"How can I stop my puppy eating poop?"
"My dog's eating poop - how can I stop him?"
"Help! My dog eats poop - what shall I do?"
I'm often asked questions like those above so I thought they deserved an explanation here.
Coprophagia is the formal term for dogs eating poop and, unfortunately, it's a fact of doggy life, dogs eat poop!
If you'd like to learn why dogs eat poop simply follow the link.
If your puppy's eating habits are causing you to despair, there are several methods you might like to try to help stop your puppy eating poop.
Try one or combine several of the methods listed below until your puppy stops this anti-social behaviour.
"...my dog eats poop...how can I stop
my dog from eating poop?..."
This may sound pretty obvious, but always keep your dog's living and playing area clear of faeces. This way, the opportunity for your puppy eating poop will be removed!
Don't let your puppy see you clearing up after him otherwise there's a slight chance that he'll learn to mimic your behaviour by eating his dog poop in a bid to clean up after himself.
Ensure your puppy gets plenty of exercise and training to stimulate both his body and his mind - if he's mentally and physically challenged, he's less likely to become bored and resort to eating dog poop.
Don't forget to play with your puppy too.
Regular playtime also helps to tire him out and help prevent him from becoming bored. It's also good for his physical and mental development!
Teach your puppy the 'Leave It' command or the 'Off' command. Once learned, either of these commands may be sufficient to stop your puppy eating poop.
As soon as your puppy has pooped, - don't even give him time to sniff it
- enthusiastically call his name.
Get him to come to you - praise him, and offer him a treat, or let him play with his favourite toy for a few minutes.
If you give him something more interesting to do, or more rewarding, it will block his mind to any thoughts he may have had about eating his poop.
It's important that you do this immediately after he's pooped so that he associates the reward with moving away from his toilet.
If your puppy learns that after relieving himself something good happens, he's less likely to begin munching on his own poop, especially when there's something much more exciting available.
After pooping, he'll begin to automatically look to you for his reward and, with a bit of luck, you'll no longer have a puppy eating poop!
If none of the above work for your dog, including the 'Leave' and 'Off' commands, you could try using a rattle bottle to help your puppy to stop this annoying habit.
Always use a rattle bottle with care, and use it as he's approaching the poop - it's more effective this way. If he's already begun to eat it, the rattle bottle may be ineffective.
Consistency is the key if you're going to stop your puppy from eating his own poo.
Try to be around whenever your dog does his toilet - consistency is important if your puppy is to learn. This may not always be possible if your dog is off the lead, and it may be difficult to stop him eating his own, or other animal's poop, particularly when he's running free - on the beach, in the woods, or in the countryside.
When your puppy is not on his lead, you could try using a muzzle to prevent him from eating anything undesirable. Once he's broken his coprophagous habit, you can then stop using the muzzle.
Dogs eating poop (Coprophagia) is a rather nasty habit. If you discover your dog's eating poop, I recommend you speak to your vet who will be able to rule out any underlying medical problem before going on to tackle his antisocial behaviour.
Photo Credits - In order of viewing:
1. XeniaJo's Pet Portraits