One of our dogs enjoys eating poop. It’s disgusting. I mean, you think REGULAR dog breath is awful. The breath of this dog after eating poop….Tom and I like to say it’s like “hot death.” While it’s not us saying “eat poop and die,” it’s us who feel that we might keel over from the dog eating poop. Not only is it gross, but it’s unsanitary. If they lick stuff in the house after eating poop, they could be bringing in all kinds of stuff that will make us sick. It must end. So, I’ve been looking into stopping this.
There are basically 3 reasons dogs eat poop, so if your dog is like ours, here ya go:
1. They aren’t getting enough nutrition. That’s not to say you aren’t feeding them enough. But all dog foods are not created equal. If their dog food isn’t giving them enough nutrition, they will eat their poop to try getting more nutrients out of it the second time around.
2. It’s instinct. This is what mother dogs do to clean up their dens. This is what baby dogs grow up and know to do. And for the record, it is our girl dog who is doing this, though boy dogs can just as easily learn that behavior from seeing the dogs they live with do this.
3. It’s pleasing to them. I know, how is eating poop pleasing to them? Gross. Well, to many dogs, their poop smells like their food. I mean, think about it. Dogs smell each others rears to get info. Booties and poop aren’t gross to them. So if something in the backyard smells like food, why shouldn’t they eat it?
With Sam, we doubt it’s nutrition. They are on a really healthy diet with food that came recommended to us by people who work with dogs. They are healthy and have beautiful, shiny coats. It could be instinct, but since Liam is not participating, I am going to guess it’s just pleasing to Sam. She tried it once and decided she liked it, I guess.
Then, I learned a couple of different ways to tackle this problem from Victoria Stillwell via It’s Me Or The Dog. Love that show. Here they are:
1. Clicker training with flags. Basically you get those little flags you see at construction sites or in landscaping. You clicker train the dog to “leave it” with the flags so they won’t want to go near them. Then, every time the dogs poop, you stick a flag in the poop. And you also have to clean your yard every day to make sure no poop remains at the end of the day.
2. Feed them pineapple. That’s right people. Apparently, pineapple, when digested, tastes nasty. So if you give the dogs some pineapple, they might not want to eat their now-yucky poop when it comes out.
Since I leave them outside when I am gone during nice days, I won’t be there to plant flags if they are pooping. So, before trying clicker training for this issue, I’m trying pineapple. I bought some cups filled with pineapple bits, and I put some in their food this morning. At first, they didn’t know what to think of it. But Sam, at least, ended up eating all of hers, and maybe Liam’s too. (I saw her hanging out by his bowl after he decided he was done eating.) Hopefully he got some so she won’t eat his poop either. Anyway. I’m going to give it a week or two, then I’ll let you know if it works.
I’m sure you’re just dying to find out what happens in the next chapter of Sam’s Dietary Delinquency.