While this is a disgusting topic, it is one that must be discussed nonetheless. Canines have a wide variety of despicable tendencies, and unfortunately eating feces is one of them. But with a few helpful tips, you can learn how to break the bad habit and keep your pup occupied with better objects of focus than excrement. Here is a quick list of why dogs tend to go after poop, and how to teach your dog to avoid the fecal matter.

What is it about poop?

Why a dog might try to eat or lick poop is a concept beyond us, but believe it or not there are reasons why dogs do this. Here are the top contributing factors:

  • Boredom
  • Stress
  • Diet imbalance/lack of nutrients
  • “Scent” attempt (meaning some dogs actually like to “smell” something by using their tongues to taste an object to get a better sense of the components and origin of the object. This is why some dogs lick instead of eat feces.

How To Stop Puppies From Eating Poop

In order to help a dog stop eating poop, it is best to get to the bottom of why he or she is tempted to do so. Is your dog highly stressed out due to loud noises, recent environmental changes, separation anxiety, etc. that could be causing this nervous behavior? Is the pup cooped up all day without enough toys to play with or activities to keep him occupied and entertained? Are you feeding your pet a well-balanced diet so that he won’t be tempted to forage around for the minerals and vitamins he needs, even if that means sniffing around feces?  Stop your pup’s poop-eating habit with these tips:

  • Feed him a balanced diet. Make sure the proteins are varied (from chicken, to beef, duck, quail, and fish, etc.) and see if that helps. The products should range from dry food to raw food, to canned foods with supplements and healthy ingredients like fruits and vegetables. Do your research and make sure your pup is getting the nutrition he needs.
  • Stick to routines. If you are feeding your pup on an ever-varying schedule, he might be inclined to eat fecal matter simply because he is hungry or unsure when the next meal will be. Regular feeding schedules may help him avoid this.
  • Keep him on a leash while walking or going to the park. This will help you supervise his behavior at all times. If the dog starts sniffing the pile another pup left behind, pull back on the leash, say “no” and give him a treat to reinforce the command.
  • Be diligent about clean up. If you are leaving feces in the backyard and are not cleaning up regularly, this is setting up your pup to fail. Be sure to pick up any dog poop the moment that you can, so that his yard or play area will be clean and free from little masses of nasty temptation.
  • Provide the dog other alternatives. When is the last time you purchased your puppy a new chew toy, a rawhide or fresh bone to chomp on? Has the dog lost interest in all of his usual toys?  Maybe bring some new hardware home so that your dog can direct his attention to this constructive pastime instead of looking for the unsanitary choices.
  • Play with your dog regularly. A little extra attention and play time goes a long way with pets. They are much more well-adjusted, less anxious, and content when they get some fun face-time with their owner. If you are concerned that playing is a waste of time, implement some helpful training tactics and new commands when you spend an hour with your pup. Teach him the “leave it” command whenever he picks up a sock, or off-limits objects. This will be useful if he reverts back to bad habits and tries to go near the poop again. Learning this command will help your dog avoid excrement and keep his mouth and lifestyle much cleaner and healthier.