Effective Tips to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Other Dogs’ Poop on Walks

Walking your dog should be a fun, relaxing activity, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if your furry friend has a habit of eating other dogs’ poop. It’s not just disgusting, it can also pose health risks to your pet. You’re not alone in this struggle, and there are effective ways to curb this behavior.

Understanding why your dog engages in this activity, known as coprophagia, is the first step towards finding a solution. There could be various reasons, from nutritional deficiencies to behavioral issues. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you navigate this stinky problem.

In this article, we’ll guide you through some tried and tested strategies to stop your dog from eating other dogs’ poop on walks. So, let’s dive in and get that walk back to being the enjoyable experience it should be.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the reasons behind coprophagia in dogs is crucial before taking necessary actions. It can be due to medical conditions like Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), behavioral reasons, or lack of stimulation.
  • In some cases, a dog’s poop-eating behavior can indicate underlying nutritional deficiencies. Pay close attention to your pet’s diet to ensure it’s balanced and provides all essential nutrients.
  • Utilizing behavioral training techniques such as implementing the ‘Leave it’ command, distracting your pup with toys or changing direction, and positive reinforcement with treats can significantly reduce the occurrence of coprophagia.
  • Applying distraction methods promptly when your dog shows interest in inappropriate items, including the use of well-chosen toys or scent-based games, can divert your dog’s attention from the poop.
  • Consistency is a key factor in dealing with coprophagia. Maintaining a consistent response towards your dog’s inappropriate behaviors helps them understand what’s expected, build good habits, and ultimately reduce their interest in poop.
  • Seeking advice from a veterinarian or a canine nutritional expert can be beneficial, especially if nutritional deficiencies are suspected as the cause of coprophagia.

Preventing your dog from eating poop, a behavior known as coprophagia, can be challenging but manageable with consistent training and attention to diet, as AKC’s training guide covers methods to discourage this undesirable habit. Ensuring your dog has a balanced diet and is not seeking out missing nutrients from other animals’ waste is crucial, which Purina elaborates on nutritional deficiencies that might cause coprophagia. Additionally, immediate intervention and positive reinforcement when they exhibit these behaviors, as recommended by PetMD, can help train them to avoid eating feces during walks.

Understanding the Behavior

It’s not just about your dog’s gross eating habits, it’s a matter of health concern as much as it is about curtailing a disgusting habit. You need to get inside your dog’s head—why do they do this? There are several reasons, and understanding these is the first important step to halting the behavior.

It could mean your dog has a condition such as Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) or a parasite infestation. These conditions can lead to malabsorption, meaning your dog isn’t getting the nutrients they need. To them, poop smells like dinner. It’s an unsavory thought, but to a dog in this condition, it’s instinctual.

On the other hand, it’s not always medical. Some dogs may engage in coprophagia as a behavioral response. If they’ve been punished for pooping indoors, they might eat their mess to hide the evidence and avoid punishment. It could also be a learned behavior from their mother during the early weeks of their life.

Lastly, it could be due to a lack of stimulation, a common issue in overly confined or isolated dogs. Eating poop might be a way to alleviate boredom.

Reasons for CoprophagiaMedical or Behavioral
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)Medical
Parasitic infestationMedical
Fear of punishmentBehavioral
Learned behaviorBehavioral
Lack of stimulationBehavioral

Now that you’re aware of the potential reasons behind your dog’s unpalatable habit, you’re on the journey toward stopping it. Understanding is the first step, but it’s not enough. The next part of your mission involves knowing how to respond effectively to curtail this behavior. After all, your ultimate goal is to create a healthy and comfortable environment for your pet. This would not only save you from gross moments while walking them but also safeguard their health. So, keep reading to reveal more practical approaches and tips.

Assessing Nutritional Needs

Compellingly, a dog’s poop eating behavior isn’t simply a nasty habit. At times it can be an indicator of underlying nutritional deficiencies in a dog’s diet. When your pawed friend consistently consumes poop, they may be attempting to complement missing nutrients in their meals.

You’re probably wondering – “What nutritional needs might my dog not be getting enough of?” To articulate this, keeping a close eye on your dog’s diet becomes important. Quality, well-balanced dog food provides the correct proportion of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and vital vitamins and minerals. However, if your dog leans towards low-grade food or their diet is primarily homemade without clear nutritional planning, they may lack essential nutrients.

Dogs with nutritional deficiencies display various signs. These include dull fur, lethargy, weight loss or gain, and of course, the desire to eat poop. Specifically, dogs lacking in enzymes and probiotics—vital for digestion—display coprophagia behavior more frequently.

Here’s a simplified breakdown of what your dog’s diet should consist of:

NutrientsRecommended Percentage in Diet (%)
Vitamins and MineralsVaries with breed, age, and size

If you suspect that your dog’s diet may be lacking, consider seeking advice from a veterinarian or a canine nutritional expert. They can guide you towards optimized dietary plans or recommend suitable supplements for rectifying nutritional gaps.

Furthermore, adding natural digestive enzymes such as papain and bromelain, found in papaya and pineapple respectively, may aid digestion and discourage your dog from eating poop. As each dog has unique dietary needs, how much of these digestive aids to provide will rest on the dog’s size and overall health.

Tailoring your dog’s diet to meet all their nutritional needs isn’t just essential for inhibiting coprophagia. It also contributes to overall their health, energy levels, and longevity.

Behavioral Training Techniques

Training your pup to avoid this unsavory habit starts with consistent and rewarding behavior management. After all, behavior is easier to mold when it’s being reinforced positively. Here are some methods you could use:

Implementing the ‘Leave It’ Command

The ‘Leave it’ command is a critical instruction that can help deter your dog from eating poop during walks. You might already be using it to stop your furry friend from chewing furniture or dashing out the front door. It’s not too difficult to teach the ‘leave it’ command. You’ll start with something less enticing, gradually building up to real-world scenarios like encountering other dogs’ poop during walks.

Following are the steps:

  1. Hold a treat in both hands.
  2. Show one hand to your dog and say “leave it”.
  3. The moment your dog stops sniffing and pulls away, reward them with a treat from the other hand.
  4. Repeat until your dog responds consistently.

Using Distraction Techniques

Distraction works wonders when trying to avert attention from something unwanted. Equip yourself with your dog’s favorite toys or squeaky balls during walks to keep them focused and engaged.

Compliance with Short-Leash Walking

Short-leash walking gives you greater control over your dog. This technique allows you to steer your pup away from fecal matter and reward him for maintaining focus on the walk.

Remember, early detection is crucial; if you catch your dog starting to sniff around an area with fecal matter, gently tug the leash and guide them away.

Positive Reinforcement with Treats

Reward your dog for good behavior. When your dog successfully ignores other dogs’ poop, heap praises on them, shower them with love, and give them their favorite treat. They’ll soon associate ignoring poop with positive outcomes.

Implement these training techniques to mold your dog’s behavior and suppress the poop-eating habit. Dealing with coprophagia can be challenging, but with persistence and patience, you can not only help your dog kick the habit but also establish closer bonding during regular walks. Adopt a united approach to combine high-quality nutrition with behavioral training techniques, hence creating a win-win situation for you and your pup.

Engaging in Distraction Methods

As soon as you notice your furry friend showing interest in inappropriate items while on a walk, swift intervention is required. Distraction methods help refocus your dog’s attention, shifting it away from the undesired activity. It’s here that the right toys, attention-grabbing activities, or quick change in direction can work wonders.

Choosing the Right Distraction Toys

A dog’s fascination for eating poop can often be curbed by replacing the attraction to feces with something more appropriate – toys. But don’t opt for any toy. Select ones that are safe and consistent with your dog’s size and preferences. You’ll want to invest in durable, chewable toys that can prove more entertaining to them than the street ‘treats’.

Change the Game, Change the Track

A change in direction or pace can surprise your pup, redirecting their interest away from the droppings. Take the advantage of their inquisitive nature by turning them towards new paths, and mixing up your walking patterns.

Engage Your Dog’s Sense of Smell

Scent-based games can engage your dog’s sniffer, deterring them away from the scent of poop. Splashing your dog’s favorite scent or treat in a toy can keep them busy. Try hiding the toy which has the scent and let your dog search for it. It’s a great way to exercise their sense of smell and keep them occupied on walks.

Remember, practically applying these methods but still not seeing results? Patience is key! With consistency and repetition, a decreased interest in poop can be seen over time. No single method works for all dogs; some might require a combination of approaches. Above all, these distraction techniques form just a piece of a larger behavior restructuring program that includes other components such as obedience training, positive reinforcement, and well-balanced nutrition.

Consistency is Key

In dealing with coprophagia, remember: consistency is your secret weapon. It might be tempting to dismiss some incidents if your dog behaves well most of the time, but resist the urge. Consistency in your style of interaction and response plays a crucial part in helping your furry friend understand what’s expected of them.

The moments you let them get away with unwanted behavior might confuse them, risking future progress. Sure, patience will be tested, but remember, behavioral changes don’t happen overnight, especially when addressing coprophagia in dogs.

Using the distraction techniques mentioned earlier — toys, activity breaks, direction changes —ensure these tools become a staple in your walks. Identify your pet’s favorite toy or activity and have it ready at all times. Is it a squirrel-shaped squeaky toy? Or a tennis ball that sends them running?

Schedule the direction changes to coincide with certain triggers. Is there a specific garbage bin or doggy area that tempts them? Change direction before you reach it, reducing the chances of coming across other dog’s feces.

Engaging their sense of smell in scent-based games also helps. Remember those pungent-smelling treats they love? Use them to your advantage. Make a sport of it, have them sniff out their favorite treat from your pocket or from a hiding spot, effectively diverting their nose from other dog’s poop.

When you incorporate obedience training and positive reinforcement, never downplay the power of immediate and vibrant praise or treat reward. Dogs live in the moment; your reaction should be prompt. An immediate “Good dog!” or treat can help cement the desired behavior. Over time, your dog will equate their good behavior with positive feedback.

There are indeed a lot of variables in your journey with your pet pal. But take heart that with patience, consistency, and a combination of methods tailored to your dog, you’re on the right path. Keep learning, keep trying and remember – consistency is key! Keep observing your pet, use every opportunity to reinforce the positive changes, and never forget to show them love.


So, you’ve learned the ropes of managing your dog’s coprophagia. Remember, consistency is your best ally here. Don’t let any slip-ups go unnoticed and use distraction techniques effectively. Make walks fun with your dog’s favorite toy or engage their nose with scent-based games. And don’t forget the power of positive reinforcement. Immediate, enthusiastic praise or a well-deserved treat can work wonders. Stay patient, stay consistent, and you’ll see those positive changes in your dog’s behavior. It’s all about reinforcing the good, showing your love, and maintaining a steady approach. You’ve got this!

What does the article address?

The article tackles the issue of coprophagia in dogs, providing recommendations for maintaining consistency in behavior correction and employing tailored methods in managing the unwanted behavior.

What does it warn against?

It warns against ignoring incidences of unwanted behavior, stressing that overlooking such instances can hinder the effectiveness of behavior correction methods.

Which techniques are emphasized in the article?

The article highlights employing distraction techniques like toys and activity breaks during walks. It also emphasizes incorporating scent-based games to positively engage a dog’s sense of smell.

How important are immediate rewards in positive reinforcement?

Immediate and enthusiastic rewards, such as praise or treats, are crucial in obedience training and positive reinforcement, as they help reinforce positive changes.

What is the key message of the article?

The key message is to be patient and consistent in addressing coprophagia in dogs. It endorses using a blend of tailored methods, reinforcing positive changes, and expressing love throughout the process.