If you are reading this, I will go out on a limb and assume that your dog is eating poop, you think it is gross, and you want it to stop. There are several reasons your dog may be eating poop but let me start by saying it is a natural and instinctual behavior. So, rest assured your dog is not the only “gross” one around. You see, mama dogs instinctually eat their puppy’s poop to keep the area around the puppies clean. Eating the poop is the only way she has to get rid of it. Puppies learn from mama therefore some puppies may develop the learned behavior of eating poop. Additionally, puppies explore the world by tasting things around them and poop just may be one of those things. Other reasons dogs, both adults and puppies, eat poop could be nutrient deficiencies, parasites, certain diseases, and/or certain drugs. To determine if your dog is eating poop only out of instinct and not due to an underlying problem, it is always a good idea to consult a veterinarian. If there are no underlying conditions and you want this behavior to stop, you simply need to modify this behavior and let your dog know that it is an unacceptable behavior. For tips on modifying behavior, click here: https://thefrenchiemamablog.com/2020/08/01/behavioral-modification-using-operant-conditioning-training-your-frenchie/
How Do I Stop My Dog from Eating Poop?
What if you have consulted your veterinarian and there are no underlying conditions and you have attempted the behavioral modification route and your dog is still eating the poop? The first step would be to give your dog a good multivitamin to see if there is a nutrient deficiency. If your pup stops eating the poop after two weeks of giving the multivitamin, a nutrient deficiency was likely the cause of the behavior. Another thing to note is that your dog could be displaying this behavior to get attention. If this is the case, be sure you do not provide that attention they want immediately after the poop eating. If you do, you will reinforce the behavior. More importantly, make sure to give them extra special attention when they are not eating the poop in hopes this will curb the behavior. The techniques used during behavioral modification are a method of giving attention so if you couple the behavioral modification training with love and cuddles, this may do the trick. Here are a few great interactive toys:
Remember that an enriched and well exercised dog is a happy and well-behaved dog. One final note, and probably the most important, is to watch your dog closely and remove the poop immediately so they don’t have the chance to eat it to begin with. If you do not allow the behavior to occur, you can break the poop eating habit.