This, as disgusting as it might sound, is a common behavior in dogs. In fact, about 25% of dogs have consumed poop at some point in their lives. This habit can come from various sources, behavioral and medical. If you have noticed your dog eating poop on walks, you definitely have the need to correct that behavior.
I know how you feel. I have had, in the past, owned a “Dog Eating Poop On Walks”.It was truly depressing for me. My dog eating poop on walks suddenly started from nowhere. However, after a while, I learned how to stop him. So what I did was to write a book on the subject of my dog eating poop. But, I also included the most common problems that dogs get up to.
That is why my book will last you a lifetime and teach you how to have a healthy, happy and fit dog.
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All you get from me is honest and straightforward advice.
Dog eating poop (Coprophagia)
Your dog has always been cute and clean but lately, he has been feeding on poop, his and other animals’.
To correct any behavior in dogs, you must understand where it is coming from. However, various factors can also contribute to the vice including age, environment, and so on. As mentioned above, your dog eating poop might be as a result of;
Common causes of your dog eating poop on walks
This is actually the most common cause for puppies to engage in poop eating. If you just got a puppy and he has developed the need to figure everything out, then you are bound to experience this behavior.
He will look around when you are walking him and if he comes across poop, he might as well as make it a delicacy.
However, you can teach him out of the habit before it becomes regular. It is also helpful to watch him and the things he consumes while walking him.
What you feed your dog matters because, like the human, he needs a balanced diet to be happy and healthy. Once your dog has started eating poop on walks, you should consider changing his diet.
This is because he needs foods with digestive enzymes to be able to complete digestion and absorption of nutrients into the blood system.
Your dog might be eating poop because he finds nutrients in it, nutrients that he has been denied as a result of domestication.
Dogs are scavengers in nature, which means he will pick up things along the way and eat and lick them you walk. It is his nature unless there are other underlying issues you haven’t noticed yet.
However, as common as eating poop is among our canine friends, it can be harmful as your dog may pick up poop from an animal with worms.
He might end up sick or getting worms from the habit which will have you seeking expensive treatment from a vet.
iv) Attention Seeking
However, this behavior should be discouraged by supervising him and paying attention to him while you are walking him.
The funny part about this is that if you give him what he wants, your attention, he might repeat the same since he is successful. You should make it his time when you are walking him instead of doing other things while at it.
v) He likes it
It is important to note that no matter how much you want your puppy to behave well, dogs do what works for them.
For instance, if you have a cat at home, which has been coexisting with your dog, he might have developed poop eating habits and you have no idea.
Since he has already adopted eating poop at home, if he sniffs it, he is likely to eat whatever poop he finds on the way. He will eat it because he loves how it smells and tastes.
You must be wondering what I am talking about since you do not keep your dog hungry. However, you should watch what you are feeding your dog and monitor how he eats. In most cases, you might not know if you are underfeeding your dog since he will always want more.
This is specifically important for people with puppies because you should increase the amount of food you offer him as he grows. It is also vital to note that a puppy should be fed frequently, more than an adult dog.
How to stop your dog from eating poop on walks.
Now that we have look at some of the possible causes of your dog eating poop on walks, how do you stop him? It is disgusting to us humans and it can also be harmful to your dog’s health, or even a sign that you need to feed him well, spend time with him and also make his days interesting.
The first thing you should do if you notice your puppy indulging in the behavior of eating poop is to see a vet. This will be helpful in ruling out any underlying and life-threatening issues in your dog. Once you have tested your dog, you may go ahead and use the following measure to keep your dog from eating poop;
1) Intensive training
Training your dog can be fun and tiresome at the same time. Some people actually prefer getting a dog trainer to train their puppies. However, if you have seen your dog eating poop, shouting and yelling at him will not be effective.
In fact, he might feel encouraged as he does not understand what you are saying. However, through efforts and consistency, you will be able to communicate with your dog, and he will know when he is doing something wrong.
As much fun as it can be, training your dog is going to take time and your patience will be tested every now and then. Not only will training your dog to solve the poop eating behavior but also other behavior-related issues. These are some of the tips you can use to successfully train your pup;
a) Name him
If you have not named your puppy yet, you are going to have trouble training your dog. This is because pups are obedient but then again, how is he going to know that you are addressing him. It is also important to choose a name that is easy to pronounce so as he can get used to it fast.
If you recently got a dog, you should spend time calling his name while you look at him so that he can adapt to it. Within a short period of time, your dog will understand that when you say his name you are addressing him. This makes it easier to train him as well as get his attention.
b) Tell him to do things often.
Once your dog has learned the art of responding to his name, it is time to tell him what to do. In normal circumstances, your dog will have no training or different training all the same. The trick to make him understand that he is in a different environment is telling him to do certain things often.
To successfully do this, you will need to showcase to him and tell him to do the same. For instance, if you want to teach him how to greet people, you may put your hand out for him, or take his paw to show him what you mean.
It is important to keep in mind that he does not have a human brain and so this might take some time.
In the case where you want your dog to stop eating poop on walks, you might consider teaching him certain phrases. For instance, you can teach the ‘leave it’ phrase to warn him to stop eating poop. This will need a lot of training and consistency.
c) Realistic expectation.
Unlike human children who understand verbal language, our canine friends do not. This makes it even hard to teach them as they might take time before grasping anything at all. This means that you will have to be very patient with your puppy and hope that he is going to learn.
You might be frustrated when you keep teaching your dog to do stuff but he will not. However, you can introduce one lesson after another and do not yell at him when he gets it all wrong. Instead, be encouraging and do not tire, he will eventually learn.
A domesticated dog will do what you train them to do, unlike in the wild where he does what he wants. You should also set realistic expectations and give him time. Consistency is key to training your dog out of the poop-eating behavior.
d) Reinforce Good behavior
Just like us, dogs need motivation in order for them to quit habits or learn something. When you have committed to training your dog to stop eating poop, you should reinforce every lesson learned by offering him treats.
To be able to get your dog to forget how poop tastes like, you can alternate that with his favorite treat. Whenever you tell him to stop and leave the poop, you may consider offering him something in return. Bribery and rewarding in dog training are necessary and work most of the time.
Carry treats with you when you are walking your dog. It is also important to remain focused and attentive when you are training your dog.
e) Put more emphasis on the ‘leave it’ command
Dogs view their owners as their only companion and best friend. This makes him want to do things to please you, which you can use to your advantage in efforts to stop your dog from eating poop on walks. The ‘leave it’ command is a lesson your dog should never forget, and neither should you.
Even at home, you should practice using it to make him understand that you do not want him to engage in certain behavior like eating poop or going to restricted areas. This way, you will have a responsive dog and you can keep him from eating poop and thus promoting good health.
2) Medical check-up
The habit of a dog eating poop on walks can be a result of underlying medical conditions and for this reason, you should get him checked by a vet.
These could range from dietary issues to more severe health conditions like diabetes, Cushing disease, etc.
If poop eating behavior is accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, and reduced growth, you should definitely get him medical assistance. The vet will examine your dog and also treat him.
It is vital to offer your dog enough food, with the required nutrients in order to keep him healthy and happy.
3) Supervise him
It is likely that your dog has adopted poop eating even from home unless he starts the behavior suddenly. This is can be a result of being unsupervised at home, where your pup will develop this behavior.
It can also result from loneliness where your dog will seek attention or use poop eating behavior as a coping mechanism. This is especially when your dog suffers from separation anxiety. You can solve this through training and also spending time with him.
It is, however, important to make sure that you pick up your pup’s poop as you walk him. This will not only prevent him from eating it right back but also keep the environment clean. You might also consider changing the place you walk your dog if it is dirty and has animal poop.
Getting your dog a muzzle might look like a great idea, which I am not against but there is definitely another measure you can take before that.
Imagine walking around with a muzzle around your mouth when you are supposed to be having fun! It is not enjoyable at all and it will only keep your dog from eating poop on walks. This means that he may not stop only because he is being controlled and not taught that it is not good behavior.
My final thought.
You should always pay attention to your dog’s behavior change in order to notice any inappropriate and improper behavior. Your dog looks at you as a member of his pack and also his leadership. It is up to you to teach him how to act on walks.
Training, feeding him well, and playing with him will also contribute greatly to curb poop-eating habits. However, remember to be patient and consistent with him as he adopts his new training.
Consider picking up other pet’s poop on time before your dog goes crazy about the disgusting delicacy. This will help in keeping him from eating poop, his and other animals’.