Coprophagia

 

Ah!  The infamous poop-eating dog!  Coprophagia is a disgusting habit to humans, but very normal for dogs.  No one knows why dogs eat poop, but there are some interesting hypotheses.  Some think it’s a deficiency in the dog’s diet, although this has been proven not to be the case; others think it might be a nest-cleaning instinct gone awry.  We know that dogs are scavengers and are designed to eat things that humans could never survive eating, so it could simply be a survival behavior – eat poop when you find it, because you never know when you’ll have your next meal!  Dogs love a variety of poop – cat poop is particularly delectable!  But there’s nothing wrong with deer poop, rabbit poop and even dog and human poop.  So, no matter how disgusting you find the poop-eating habit, you’ll have better peace of mind if you accept it as normal dog behavior.

There are some things you can try; please try these one at a time.  Feeding the coprophagic dog crab apple has been known to work.  If your dog is eating the poop of another dog, try feeding the other dog tropical fruits that give her poop an undesirable taste; Fig Newtons, papaya, pineapple juice, or monosodium glutamate.

The most reliable way to keep your dog from eating poop is to manage the environment.  Keep the cat box in a location the dog can’t access, pick up poop in your yard, keep your dog on-leash while on walks, and train a reliable “leave it” command.  Be aware that if your dog does eat strange poop, there is the possibility of parasite transmission, so you should have him checked regularly. And last but not least, know where your dog has been before he gives you kisses!

Raising Canine has a school for dog trainers which focuses on operant training for dogs, dog behavior, working with clients and addressing client compliance, and the science behind behavior modification.