Archived Message
Nasty Habit, Eating Fecal Matter

by Brian Rice

We have a three month old female, Kelly. She is adorable, kind and well mannered except for on thing. Whenever she gets a chance, she eats her and other dogs droppings. It is rather unpleasant. We are in the process of trying to "train" her out of the habit but it is hard to keep on top of her, especially when she is running around outdoors. She is responding well to housbreaking. I think it may be something she picked up early on as a small pup. Does anyone have any suggestings on how to rid her of this nasty habit? Thanks


Brian, Lucy also did this as a baby. She didn't seem to bother about other dogs, but was definitely interested in "eliminating her elimination." I don't know where the habit came from, but I always thought she was cleaning up after herself. At any rate, when she was a tiny thing, I would yell: Lucy NO! each time she tried to do this and give a quick pull on her collar. I did this EVERY time until she finally stopped. Next walk we'd go through it again. She finally gave it up, after a month or so of this, but to this day (she's 18 mo), she always goes back after she's finished doing her business and puts her nose right on it--I figure she wants to make sure it's there. We also had a "spell" with cat poop. That was even harder. She'd zero right in on it when we were outside (neighborhood cats apparently like to use the area under the pine trees for a litter box). The Lucy No trick didn't work quite so well, though I did continue that. What I did was each time she got and no didn't work I'd make her sit and I'd take it out of her mouth and throw it as far as I could (not so hygienic, I know). She finally just gave up after she figured out she never got to keep it.

I think that big loud NO works best when they are little, so use it and don't be timid. I bellowed and Lucy would look at me like I'd taken leave of my senses, but she stopped immediately. The phrase we use now that she's "quite the young lady" is "Lucy, I don't think so! said in a really warning voice. She stops immediately.

These dogs are very, very intelligent. They will get ahead of you before you know it, but they also are very easily trained if you are least that's been my experience with Lucy. Good luck--it is a yucky habit!
-cathy brown

There is a product available in most pet stores that you can put in the dog's food--it makes his feces taste bad. I've read that a dog will sometimes eat his own feces because of the undigested food in it.

Brian/Vicki, When Lucy was into this my vet suggested putting Accent (you know, what you put on your own meat) on her food. He said it would do the trick. I never actually did it because by the time I rememberd to get it Lucy had stopped her "peculiar" (to people at any rate) behavior.

I also had a problem with KoKo and Shayna. KoKo especially wanted to eat my friends cat Poop from her litter box. (We think that's were the phase came from, "Eat Shit and Howl at the Moon). We used the "NO" word and as loud as could be, also shaking a can of coins. She finally stopped. Sometimes she would get Deer droppings in our lawn. That was even a louder "NO". We watch both of them outside very carefully. Shayna would eat her own after an accident in the house. Used the same routine. Fortunately she has not done business in the house in a number of weeks (She is 6.5 months old). We have to pick up after our dogs, therefore it is always expected to be clean. Sometimes visitors don't follow rules and we find surprise packages. Good luck, I know I was very upset about it when they were doing it..

Brian, by reading the archives and recent messages about bad breath, I found I wasn't alone with this nasty problem (which was quite a relief!) I tried the NO! route and she now hides it while she eats. I'll try the Accent method and, Vicki, any idea what the stuff at the pet store is called? Thanks! Good luck Brian.

Cathy--Atcent,--huh? Might be good for finicky eaters too! Shelley, I got a good laugh at that saying--it makes sense to me that's where the saying came from. Debbie--I'll find out the name for you and post it. and Brian, this post of yours has caused quite a "stink" I think! [ha..ha or woof woof]

I have a little 4 month old female teacup maletese. Annie is 1 1/2 pounds. She is the most adorable little thing!! Everything about her is precious except the fact that she is just starting to eat her own feces. I was quite surprised to see this for the first time about two weeks ago. I thought that maybe it was just that one time, but she has been doing it all the time. Unfortunately, I am not always around to see her when she goes to the bathroom. I give a loud firm NO when she starts to do it, but she is determined and runs right back to finish what she started. How can I stop this as I hate the thought that she does this when I am not at home!!!

The head of the RSPCA in Australia recommends feeding your dog tinned pineapply in this instance. Apparently it gives the faeces a very bad taste for the dog. However, I believe it is good to keep the dog outside for a day or so, because it might not be pleasant to pick up in the house.

Debbie, the stuff in the pet store I saw was called 'Deter'.

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