As disgusting as it might sound, this is expected behavior in dogs. About 25% of dogs have consumed poop at some point. This habit can come from various sources, behavioral and medical. If you have noticed your dog eating poop on walks, you must correct that behavior.
Dog eating poop (Coprophagia)
Your dog has always been cute and clean, but lately, he has been feeding on poop and other animals.
To correct any dog behavior, you must understand where it is coming from. However, various factors can also contribute to the vice, including age, environment, etc. As mentioned above, your dog eating poop might be a result of;
Common causes of your dog eating poop on walks
This is 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, you will experience this behavior.
He will look around when you are walking him, and if he comes across poop, he might as well make it a delicacy.
However, you can teach him out of the habit before it becomes regular. Watching him and the things he consumes while walking him is also helpful.
What you feed your dog matters because, like a 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 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 due to domestication.
Dogs are scavengers in nature, which means they will pick up things along the way and eat and lick them while you walk. It is his nature unless there are other underlying issues you haven’t noticed yet.
However, as common as eating poop 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
Most dogs develop certain habits to seek a reaction from us. If you own a dog, you know what I am talking about. Your dog may eat poop when you are walking him to see how you react to that.
However, this behavior should be discouraged by supervising and paying attention to him while walking.
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. It would help if you made it his time when you were 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 wonder what I am talking about since you do not keep your dog hungry. However, it would help if you watched what you were feeding your dog and monitored how he ate. In most cases, you might not know if you are underfeeding your dog since he will always want more.
See a veterinarian determine the amount of food you offer him and how frequently. Underfeeding can cause your dog and other animals to poop on walks.
This is specifically important for people with puppies because you should increase the 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 looked at some possible causes of your dog eating poop on walks, how do you stop him? It is disgusting to humans and can also harm your dog’s health, or even a sign that you need to feed him well, spend time with him and make his days enjoyable.
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 help rule 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 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.
He might feel encouraged as he does not understand what you are saying. However, you can communicate with your dog through efforts and consistency, knowing when he is doing something wrong.
As much fun as it can be, training your dog will take time, and your patience will be tested now and then. Not only will teaching your dog to solve the poop-eating behavior but also other behavior-related issues. These are some of the tips you can use to train your pup successfully train your puppy;
a) Name him
If you have not named your puppy yet, you will have trouble training your dog. This is because pups are obedient but then again, how will he know that you are addressing him? It is also essential to choose a name that is easy to pronounce so that 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, your dog will understand that you are addressing him when you say his name. 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. 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 it 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 or take his paw to show him what you mean.
It is important to remember that he does not have a human brain, so this might take some time.
You might consider teaching him specific phrases. You might consider teaching him particular terms. You might consider teaching him specific terms. You might consider introducing him to express terms if you want your dog to stop eating poop on walks. For instance, you can prepare the ‘leave it’ word 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. You must be patient with your puppy and hope he will 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 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 poop-eating behavior.
d) Reinforce Good behavior
Like us, dogs need the motivation 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.
You can alternate that with his favorite treat to get your dog to forget what poop tastes like. You may consider offering him something when you tell him to stop and leave the poop. Bribery and rewards in dog training are necessary and work most of the time.
Carry treats with you when you are walking your dog. It is also essential to remain focused and attentive while training your dog.
e) Put more emphasis on the ‘leave it’ command
Dogs view their owners as their only companions and best friend. This makes him want to do things to please you, which you can use to your advantage 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.
You should practice using it at home to make him understand that you do not want him to engage in specific behavior like eating poop or going to restricted areas. This way, you will have a responsive dog and keep him from eating poop, 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 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 to keep him healthy and happy.
3) Supervise him
Your dog has likely adopted poop eating even from home unless he starts the behavior suddenly. This can result from being unsupervised at home, where your pup will develop this behavior.
It can also result from loneliness, where your dog seeks attention or uses 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, essential to make sure that you pick up your pup’s poop as you walk him. This will prevent him from eating it right back and keep the environment clean. You might also consider changing where 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 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 and 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 to notice inappropriate and improper behavior. Your dog looks at you as a member of his pack and 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 significantly to curbing poop-eating habits. However, remember to be patient and consistent with him as he adopts his new training.
Consider picking up other pets’ poop on time before your dog goes crazy about the disgusting delicacy. This will help keep him from eating poop and other animals.