“Coprophagia”, meaning the act of a dog eating poop, can be one of the more disgusting habits dogs acquire. Not only is this a gross habit but it can cause an upset stomach to your dog resulting in diarrhea or other bowel problems.
But this is not an uncommon occurrence. Many dogs eat their own or other dog’s droppings, but why?
Before dogs were domesticated, they were living in the wild fending for themselves. These pack animals had natural predators and to keep safe dogs would eat their fecal material. This consumption help keep predators from finding their dens. Now that dogs have had hundreds of years of domestication this instinct has greatly diminished. However, if you find that your dog has begun eating their poop this can be due to boredom or because they find it reinforcing.
But how do I stop it!?!?
To stop coprophagia, here are several helpful tips to rid your dog of this habit.
1) You can buy a chew tablet or pill from your vet that makes their fecal distasteful and unappealing. Dogs under 40 pounds usually only need 1/2 a pill to 1 full pill. So be observant to determine the dosage.
2) pick up poo in your yard or pee pads. Removing the poo helps to avoid and eliminate further problems .
3) place an aversive on the poop! Hot sauce has been a common product. This helps your dog to associate fecal with a negative feeling and thus will help to stop the problem .
In my opinion, if you have multiple dogs or indoor dogs that use pads the pills and chew tablets are a great help. Many clients have reported success with this product .
Remember that this a fairly common problem and it is not actually harmful to your dog but it is a dirty habit that can be treated.
Even though all breeds can pull on the leash, those owners with large breed dogs have the most complaints. This is for obvious reasons: dogs are larger , harder to handle, and can physically over power you.
When it comes to pulling on the leash there are actually multiple ways for fixing the problem. So even though it is great to have options, you must realize that might mean trail and error. Be patient. Since this is a lengthy topic, I will concentrate primarily on leashes today and on pulling tomorrow.
First get the proper leash. Many dog owners have choker collars which I do not recommend. Don’t use aversive conditioning!!! Positive reinforcement over punishment always. There are fabulous leashes on the market for all dog types. So find the one that best suits your dog.
Here our 3 choices in leashes that will be great for your dog !
Front clip harness: A leash I recommend often, this leash clips in the front on your dogs chest. The point of this and why it is so effective is when dog suddenly pulls it is pulled right around to face you. This is very annoying for the dog and you will see a change in the behavior quickly.
Sporn Harness: I see many owners with these. The way this leash works is when the dog is pulling on the harness it will tighten slightly in the front around the legs. The dog will feel like their feet are being lifted off the ground. So larger dogs or aggressive ( bully) breeds that can knock you off-balance, this leash could be good for you. This leash puts you in control.
Head collar: This leash is becoming very popular for dog owners. The leash fits around the snout or mouth of your dog. Even though many owners swear by this leash it is not intended for dogs that lunge or pull abruptly or dogs that have eye or neck issues. Injuries to eye and neck are more common.
Now pulling while walking is not just about changing your dogs leash. Be behavioral ! Tomorrows blog will explain more behavioral aspects of this common dog problem.
But remember always set your dog up for success and a great comfortable leash for both you can your dog is a great start.