Behavioural reasons for dogs to eat poo
- Dogs who have experienced punishment, especially during their housetraining can learn to eat their own poo, heartbreakingly this is possibly to hide the evidence. During housetraining always ignore when your dog does it in the wrong place and praise when they go where you want them to
- Like toddlers, puppies are curious and often everything new they experience ends up in their mouths. Picking up in the garden and being around your puppy most of the time to clear up after an accident is usually enough to prevent this becoming a long term issue
- Dogs who spend lots of time on their own become bored and this can increase the risk of poo eating becoming a habit. Ensure your dog is happy and content and making feeding more interesting will help solve this
- Occasionally a dog learns to get a reaction by eating poo, this is attention-seeking behaviour. Don’t get angry or chase them away from it as this is the attention they crave.If your dog does this, wait until they’re finished then call them and reward them for coming. Teaching them an alternative rewarding behaviour normally stops attention-seeking poo eating. Training your dog to leave on command really helps here
- Female dogs and occasionally males in the home clean up after young puppies, this is normal instinctive behaviour to keep the nest and puppies clean. Ignore this behaviour and once the puppies are weaned it should stop on its own.
How to stop your dog eating poo
No matter what the cause, ensure your dog’s environment is clean and you go with them when they go out to the toilet. Once the causes are addressed, reducing your dog’s opportunity to eat poo considerably speeds up changing the habit.
Eating poo is a common issue, and you should investigate it as it might indicate something is wrong with your dog. But it isn’t that difficult to solve – simply look for the cause then follow the steps above to address it.