous owner was sick and couldn't take care of the dog and her kids, I've heard, didn't take care of her, and that the son tormented the poor dog -- I'm thinking he may have even encouraged the eating of the poop so he wouldn't have to clean it -- I'm not sure; I'm just trying to figure it out. THE BIGGER PROBLEM IS THAT MY HUSBAND IS READY TO PUT HER TO SLEEP BECAUSE OF IT.  I am very very sad because my dogs are family to me.  Sweet little Annie is going to die if I can't fix this problem.  Now I'm crying and I need to go.  If anyone has answers please let me know before it's too late.  We've tried FORBID/DETER types of products, tobasco, and a shock collar -- the training caller actually worked for a little while then she fell back into the pattern.  Maybe do it for longer?  It does suck having to go out with the dogs every time just to make sure the poop gets cleaned up before she gets to it.

  • The immediate solution is to not allow here outside unattended, to pick up the poop very quickly.  Some folks have had success with feeding pineapple to the dogs to prevent poop eating.

    Not to be unpleasant, but your husband needs to understand dogs a bit better.  Number one, poop is a very valuable commodity in the dog world.  Depending on what you feed, nutrients often pass on through and are, yep, in the poop, ready and waiting to be ingested again.  Yeah, it's gross, but, as they say, sometimes stuff happens.

    The very best way to stop this right away is as I said first.  Monitor like crazy, and teach her to "leave it".

  • This is one of the cheat sheets I give my students.  Maybe it will help.  Also, tell your hubby that it takes time to modify a long standing behavior and to please have patience.  No dog deserves to die because it does this - if anything, she can be re homed to someone who understands dogs better than he does, and he should at least be willing to let you have time to do that, rather than killing her. 

    (Edited to say: By the way, I have no idea how to get rid of the gobbledygook that pasted along with my cheat sheet, so please just ignore it, it doesn't mean anything)

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    The Scoop on Poop - and Other Odd Dining Habits


    There are many reasons dogs decide to eat foreign material or ***.  Some are:

    • It's there! Cleaning up is good prevention.
    • Boredom
    • It's the only thing available to investigate in an otherwise un-stimulating area.
    • Learned behavior - maybe mom or another pup in the litter was a "poop scooper"
    • It's a delicacy (cat, deer, or rabbit poop anyone?)
    • Poor diet or problems absorbing nutrients
    • Competition for food from other puppies while they were with their litter.
    • They are accidentally reinforced by human attention when scolded for eating *** or objects


    Things you can do to prevent or correct coprophagia (poop eating) & pica (eating foreign objects):

    • Keep the poop scooped, but don't rush to do it - puppies are naturally interested in whatever you are interested in.  Take pup out on a leash for toileting and when he finishes, get his attention and reward him, then take him inside.  You then go back outside to scoop the poop in private. 
    • When out on public walks, you should be nonchalant in your scooping activity even though you must do it with the puppy there.  Pups are often inclined to want what they think you want, so don't pay the poop much mind as you pick it up.
    • Be sure your dog is eating a nutritious diet.  For more information on dog foods, you can visit The Dog Food Project online, or we can connect you with the author of that site for private consultation.  Supermarket brands may not be the value that you think.  Premium foods are expensive per bag, but you often feed less, so the cost per meal is reduced to a level of affordability.  Example: Innova Evo has about twice the kCal/cup as Iams, and uses wholesome ingredients.  Also, they were NOT implicated in the dog food recall!
    • In multiple dog households feed all dogs in separate areas, and be sure not to bother pups while they are eating, except while doing the food bowl safety exercises taught in class (adding food to the bowl, not taking it away). 
    • Things you can add to a dog's food to reduce poop-eating:

    Natural papaya extract

    Ginger (powdered - this can also help with carsickness)

    Pineapple juice (salmon oil can disguise the taste, perhaps - this helps with arthritis, too)

    Solid Gold SEP (Stop Eating Poop)

    • Use interactive toys, like Buster Cubes, bubble machines, Nina Ottosan puzzle toys, or stuffed Kong toys, to feed part of the dog's meals to him and to enrich the dog's environment with something to do. Be sure the pup gets enough exercise and mental stimulation each day to reduce boredom. A tired pup is a good pup.


    © Paws for Praise 2007

  •  I find it really amusing that you can say poop on the forum, but if you try to use the scientific term for excrement, you get blocked. Embarrassed

  •  Your husband wants to put a dog to sleep because she eats poop? WTF!! Are you serious?

  •  Some dogs eat poop - some breeds are more prone to it than others. Ari thinks poop is a rare and delicious delicacy. Disgusting, yes. Something to put a dog to sleep over, I would say not. The other posters gave you some great advice about ways to prevent it. Ari usually responds to the leave it command IF I can catch her before the act of rolling and then eating the poop (not other dogs poop, she goes for other species poop, particularly deer). Yes, it's gross - but her breed is known for this.

    I really hope your husband is open to learning a bit more about dogs and typical dog behavior. 

  • It is very wrong to euth a dog for eating poop! That's just a dog thing!

    May I ask, how old is your dog? This is common in puppies up to a year old but can happen with any age group. This is one of two cases.

    1) The dog has a behaviorial problem(most likely the issue) & 2) The dog has a medical condition.

    Poop simply tastes good to dogs! I know it's disgusting to us but in the dog world they love it and they dont know not to eat it.

     It could be because Annie is anxious, bored, or stressed. To fix this, stay out in the yard with her. I know its not fun, but it is part of being a responsible dog owner.

     Also, a way to help is to clean up your yard more frequently. We humans like our houses and living areas to be clean. Well, so does a dog. So her eating the poop may be a way of cleaning up her yard (which is your job).

    How much do you feed her? Because, overfed dogs have a problem, if they have too much food ingested in their system they ovbiously have to poop more. So when they do poop there is so much food in their body that their poop still tastes and smells like their dinner which would ovbiously be a good reason for them to want to gobble it back up. Or, if you dont feed her enough then she may become hungry and scavenge for food and the easiest thing just happens to be her own excrement.

    Those are the most likely causes, and here is a way to stop her from eating it.

    Feed her well balanced and nutritious meals, if you only feed once a day start feeding twice. Keep the yard nice and clean by picking up the poop reguarly and maybe put a few toys out in the yard so she can play with them when she is bored. Make sure she gets enough mental and physical exercise a day. And, teach her the command "leave it". Here is a link for how to teach that command. http://www.petplace.com/dogs/teaching-your-dog-to-leave-it/page1.aspx

    A technique that I know is to put a tablespoon of pineapple in the dog's meals. It apparently makes their poop taste bad! This of course, is not a substitute for proper training and stimulation.

    Sorry it was long, but I gave the tips I could think of! Good Luck!

  • I agree that it is wrong to even think about euthanizing a dog for eating poop. Behavior modification is the best start, although it can be difficult, especially in certain stubborn breeds, such as the Shih Tzu, like my girl Layla who will take a nibble if she can get away with it. At least she isn't eating the whole turd. She is wee wee pad trained and if I'm not right there when she goes, she will take the opportunity to indulge. Then she excitedly runs to me like I'm gonna be happy about it. Yes, I'm glad she used her pad, but she does not get rewarded for ingesting her ***. She looks at me with this sweet, happy face like, "Look mommy, I was a good girl." The problem is she has a chocolate ring of stink around her mouth on her whiskers. Naturally, I get a warm, wet washcloth with a little soap and clean her up. I keep hoping the slight taste of soap that she encounters will deter her from doing it again, um nope......

    I have some fresh pineapple in the fridge and will give her some to see if it works for her.

    The best suggestion I can give you is to be diligent in watching closely and scooping the poop away so there can be no indulgences and then praise her good behavior for pooping, but not eating it. Then give a treat. And, of course, as we all know - the main key is consistency. But, just know that you are not alone, this is a common issue with many dogs. All you can do is try and please, please, convince your husband to rethink his viewpoint on ending a dogs life for something so inconsequential - gross, yes.........criminal, NO! Good luck with this....

  • First thing I would do is teach the "leave it" command.  Make sure you can teach her to leave her balls, toys, or anything.  That way you can use leave it when you see her getting ready to get near it.  Make sure you use positive reinforcement with her...teach her when she leaves the poo, then you will give her a treat (something tastier than poo).  Clicker training might work great!  I'm a bit of a dork when it comes to scooping poop...I always take my dogs outside when it's time to poop and I immediately clean it up (I like to walk barefoot in my backyard!)...so the opportunity has never come about.  I'm a fan of teaching commands, clicker training, and positive reinforcement.  It's always worked with my dogs...to the point I can leave a steak sitting on the coffee table and they won't touch it. I would think it would work with poo too!  If she's not terribly motivated...try spearing a chunk of tastey wet food on a fork and be sure it take it out every time it's time for her to go.

    Good luck!  And keep us posted!

  • LisaKay
    It does suck having to go out with the dogs every time just to make sure the poop gets cleaned up before she gets to it.

    Well, that's what needs to be done until you can sort this out and get something else to work. The pineapple I heard works.  Also, Victoria Stillwell did a whole show on this.  I don't know the name of the episode but I'm sure if you go to her site you will be able to find it.  It's called It's Me or the Dog, you've probably heard of it if you've got cable.  

    Hopefully, where you are is like here and a vet would not put a dog down for this reason.  If anything return her to the rescue you got her from.  

    I don't know how some women tolerate men threatening and controlling them the way I read about here.  

  • I guess we all get to pick the level of things that we will and won't tolerate.  The big issue here is that this dog is perfectly trainable, but it WILL take time, work and consistency.

  • LisaKay

    Annie, a dog I rescued, eats her own poop and my other dog's.  THE BIGGER PROBLEM IS THAT MY HUSBAND IS READY TO PUT HER TO SLEEP BECAUSE OF IT.  I am very very sad because my dogs are family to me.  Sweet little Annie is going to die if I can't fix this problem.  Now I'm crying and I need to go.  If anyone has answers please let me know before it's too late


    Once again, I am going to be up for scrutiny, but here goes....your husband should have no say in this unless he is a bully.  If your dogs are like family to you then you need to explain to your husband that he shouldn't kill a member of your family.  Surely no vet is going to put a dog down because it eats poop, so how was your husband planning to euthanize the dog.  Please consider taking your dog to a shelter for adoption; to say that your sweet little Annie is going to die if you can't fix the problem is, in my opinion, unthinkable. 

    I have a hard time thinking that this situation is real.  If it is, then it appears to me that, your husband is cruel to you and your animals.  

  • I have a poop-eater here.  My dog is nervy and neurotic.  She often takes on neurotic behaviors, so they can change over time.  About a year ago, she switched from submissive peeing/piddling to eating her own poop.  There's really no way to "train" her to stop, as with all her neurotic behaviors, she doesn't really have control and I'm sure would not be doing them if she did.  I simply keep on top of cleaning up poo.  I know her schedule so I can wait for her to go (even catch it on my scooper) and remove it.  If I miss some and see her sniffing around, I call her in.  And if she gets one every once in a while, it won't kill her, I just never let her lick me, lol.

    I would recommend evaluating the dog's diet so she is only pooping once or twice a day and pooping nice firm poops that are easy to pick up.  Then just go out and pick it up when she goes.

  • I don't think that any of us have the right to make judgements about other peoples choice of a mate.  I'm just saying........


    I don't think that any of us have the right to make judgements about other peoples choice of a mate.  I'm just saying........

    Thanks Glenda

    Moderator hat on

    Please provide responses that may help the OP with their request.  Keep your judgments about her DH to yourself, thanks.