Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting question.
Let me start by saying that I am not a veterinarian, but I do have
some extensive knowledge about canine behavior, having trained law
enforcement dogs professionally for many years (believe me, you want
to break a police dog from this RIGHT AWAY because he?s going to ride
around in a car with you and breathe in your face all day).
Typically, dogs don?t do what is not good for them, and when they
sometimes do it is often because of something else (vitamin
deficiency, bacteria, etc). Yes, dogs will eat toxic substances if
they have access to them and find them tasty and they will try to eat
poison frogs, spoiled food and diseased carrion. These are
environmental hazards that do pose some rick but they are not the
natural behavior I am referring to. What I?m talking about is what
dogs do that is entirely natural TO DOGS that you and I would not find
particularly palatable or safe (lick their anus or genitals, eat
feces, eat dirt or wood or trash, eat vomit, lick their skin/fur,
Coprophagia (the eating of feces) is indeed repulsive but it is a
natural canine behavior, especially with puppies. Normally, as the
pup?s desire to eat more solid and complex foods begins to mature the
behavior usually stops. If it doesn?t, have your dog checked for
parasites. It may also be that he is lacking a certain necessary
bacteria in his digestive system. Have him checked for this and also
have him placed him on a NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE medically approved (or
supervised) diet appropriate for his age. You want to make absolutely
sure that he is not vitamin or mineral deficient. There are some other
things you can do to help rid him of this urge to consume waste:
Keep his ?bathroom? clean and feces free. Some time away from it may
help divert his attention from obsessing about it. Keep his break area
poop-free and make sure other dogs don?t soil it either.
Train your dog. Put him on a lease and introduce him to the word OFF.
The word NO is not a good word for this because NO can mean a lot of
things. Dogs can recognize a surprisingly large vocabulary. Get
yourself a dedicated word specifically for this purpose. Lead your dog
to some poop in a leash a couple times a day. When he struggles
forward to get a small or a taste, snatch the lease (gently for a
small dog of course) and firmly command ?OFF? or even ?NO! OFF?. [ I
have a friend who uses the word PHOOEY ]. A couple of weeks of this
and your dog will not need a lease anymore. You simply give the
command OFF and he will anticipate the snatch and will immediately
avoid contact. If he starts to go back to this behavior he might need
another week on the leash as a remedial lesson.
Some owners say that supplementing their dog's diet with one spoonful
of canned pineapple or a teaspoon of spinach or a dash of MSG can help
reinforce the training. These products (apparently and presumably)
taste bad once they?ve made the intestinal trip. It?s hard to imagine
anything more repulsive than eating stool but it seems that a
spinach-flavored turd is especially gross ? even to a dog. [Pineapple
and spinach are harmless but you may want to consult a vet before
trying this with MSG].
There are products on the market such as 'Forbid' that can also be
added to the dog's food to help stop the problem. Believe it or not
these are called ?Anticoprophagic Condiments? and they are designed to
keep the pup out of the poop (or visa-versa?you know what I mean.)
Finally, some people try to sprinkle pepper, hot sauce or other
unpalatable things on stool to make it unappetizing. While this may
work with some dogs with others (dumb ones, stubborn ones or
particularly ravenous ones) this can really backfire. If the dog
actually LIKES what you put on the feces he?ll view it as a garnish
rather than a repellent and you?ll be right back to square one, only
now with a CONFUSED, poop-eating dog. If you must try something you
might have some success with spraying a mixture of vinegar and water
on the stool.
The main thing is this ? and understand me here when I tell you this
because it is the key to ALL dog training ? there are three things
that you MUST do in order to train a dog:
REPETITION: Pick ONE of these methods. Do it the right way, the same
way, all the way, EVERY TIME.
CORRECTION: Pick ONE form of correction. Be consistent, be persistent
and be insistent - EVERY SINGLE TIME.
PRAISE: To be a good trainer you must be a good parent. No matter how
old your dog lives to be, he is the mental equivalent of a child.
Praise him EVERY SINGLE TIME he does something right (remember to
praise him when he DOESN?T do something too ? i.e. we always remember
to praise when he fetches the newspaper or the stick, but we don?t
always think to praise when he DOESN?T chase a car or he DOESN?T bark
at the mailman. See what I mean?). Do NOT praise where praise is not
earned or you risk rendering praise meaningless. Praise EVERY TIME
praise IS earned or your risk sending the wrong message, because your
dog will eventually begin to solicit praise from you and expect you to
As you can see, for us to be able to train our dogs effectively, WE
have to undergo a bit of training ourselves. Good luck
alexandraroman?.You are now well armed.
I hope you find that my research exceeds your expectations. If you
have any questions about my research please post a clarification
request prior to rating the answer. Otherwise, I welcome your rating
and your final comments and I look forward to working with you again
in the near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad ? Google Answers Researcher
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