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- To stop dogs from eating poop, the quickest way is to firmly say ‘no’ while they are in the act, and then distracting them or diverting their attention elsewhere.
- Teach your dog the “leave it” and “drop” commands to get him to stop or prevent the behavior.
- Poop eating or coprophagia, although disgusting, is a common dog behavior which pet parents can stop and prevent with training and patience.
Dogs do a lot of odd behaviors and some of them are just downright gross—like poop eating. It’s not surprising then that many pet parents want to know how to stop dogs from eating poop. My advice is to firmly tell them “no” when you catch them in the act. It also helps to teach them the “leave it” command. With positive reinforcement and consistency, he will soon unlearn this bad habit.
Read more of my guide to further understand how to stop a dog’s poop eating behavior.
Stool eating or Coprophagia
There are many theories trying to explain why dogs have a penchant for eating poop. One of these theories is that a dog may engage in coprophagia if he has vitamin B deficiency. However, the truth is that there is no hard evidence that shows the cause-effect relationship of this behavior and deficiency. Regardless, it is still important that you feed your puppy healthy food, preferable with zero preservatives.
Believe it or not, coprophagia is actually normal behavior for nursing dog moms, to keep the den clean! We will discuss some of the most effective methods to stop dogs from eating poop in just a bit.
Dogs will eat just about anything, and that includes cat poop. Dogs eating poop is a disgusting habit, but it’s also a common one. While it might seem funny to see your dog scavenging for food in the litter box, it’s actually not healthy for them. Dog food is made specifically for dogs, and their digestive system can’t handle all of the different nutrients found in cat poop. Eating feces can also lead to health problems like parasites and bacterial infections.
More than half of all dogs will eat poop at some point in their lives. Fortunately, there are ways to stop this behavior.
How to stop a dog from eating poop
Unfortunately, food additive products probably aren’t going to provide you with a solution, as you’ve experienced (one study found that they only work in 2 percent of dogs). You can try setting up a “poop sting” in your yard, where you season your other dog’s waste with hot sauce or chili pepper, but again, this option might not work with a motivated poop-eater. It’s worth a try, though! Unfortunately, the real solutions require that you supervise your puppy in the yard so that you can stop this burgeoning behavior.
Thankfully, at just 5 months of age, it’s not set in stone yet. You’ll first want to teach your dog a solid “leave it” (meaning, “Please don’t pick up that thing in front of you”) and “drop” (meaning, “Please release that thing in your mouth”) around the house, and then use those cues in the yard when your dog is either poised to dive into a pile, or after he has already begun to chow down.
10 ways to teach your dog :- Prevent dog from eating poop
There are many reasons dog eating poop. There are many ways to teach “leave it,” but here’s my quickie overview:
- Put a low-value treat (meaning, something dry and sort of boring) in your closed fist and present it to your puppy. He will probably lick and bite at your hand, but don’t move or acknowledge him while he’s doing it.
- The second he backs away from your fist, mark that moving away by saying, “Yup!” or, “Good!” and then open your fist and give him a better treat from your other hand.
- Continue presenting your closed fist in a variety of positions (out to the side of your body, in front of you, with your fist on the floor), until your dog is reliably backing away from it.
- Begin to “name” the backing away behavior by saving “leave it” as he does it.
- Transition to putting the boring treat on the floor, using your body to block your dog so that he can’t reach it, and say “leave it” as he backs away.
- As always, reward with a special greasy treat instead of the dry one on the floor.
- With enough repetitions, you’ll be able to tell your dog to “leave it” and he’ll back away and look to you for payment.
“Drop” is easy to teach:
- When your dog has something in his mouth like a tug toy or a ball, place a tasty treat in front of his nose.
- When he releases the object in order to get the treat, say “drop” (right as he opens his mouth), and then give him the treat.
- Repeat the process frequently, until you can just say “drop” and your dog will willingly release the object in exchange for the goody in your pocket.
Facts that dog owners should know:
Once your dog is reliably performing both behaviors, transition them outside and get him up to speed working on them amid distractions. It would be very helpful to keep your dog on leash for poop trips during the “leave it” and “drop” training process, so that he can’t continue to eat nastiness. Once he’s up to speed on the cues, you can set him free and try them out. Make sure to have extra-good treats ready for him!
You can use the same cues when you’re trail walking, but you can’t use them as effectively if your dog is off leash and disappears out of sight to visit the poop buffet. You might consider keeping your dog on a long line of 15 feet or more, so that you can keep an eye on him. If off-leash hiking is a privilege you just don’t want your dog to lose, consider purchasing a foxtail protection hood. These lightweight mesh hoods are designed to keep dogs from getting snagged by painful foxtails, but they also work for dogs that pick up “trail cookies.”
Prevent eating dog poop
Using the “drop” or “leave it” will help your dog make better decisions when faced with a tempting pile. Hopefully, once you’ve been able to consistently interrupt your dog’s coprophagic behavior pattern, you’ll end up with a dog that finds waste as distasteful as we do!
Ultimately, the best way to stop a dog’s poop eating habit is through positive reinforcement. If you catch your dog engaging in this behavior, correct them immediately and give them a treat when they stop. With time and patience, you can train your dog to stop eating poop for good.
Thank you for reading! We hope this blog post has been helpful in teaching you how to stop dogs from eating poop.
Related article: How To Teach A Dog Its Name
What home remedy can I use to stop my dog from eating his poop?
Some people swear by the effectivity of adding meat tenderizer or canned pumpkin to dog food to make stools smell unappealing to dogs. Others suggest putting hot sauce or lemon juice to poop to make it off-putting to dogs.
What should I do when my dog eats her poop?
Immediately say “No” in a firm tone and redirect his attention to something else. It also helps to teach him the “leave it” and “drop” command. If the problem persists, take your dog to the vet to have him checked. Poop eating could be a result of dog anxiety.
Should I stop my dog from eating poop?
Yes. Dogs can catch bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins from eating poop which could result in several health issues.
What vitamin does a dog need to stop eating poop?
There is a belief that coprophagia in dogs can be caused by vitamin B deficiency, therefore it is possible to stop a dog’s poop eating habit through vitamin B supplements.