Finally, no more poop eating.

roobearMarch 13, 2010

After trying every product under the sun with no help we finally broke down and bought a remote shock collar for our dog after two years of severe coprophagia issues.

I was planning on getting a remote citronella one instead, but was advised that over time they can get desensitized to the smell and then the training no longer is effective. I thought for the longest time that shock collars were cruel but actually they are better then I was expecting. I can choose the intensity of the shock and tried it on myself first, feels more like a tingling sensation, no pain and extremely short, just meant to get the dog's attention to change.

This was a last resort choice as she was getting sick too often from this really bad habit. She started eating poop when she was two and has continued with it ever since. She eats hers and our other dogs, she has always been on healthy dry foods like Wellness, Innova, California Natural, Nature's Variety etc., so I don't think it's a nutritional issue for her, it's most likely an O.C.D. behavior thing.

We did try all the pills, over the counter and from the vet, the natural stuff like pineapple, meat tenderizer, hot sauce, and different training commands "leave it" etc, with no progress. Walking her on the leash all the time works and is what we did for a while, but it became difficult because she can take up to 20 min. to go potty while on leash (she's always been like this never going to the bathroom on walks), specially not fun on very cold winter nights or when you need to leave soon to go somewhere.

She's been using the collar for 2 weeks now and has been doing great, I rarely have to correct her with a shock and always try the sound button first, which usually works. There have been several successful times where she doesn't even try to get near the poop. I can go back to picking up poop outside every couple of days and not worry about her gorging herself on it. She only wears the collar when she goes outside to go to the bathroom and so far has let me put it on her without hesitation or fear. I'm hoping in the future she'll get to a point where I won't be correcting her at all except a few times a year if she starts to revert.

I've also heard that the wire basket muzzles can work as well, probably if you add a stool guard but her obsession is so strong I thought she would find a way to mash the poop through the muzzle and lick it off.

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This is so sad. Walking a dog on lead for 20 minutes shouldn't be a burden. A shock collar for a bored dog is just going to create other issues. The other simple option is to pick up the poop so she can't eat it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 5:38PM
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I guess we'll agree to disagree Cynthia, part of what led to the choice is that I want to stop the behavior 100%.

When we would walk her on the leash, it just prevented her the opportunity, it did not change her behavior at all- the second she wasn't on a leash she would be eating poop, if it was available, I always tried to pick it up immediately. You're right walking a dog 20min isn't a burden, till you're doing it 8 times a day because she wants to go out and you don't want her to have an accident in the house just in case she really had to go to the bathroom.

It's also nice to be able to give her the freedom to be off leash and be able to play with our other dog in the fenced in backyard without worry if I missed picking up some poop or if my other dog decided to go while being outside. Of course she's on a leash when we go for runs or walks.

Since just having the collar on is working without the need for correction at this point and she can stand right next to a pile and not eat it, I'm happy to see the behavior itself is being changed and not just a bandaid approach with a leash. I could even take her to the dog park now if I wanted without worry if someone isn't following rules and picking up their poop.

I don't think she's bored, she has another dog, plenty of toys, raw marrow bones, I work with her on a daily basis as far as simple command training and regular play. She's part beagle and always wants food- I imagine the poop just smells like food to her and so she has an obsession with it.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 6:50PM
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roobear I also have a poop eater :). she doesnt eat her own poop but will dig up our cat's poop from the yard and for some reason it is such a hard behaviour to break (and really quite a disgusting one).

luckily our cat has a particular part of the yard she likes to use so we have just had to fence it off to keep our dog out of the area, but really I do understand your frustration. It's very hard to be cuddly with a dog that has poo breath :/ and my dog has brought it into the house and started chewing it and scattering it on the couch and as patient as I am that just really made me mad.

I havent had to resort to a a collar of any sort, but if we hadnt found a solution I would do anything to stop this behaviour. Im a very patient person with my pets but this behaviour is really hard to accept, and for whatever reason is really hard to break them of.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 8:13AM
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Here are some tips for breaking your dog of this habit. First pick up any offending material before letting your dog out in your yard if this is where things are happening. Next you need to not just use a deterrent - like saying leave it. You need to praise your dog when it does leave it, and you need to replace the feces with something else. There are usually 2 reasons for a dog to eat feces. One is that it is bored out of its skull. Dogs need a good elash walk for at least 20 minutes at least a couple times a day. Ideally 45 minutes is better. Im not talking a nice little stroll about the block. Im talking take our dog to a park, fire road, open space area - wherever, if you must go around the block, make it 10 blocks. and mix up the places you go everyday. One long walk with several other leash walks during the day is a must for a physically, emotionally and behaviorally healthy dog. The other reason for a dog eating poop is a lack of potassium in the diet. Retraining a dog to not eat poop is not that difficult. You need to be persistent and consistent and you need to be willing to put the time into training your dog properly. Back up and start with sit and stay. Give a piece of banana to your dog (a small piece will do) just to start things off...15 minutes of this and you are well on your way to getting things done once and for all. So you are about 15 minutes into sit and stay and the new trick is act like you are going to put the piece of banana on the ground in front of your dog, as soon as your dog starts to lean forward you say Leave it, and take the banana away....give the dog the piece when is sits still for awhile, make the time you hold the banana piece a bit longer and longer until you can put it on the ground without your dog going for it. This whole thing can be done in an afternoon. Repeat and repeat everyday. WHen your dog sits patiently for you to say okay to get the piece of banana, then you can transfer this command to the poop. When your dog leaves it, like you have commanded, then give the dog a piece of, training successful.
To say the dog will mash a muzzle into poop and lick it off, may or may not be so, but have you ever put a shock collar on our own neck?? Not so nice. Shock collars should be used ONLY in extreme cases where a dogs life may be in jeopardy. If you need assistance with training your dog, ask the vet for a referral. I would hate for your dog to start acting out even more with the use of the collar and the training tactics you are currently using....

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 3:46AM
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mazer, I was told by the breeder when I bought my pup that shih tzus will often eat their poop, so I suspect there may be a genetic component to it too. my dog doesnt do it from boredom and she never did it until about 12 months of age and as roobear said it's like an obsession that they just dont want to give up and any chance, as soon as your back is turned they will do it, no matter how clear you make it that it's not acceptable, it doesnt make a bit of difference. I've also spoken to the owner of my dog's sibling and he is a poop eater too. I have owned dogs all my life and never had a poo eater before and watching your dog 24/7 is really difficult to do and after dealing with this over and over, the poo breath (even after brushing their teeth), the bringing poo inside to eat it, it drives you crazy. i dont believe this is a boredom behaviour, and in my dog's case not a deficiency, some dogs are just poo eaters and if it's a genetic behaviour then it may take drastic measures to stop it so I understand where roo is coming from and I wouldnt judge her for it because I know how crazy this behaviour can make you.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 8:11AM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

Doesn't that make mazer's first tip all the more important? Why not pick up after your dog poops EVERY time? Then there is nothing for the dog to get into? I've never understood how people can leave their yard dirty and even worse, when walking a dog, why you don't just pick up after your dog. That just leaves the mess for someone else to clean up. This is part of the responsibility of owning a dog.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 10:43AM
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"Why not pick up after your dog poops EVERY time? "

well from my first post you can see my dog doesnt eat her own poo, she digs up the cats poo and eats it. since it's buried I dont know where exactly my cat has pooped unless I dig over the yard

even if she did eat her own poop, I dont watch my dogs 24/7, I work and have a house to run and my dogs have free access to the fenced in yard to poop whenever the need arises. Im not always there to watch them poop even if I wanted to pick it up asap. it's easy to say but hard to do for the rest of your dog's life to be there every second of the day just waiting and watching for a poop :/

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 11:02AM
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Mazer, of course we're going to all view this differently, and I respect your opinion, but I will say your advice might be more helpful if you had actually read my post.

Many of the training tips you've mentioned, we've already tried with no success. I've talked with more than one vet about her severe case and was told it was not due to boredom or nutritional issues but rather more of an obsessive compulsive thing.

I'm not advocating that everyone should jump on the shock collar band wagon to train their dogs, I agree that shock collars are something that should be reserved for severe cases where normal training isn't working, I was merely sharing my experience in case any one else with a very severe case was looking for a possible solution.

Yes, I did try the collar on my bare skin neck first and tried out the different intensity settings that start out very very light-not at all like sticking your finger in a light socket or getting a shock from getting out of your car or something, I would never just put it on my dog without understanding what it would feel like first.

As much as I would love to have all the free time in the world to pick up after them perfectly every time, I do have other responsibilities during the day besides taking care of them.

I do walk them both on leash almost everyday and set aside daily time to train and play with them. I know the importance of training and working with your dogs on a regular basis- besides my poop eating beagle mix, I own a very dog aggressive rescue and have to stay on top of things with him all the time (and no I do not use a shock collar on him)- my trainer said he was the worst case she has ever seen.

The poop eating behavior is different, all the training in the world doesn't seem to make a difference and she would still jump at the chance to eat poop. I would like her to be able to have off leash freedom in our backyard and when we go to visit other people with their backyards, plus maybe even be able to go to the dog park. She would be in agility but she has luxuriating patellas and I don't want to risk an injury- she would make a great therapy dog but I don't think she could pass the strict testing, she's way too food motivated.

The collar has not had a negative effect on her so far, she's not acting out in any way, she doesn't wear it all the time- only when she goes outside, and I'm happy to say that I don't even have to correct her now, as long as she has the collar on, she ignores the poop- which is exactly what I was hoping would happen-It would be different if she wasn't learning to change the behavior and I had to keep shocking her all the time-yeah then I can see how that would be a real problem and of course I wouldn't continue to use it if that was the case.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 5:53PM
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Murrysmom, Of course I pick up after my dogs as often as I can and always when we go for walks, I am a responsible dog owner- but as trance mentioned sometimes you get busy with life and can't rush out there to pick it up everyday. The longest I've ever gone is maybe a few days if I'm sick or something- I'm certainly not like my neighbor who has three dogs and never picks up any of it- that's disgusting not to mention horrible on your yard.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 6:03PM
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I think it is important for people to realize that each dog is an individual. As such what may work in training one does not mean it will work for all dogs. They are not little robots that can all be "programmed" in the exact same way...and it is unrealistic for anyone to believe that is the case.

roobear, I'm sure it was very difficult for you to resort to the shock collar. However, it seems the only other option would be using drugs...if any even work on doggie OCD. IMO, this solution sounds as if it is working well at this point without the shock...and IMO that is far preferable to having your dog become ill, or the dog having to live on some sort of antidepressant med for OCD. Or worse, giving up on the poor baby and dumping him at the shelter...which is all too common for dogs with behavioral issues.

I applaud your perserverance in finding a solution to the problem.

Not everything is solved by a daily long walk and play time.

Last but not least, those who believe that eliminating all poop from a dogs environment is even possible have clearly not given much thought to the problem.

It is akin to believing that an alcoholic can be stopped from drinking if liquor is not kept in the house.

I hope your dog continues to do well.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 6:15PM
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Previous poster: "roobear, I'm sure it was very difficult for you to resort to the shock collar. However, it seems the only other option would be using drugs..."

The other option is to pick up the poop. Period.

Drugs and shock collars instead of simply picking up after your dog? I have three dogs in my home - two permanent dogs and always a foster. Between walks, I go into the yard with them where they have learned the designated wooded area and I pick up their poop. I work 60 hours a week, volunteer heavily, take care of a large home and am 60 years old. Tell me again the reasons people can't pick up their dog's poop and SUPERVISE their dogs in the yard? My dogs have an enriched life, and don't spend their time wandering aimlessly in the yard with only poop eating to keep them occupied. Play with your dogs, supervise your dogs, enrich your dogs lives.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 8:22PM
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cynthia: "I work 60 hours a week, volunteer heavily, take care of a large home and am 60 years old. Tell me again the reasons people can't pick up their dog's poop and SUPERVISE their dogs in the yard? "

Perhaps because the dogs benefit by far more yard and exercise enjoyment than can be squeezed into a schedule such as that you describe above.

That said, when you take your three out in public, do you first comb the walk route, or go to the park, remove all of the other dogs poop, and also pick up after all the dogs that poop while you are there with your dogs?

If so, how do you manage to do so where the result is zero poop in public places? I ask because IMO, that is not humanly possible.

That said, I reiterate; removing the temptation is merely the band-aid...and does nothing to address the root cause.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 12:23AM
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Glad to hear that shock collars offer such a speedy change to a behavior problem. I cared for a friends dog that had an unsual attraction to eating mushrooms - she would find them buried in the lawn, dig them out of wood chips, find them where my eyes couldn't see them. She would gobble them up and get very sick within an hour. You would think that her brain would associate the nausea with the mushroom eating but it was her favorite activity and caused health problems that lasted her entire life. The hospital bills were enormous. Entire teams of highly skilled people got involved with trying to correct this problem and no one ever got her over it. It wasn't fatal in her case but it made for a miserable life.

Sometimes these problems are not cut and dry. Sometimes behavior problems are unsolvable.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:58AM
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I'm glad that you were able to find a solution that worked for you and your dog. Thanks for sharing; as there may be other dog owners out there struggling with a similar problem.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 4:03PM
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i sympathize with you. our lab is a poop eater. we have an electric fence and with small kids and other reasons, i cannot simply run out the door to pick up the poop each time she is out there. our dogs have a pretty big area to roam in our side yard but are protected by the electric fence. we have tried absolutely everything, picking it up as soon as we can, praise, etc etc etc and the bottom line, this is a behaviour issue. she also started when she was about 4 yrs old or so and has been doing it ever since. if we are out there in the yard, she doesnt do it, its only when she is out to do her business or just to get some fresh air. sad to say, but we gave up trying to change it. we just try to get her to come back in after we feel she has had enough time outside. if i am able, i go out with her. the vet also agreed, pretty much nothing you can do unless you are willing to spend all this time outside watching her, praising her, pickign it up...just is not feasible for me to do so. i feel your pain!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 10:03AM
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Logic, your handle suits you; well-written post.
I, too, applaud your perseverance, Roo, and thank you for sharing this. I had an electric fence around the perimeter of my previous property, and it was literally a lifesaver (mine and my pets). I once bought a remote shock collar, but decided that the need for impeccable timing was too much, so I took it back. I now have 2 new dogs, one a puppy and the other a 2 yr old. To hear that your dog started at 2 is very disheartening! I was so hoping my dogs would outgrow this. They eat their poop, the cats' poop, and the pigs' poop. One of them got so sick one night that I thought she was going to have to go to the emergency room. I also bought an electric "fence" that encircles a leather chair, after some of my cats thought it was a new scratching post. It's really quite amazing how quickly they learn the boundaries and stop the behavior. The cats only wore the collars about a week. As long as a decent amount of time is spent meticulously training so that the animal learns to absolutely associate the shock with the behavior, at least in my case, there have been no residual negative effects with any of my 3 pigs, my previous dog and 5 cats. And the shock does not hurt. I used to think all crate use was horrible and cruel, partly because I saw people abuse the use of crates; but now, with my new dogs, there's no way I could NOT use crates. As mentioned above, every animal, person and situation is unique. I regret having judged others when I did not have firsthand experience with crates or a situation that called for their use.
So, Roo, tell me please, specifically, how you trained your dog to stop eating the poop. Did you shock her just as she started to put her mouth around it or after she picked it up? Did you simultaneously use a verbal command, or did you use the verbal command first, then the warning sound, then the shock, or some altogether different sequence? I've started using the word "ucky" exclusively for the poop. My dogs are pretty good about showing me what's in their mouth and responding to "drop it," but I can't watch them constantly, and when I'm not right there, it's a poop-eating free zone. UCKY!!
PS And in answer to those who might yet question my dogs' diet, yes, my dogs get plenty to eat, and they eat very good, healthy food.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Betsyhac, don't loose all hope too soon, some dogs, usually the ones that start eating poop in the puppy stage, do grow out of the behavior. The vets I've talked to say there are several reasons behind poop eating and that the behavior can be very mild to very severe. I was told that by my dogs age when she started, obsessive behavior about it, and the fact that her nutritional and mental stimulation needs were being met, it was most likely an OCD type behavior.

To use the remote collar correctly, I would put it on her and watch her from the window, anytime she would get near the poop and try to sniff it, we would do the warning sound and if she didn't stop then proceeded to give her one shock at an appropriate level of intensity-which was to be only strong enough just to get her attention and break her fixation on it. I was told it was important for her not to associate me with the shock so I stayed indoors and out of her sight.

I decided on correcting just when she starts to try and sniff it and before she eats it, because I know from experience with my other dog, that nipping the behavior in the bud before it escalates and the brain gets too fixated on it was best.

The whole process took a few times before she finally got the association down to a point where I was just having to give her the warning sound and not a shock. Now, almost 3 weeks out, and all I have to do is put the collar on her and she doesn't attempt to get near the poop.

I'm not to the point where I feel comfortable leaving her outside for long periods of time with the collar on unsupervised unless the yard is fully picked up, but hopefully at some point in the future I'll feel a little more comfortable.

You're right, they do seem to learn very quickly with the shock collars when they are used humanely and correctly, the shock feels like a buzz, not painful, but I think they should still only be reserved for use when regular attempts at training etc. has failed.

I also crate train and agree with you, to me it's about safety, no matter how old my dogs get, I don't trust them not to be able to get into something while we're gone or asleep. It also helped a lot when we were potty training our younger dog when she was a puppy.

I sympathize with you on this frustrating behavior and hope that you get a solution to it for your pets as I have.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 3:04PM
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I used to have a poop eater, too. We live in the country where critters abound, and I am not going to go pick up varmint poop so my dog can have a nice walk. Nine times out of ten, I wouldn't even know what he was rooting around in until I dug it out of his mouth. He loved bird poop. I had five cats, and unless I made hourly rounds, there was bound to be a surprise hidden in the pans I couldn't see, but he could smell. When he got ahold of the cat feces, we called it eating tootsie rolls. He also ate deer poop, and God knows what other kinds. It's an unhealthy habit, to say the least....and could result in parasites or worse.

I don't know why the word shock collar brings on such a knee jerk reaction. Invisible fence usually doesn't, and it's the same principle. If used properly it isn't abusive and I'm very encouraged to hear it is working for your dog. I've never used a shock collar, but given the right circumstances, if my dog's life or health depended on using one, I would.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 8:26PM
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Roo, I forgot to ask what type of collar you used.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 7:55PM
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Betsyhac- I bought a Petsafe deluxe remote trainer made specifically for little dogs, my dog only ways 25lbs. It was a little on the expensive side at 140.00, but I wanted to invest in a good one.

It has 10 different shock intensity settings on the remote, I could barely even feel it at a 2 against my bare skin so I was pretty confident it had a nice comfortable range, nothing too strong starting out.

I don't leave the collar on her all the time, she just wears it when she goes outside in our fenced in backyard. I was concerned that she might start going to the bathroom in the house if I didn't make her wear it all the time, but she's been fine with no accidents.

I prefer her not having to wear it all the time because of the possible Pressure Necrosis, dogs can get if they wear the collars all the time without proper cleaning of the area where the prongs meet the skin.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:39PM
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My English Bulldog is a poop eater also. We've tried the pills, they didn't work. He doesn't eat it every time he goes, so just when you think he's finally stopped, he does it again.

To those who are saying to clean it up right away, that's easier said than done. My dog will spin around the second he's done and eat it. If you stand beside him waiting for him to go, he won't. Our yard is cleaned daily, but it doesn't matter. If he could reach his butt, I think he'd eat it before it hit the ground.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:26AM
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It seems to be a fairly common problem in dogs. If people would pick up after their dogs in parks, on sidewalks, etc..It would eliminate a hell of a lot of dog poop in this world but unfortunately for the majority of people bending down to do so is too much of an effort.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:46AM
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reading this post I recall our dog went through a phase where he too ate his on poop...but only if it was dry. We started giving him pineapple and that did it for him....
Now he only eats rabbit poop....*SMH* says this is normal and shouldn't hurt him.......

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Three years late and still relevant. I think it's pretty gross and never had a dog eat poop before I got Wally, the poop eating Dachshund. It's amazing how quick he is on our walks and either see or smells it and lunges before I can even react. He doesn't eat his own poop or the other dogs, just little morsels that dog walkers don't pick up. Today, on of the first nice doggie park days, was fun for all. Wally socialized a bit and then patrolled the perimeter of the fence looking for morsels that owners didn't pick up. I have NO idea what to do. He's been here three years, adopted from a kill shelter and is perfectly healthy and at a good weight.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 2:18AM
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Roobear - did this continue to work? I see your last posting in 2010. Has the collar continued to do the trick. Were you ever able to take it off and have your dog continue to leave the poo alone? Our dog is obsessed with her own and rabbit - we were hoping that at the 1 year mark she's grow out of it. It clearly is an obsession. Just recently started sneaking around the house - to poop and eat it and we've recently caught her. Either this has to stop or we'll have to find her a new home. We've never had a dog with this issue. Any update?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Yes the collar works as it's intended, as long as we put it on her before letting her outside to go to the bathroom, she usually doesn't try to eat poop.

She only wears the collar when we let her outside in the fenced in backyard by herself, she never wears it any other time. She's had a few times with the collar on over the past 3 years where she considered eating some, the winter time is harder as the frozen poop is of more interest to her, but if she tries to, just giving her the warning sound beep with the remote and she stops immediately and runs right into the house. We watch her from the windows when she goes out with the remote in hand just in case.

We haven't needed to use the shock part of the collar at all since when we first bought it. She is far more likely to try to eat poop if she doesn't have the collar on and knows the difference.

I'm not really concerned about her poop eating from a health standpoint necessarily, I mean we feed a raw diet now and I'm not concerned about the bacteria, I know she can handle it. What I didn't like was her binge eating on any poop I missed picking up, and then her coming inside and throwing it up on the rugs, that was too much for me.

This post was edited by roobear on Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 19:25

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 7:24PM
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"You would think that her brain would associate the nausea with the mushroom eating but it was her favorite activity and caused health problems that lasted her entire life."

Conditioning doesn't work like that. If the result isn't almost instantaneous, no association is formed. The dog doesn't have the capacity to understand that it gets sick a half hour after eating mushrooms, it just knows mushrooms are tasty. A half hour later is an eternity.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:39AM
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My first dog a yellow lab loved to snack and roll with cat feces. Over time I learned to keep her in the bathroom to make clean up easier. Presently I have an Aussie who loves eating the golden retrievers piles. She only eats his . She does not eat hers or the other male dog's stool.
She is exercised every day regardless of bad weather or my off days. On my bad days I hit tennis balls or we take long bike rides.
Makes no difference if I yell scold, remove, supplement vitamins , exercise or give her a job she eats the poo. She knows I am not happy. She will sneak to the pile hoping I don't see her . On the days I need to leave them in the yard she will devour the stool. Jeeze I have had to rip out carpets from the after affects.

Glad to read you found a way to discipline your dog.
Having tried to stop my BM muncher I get why you used the collar. You were not lazy. You exhausted other learning tools and it didn't work.
I have a deaf dog who insists on peeing on the female dog. How do you clean the dog in ten degree weather?. I have been taking out the deaf dog first but when we go for our long hikes he nails her. I have a thirty foot horse lead that I use so I can physically tug so he gets schooled. Sometimes I manage to hit him with a snow ball.
I don't see using the collar as being lazy but a stronger discipline.
I live on acreage. Even though I live in a rural area I walk my dogs four times a day . I never let them hang out without me since we have hybrid coyotes .
If I can not get the male dog to stop peeing on the female with the horse lead I just may use the electric collar . Why? When the deaf dog marks the female dog the cat then sprays her too.

We did a raw diet for a few months . This is when the Aussie started eating the golden retriever's poo. I believe he does not process his food as well so she sees it as snack time.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 11:56AM
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After reading this I have decided to get a remote shock collar for my dog. I am pretty close to losing my mind. My diligence and effort, not having her get a single snack of poop for two weeks came to nothing when I let her outside and was talking with my roommate for a minute or two only to turn around and finding her having a poop snack. She is only 9 months old, but has insistently eating her, and now beginning to other dogs, poop since she was 6 weeks. She is as good as gold when I am watching her and there to let her inside right after, but having to stand outside in -30 for 20 minutes every day has gotten old. I would like to be able to leave her outside during the summer without having to find her poop everywhere.

I have also tried everything I can imagine, and everyone keeps telling me 'she will grow out of it'. I have tried teaching her to 'leave it', which she does perfectly. She is very obedient for an Afghanhound. When that did not work I put hot sauce, and bitter spray on the poop but she figured that out fast. It also requires me to wait for her to poop and watch her eat it. Ugh. Then I tried pumpkin, pineapple, meat tenderizer, probiotics, for-bid and a few other things said to stop poop eating. None of that worked, or slowed her down. I tried rewarding her when she left it and scolding her when she did. I also pick up her poop everyday, there is no poop in my yard. I don't mind picking up poop, I would prefer to pick it up than to leave it there for myself. If I did leave one she usually won't be interested, she only likes poop fresh but who knows if that will change when it warms up.

Also, to those shock collar haters. I have used a shock collar on myself before. They really are not bad. Like any training tool, it need to be used sparingly and properly. Of course it will become cruel if your shocking your dog over every little thing. It is made to be a correction, not a punishment. Nothing good comes from all positive training, a dog will know what to do, but with no consequence for disobedience, they will have no reason to be obedient if they don't feel like responding. Tough love, but in the end proper training creates less conflict and a more comfortable and understanding environment.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:20AM
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Not having much knowledge about dogs, I have to ask.... what is it with dogs anyway that they are doing this. Is this something their canine ancestors did... I mean if they are by nature carrion eaters, maybe from their point of view poop isn't all that different from rotted meat? Or is it some kind of compulsive behavior or psychological disorder, and if the latter what is the cause? On another forum Im reading about dogs actually dying eating things like sand and golf balls and it's alarming to say the least.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:30PM
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There are several reasons people think dogs eat poop. Nutrition, boredom, OCD, anxiety, taste and plain hygiene. Generally it is believed to be a self-pleasing behavior, and that is why it is so hard to break. Like barking and tail chasing disorder. I mostly think it is probably boredom and anxiety. Also I am pretty sure some dogs get a rise out of their owners yelling at them and chasing them away. However I don't really know. I just can not comprehend why any animal would want to eat their own feces or the crap of something else.

For my puppy, she has been eating poop since I met her at 6 weeks. Probably she had been eating when she was with her mother as well. She never grew out of the habit.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 8:50PM
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Hi there, sorry you may get this as a DOUBLE msg!
Please tell me what kind of shock collar did you use? I would appreciate this info. and how does it work? I supposed the collar will come with instructions, but which one do you use?
I got a very sweet dog with this GROSS behavior and I have tried just about everything.
I am so exhausted, sleeping with 1 eye opened and even having night mares that she has gotten out to eat poop because I am asleep.
Thank you so much for your prompt reply!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 7:15PM
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There was a dog training show on for awhile and the lady said they eat poop because it was not digested well and still tasted like food.

My sis's lab would jump the fence the minute got out the door. She bought a shock collar and broke him of the habit and probably saved his life by using it.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 8:00PM
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I've been trying to get my beagle to stop eating rabbit poop for 2 years. I keep her on a leash while we're out. She has an amazing nose and can smell the poop from about ten feet away, even one little piece! We don't have a fence, and have a large yard in the country, so cleaning it up isn't an option, since there's probably more than 50,000 poops out there! Lately, I think she's been holding her business so we can play the fun game of her trying to find the poop while I pull her away. Should I just give up and let her have her fill?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 11:30AM
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I realize I am reading this almost 5 years after the initial post and almost a year since the last post, but want to thank you roobear for your post and also check on how things are going. My 13 month old golden retriever has the same issue. We only got her at 6 months and she lived on a farm before that. I have heard that mother dogs eat their pups poop to keep the area clean, and I am also quite sure they did not pick up the poop on the farm, so have often attributed this disgusting habit to that. My dog does not eat her own poop, just others - dogs, rabbit, deer. And she can sniff it out from great distances. She is rarely out in a yard. I walk her at least 4 times a day for long periods of time, train her and play lots of fetch, so I do not think boredom is the issue. I walk her on lead to control her habit, but go to an area where there are other dogs and do try to let her off lead a bit to run and play. I almost always pay for it though, as she will play for a bit but then take off for a wooded area, dig through 2 - 3 feet of snow and find some poop. I have worked on leave it, recall, sit/stay, all of which she does very well except when poop is involved. I bring special treats like cheese and bananas to try to entice her back to me, but nothing seems as appealing as the poop. Just last night my husband and I were discussing the idea of the shock collar and then today someone sent me the link to this article. So as I said in the beginning, I would love an update on how things are now. Do you still need to have the collar on your dog?

    Bookmark   last Friday at 11:09AM
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"I have heard that mother dogs eat their pups poop to keep the area clean..."

Actually, that's not the reason. A lactating female eats the poop and laps the urine to re-cycle any nutritional content the pup was unable to process from her milk. The pup exists to take in food, process it to create body bulk, and excrete the rest... until the next meal.

This distinction may be shown to be correct because within a couple of hours the mother will stop this behavior following the first introduction of solid food - i.e. beginning the weaning process.

Were the motivation keeping the area clean, that motive would still exist following weaning.

    Bookmark   last Friday at 11:47AM
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So glad I found this post. We have an 6 month old English lab and she's been eating her poop ever since we got her (3 months). I literally throw up in my mouth a little bit every time I see her do this. I try to catch her pooping and scoop it into a plastic bag right away, but now she's onto me and waits till she's in the yard by herself (my husband always lets her out.) I tried the pills, pineapple, switched food...ugh!!! I'm not ready to resort to a training collar yet, but it's an option I never thought of. Fyi, I'm so over all these contemptuous dog owners that have criticized Roobear. (Just sayin...)

    Bookmark   last Friday at 3:08PM
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I think you need your Vet to help by determining if her blood/urine/stool parameters are all OK. I can offer no other suggestion but to get your husband on-board with the program and pick up after the dog immediately.

Sorry to not be of more help.

    Bookmark   last Friday at 5:09PM
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No problem, I was just venting. :-) Medically, she is fine. My husband grew up in the country and doesn't think it's a big deal. (Eww!) I try to be with her when she poops, but that's not always possible. I have 4 kids and if I'm making dinner or giving someone a bath and the dog is standing at the door, I can't always go out with her. I'm hoping she'll outgrow it. Meanwhile, I've read that fig newtons help and also this supplement by seameal. Will try both.

    Bookmark   last Friday at 6:41PM
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Again, you need to get your husband to be supportive on this issue.

    Bookmark   last Friday at 6:56PM
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Not going to happen. But thanks.
    Bookmark   last Friday at 8:16PM
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