Does your dog eat feces? If so, you're not alone!
According to Wikipedia:
"Coprophagia or coprophagy is the consumption of feces, from the Greek κόπρος copros ("feces") and φαγεῖν phagein ("to eat"). Many animal species practice coprophagia as a matter of course; other species do not normally consume feces but may do so under unusual conditions. Coprophagy refers to many kinds of feces eating including eating feces of other species (heterospecifics), other individuals (allocoprophagy), or its own (autocoprophagy), those once deposited or taken directly from the anus."
As some readers already know, dogs sometimes eat feces. Cat, rabbit, goose and even their own feces can be appealing to them.
To dissuade dogs from eating poop, people have tried all sorts of deterrents, some safe for dogs and some not so safe. Before trying any deterrent always check with your veterinarian first. There is no substitute for veterinary advice when it comes to what goes in your dog's mouth!
At the risk of oversimplification, the most reliable solution is prevention. How? Remove feces as soon as it appears. Using pick up bags on walks and keeping your yard clear of poop is essential when you live with a dog who eats poop.
So if the answer is so obvious, what's the problem?
Many times my dog training clients are worried about little dogs who use wee wee pads indoors. If the poop is on the paper even for a few minutes, the dog consumes it!
Often the papered area is located in a discreet area, out of the main traffic area of the home. By the time the family realizes that the dog has eliminated, it is too late - all or part of the feces has already been consumed. And from a dog training standpoint, the dog is likely to do it again, since the behavior is self-reinforcing. It feels good to eliminate and (to the dog) eating poop tastes great. (Ick! Really!)
My latest solution:
Locate the dog's papers in a small room with a doorway leading into it. A bathroom is perfect.
Place a small, battery operated motion detector on the floor near the threshold of the bathroom where the papers are located. GE makes an inexpensive motion detector that works well.
When the dog walks into the bathroom, a chime rings (make sure you set the detector to Chime and NOT Alarm). This prompts you to appear at the bathroom.
Toss some super-tempting food outside the bathroom so your dog leaves the bathroom to eat it. This gives you an opportunity to pick up the poop. No poop, no poop eating. Voila! Everyone is happy.
The motion detector buys you peace of mind because when you do not hear the chime, you know that your dog is not on his or her papers! As long as your dog is using the papers and not eliminating anywhere else, you can relax and only attend to your dog's coprophagia when the chime rings.
Comments welcome. Let me know what you think and especially how it goes if you try this solution.