PLEASE tell me the poop eating will end!!!! - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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PLEASE tell me the poop eating will end!!!!

I am beyond frustrated! Finley is 16 weeks old and still eats his poop every chance he gets. Yes, I realize it's not going to hurt him, but it's so gross and bothers me so much. I pick up his poop as soon as I see him doing it, but I can not have eyes on him every second of every day. I left the room for 5 minutes to go text a friend, and when I came back, he was eating his poop in his ex-pen. My days revolve around his bowel movements and trying not to leave the house until I think he's empty, which clearly isn't working anyway.

He's currently eating Fromm's Heartland Gold puppy, which I think is a high quality kibble. I've tried giving him ProSense Poop Eater Solutions and GNC Pets Stool-No. I've tried pineapple juice, pineapple bits, pumpkin, Adolph's Meat Tenderizer (though I couldn't think of a way to sprinkle it on his kibble and had him lick it off my hand, which was unsuccessful). I've tried the "Leave It" command every time he goes poop with a treat afterward. That works great when I'm around but can't do that when I'm not there. I've tried hot sauce on his poop, but again, doesn't work if I'm not home.

Finley gets plenty of exercise and would be the perfect little dog if he just didn't eat his poop!!!! He's very food motivated, so I wonder if that makes him more predisposed to coprophagia. I'm thinking of changing his food to see if that will help. Any suggestions?

Please, please, PLEEEEASE tell me this is just a puppy thing and he will outgrow it! (And if so, when????) I am just so disheartened and frustrated.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 04:01 PM
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We acquired Ricky at 9 months old. He was a poop eater. It was disgusting! It took us about 6 months to get him to knock it off. You see, despite what the breeder assured us, Ricky was not house broken at 9 months. It took us 6 months to break him because we were such rank amateurs. It was our fault, not Ricky's. Here is what we did and it may (or may not) work for you.

We started immediately to take Ricky outside to potty/poop every 30 minutes (that is not a typo) We let him out for 5 minutes max and if he just wanted to play, it was back into the house. If we were successful, he got lavish praise and a healthy treat and we picked his stool up immediately and disposed of it in a closed container. Once we had a few successes (a couple of weeks) we decreased the frequency to once an hour. More successes and the interval was decreased to every two hours, then four, and today it is five or six hours. He is 100% reliable now and even tells us when he wants to go outside and we always go with him to pick up the leftovers.

We started practicing the "leave it" command immediately. We practiced several times a day with something other than poop (perhaps a favorite toy). He got a lot of treats when he complied. After practicing this about 500 times over 6 months, he started to understand what we wanted of him. Today, I still carry treats in my pocket to reward him when he complies with the leave it command. He still likes to clean up spilled food, fruit that has fallen, and dog knows what else! I discourage that with the leave it command.

We learned his elimination schedule and kept him on that schedule. Every dog is different but Ricky's poop schedule is about 1 hour after he gets up in the morning, around lunch time, and then around 7 in the evening. He poops anywhere from 2 to 4 times a day.

All of this is a lot of work in the beginning but it pays off in the long run. Ricky no longer shows any interest in eating poop and hasn't for over 3 years now. You can do it too.

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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much, Ricky's Popi, for letting me know what you did with Ricky. I feel better knowing that you broke him of that habit starting at 9 months old. There is still hope for my little Finley!

I am trying to use the indoor potty method that many people on this forum advocate. It has been working out well for us so far, and I don't want to screw it up. He's not completely house trained yet, but if the ex-pen is set up in a small L-shape, Finley will seek out the potty on his own to do his business (both pee and poop). The problem is if he's ever left alone and poops, he is treated to a delicious delicacy of fecal matter.

I wonder if I can get a puppy to poop on command? Maybe I'll try using your method, but improvised. When I think it's time for him to poop, take him to his ex-pen with potty and use a "go poop" command? He already pees on command. Do you think it's possible with poop, too?
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 10:52 PM
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My Shadow was a poop eater when I got him @ 10 months old. He had lived with the breeder almost all of his life with her 10 dogs. He would eat the poop as it came out of his little, cute bum before it hit the ground.
My vet suggested Forbid. Don't know how it compares to what you've tried. It sort of deterred him but not really. A few things happened at this time and something worked but the poop eating has stopped.
1. He had tapeworm. Did the treatment.
2. Switched him to a different food.
3. Took him in to be groomed. My groomer said his glands were so full, she couldn't believe it.

Now it is over a year later and I noticed that he was paying too much attention to his rear area. Went to the groomer and his glands needed to be emptied.
I don't know if anything I did would help you but there it is, our Poop Eating Saga! Somehow it is nice to know that I was not alone with my disgust!
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:34 PM
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here's the scoop on poop. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...dogs-eat-poop/

I think part of the problem is that he may have started this and you weren't there to pick it up promptly and he decided to eatbiit. You haven't told us enough of his eating habits and when and where he eliminates on a regular basis. Here is some info on this.

https://www.dogstardaily.com/trainin...-housetraining

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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:47 PM
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That was an interesting article. A couple points that were made are true of my Shadow. He is a greedy eater. He likes to scarf his food down. And he was definitely part of a 10 dog household prior to me getting him. I know that the breeder was a fan of litter box training so with 10 dogs pooping, there was always a supply!

I am only sooo happy that I was able to put an end to this behavior quickly. It took about 2 weeks for it to end.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for sharing the article, Dave. Finley is definitely a "greedy eater" and is VERY food-motivated. It doesn't help that he's a puppy and puts absolutely everything in his mouth.

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Originally Posted by davetgabby View Post
I think part of the problem is that he may have started this and you weren't there to pick it up promptly and he decided to eatbiit. You haven't told us enough of his eating habits and when and where he eliminates on a regular basis.
He started at the breeder's. When we took him home at 9 weeks, she mentioned that he sometimes eats his poop. You're right in that now he'll just eat it if I'm not around. However, it's not practical to be with him every second of every day. Sometimes I leave him at home when I think he's empty, but then I'll come home to an ex-pen with a few small poop stains and a puppy with bad breath. He's not alone for a very long time - just a couple hours. Sometimes he'll do it within the 30 minutes it takes to drop my kids off at school and come back home.

I'm now trying to bring Finley with me everywhere and not leave him alone for a second. I worry that's going to make him have separation anxiety issues eventually.

We feed him 3 times a day, 1 cup total of Fromm's Heartland Gold puppy kibble, at around 7am, noon, and 5pm. He usually poops once or twice in the morning and again 1-2 times in the afternoon/evening. His elimination schedule is not consistent. Maybe I should start writing it all down to see if I can find a pattern.

We're using a grated potty system (Richell Paw Trax) in an ex-pen with a crate, just as Dunbar instructs. Finley is completely reliable if the ex-pen is small, seeking out the potty on his own to do his business. No accidents as long as it's a small area (we're working on slowly enlarging the space). I really love the indoor potty system and it's going very well, so I want to keep it if at all possible. It's just that on the occasions that he's left alone in the ex-pen, he'll eat his poop. He'd be the perfect little doggy if he didn't do that!
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 02:55 PM
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you might want to get him on just two feedings a day. , early when you get up and maybe 6 or 7 pm. In order for him not to eat it , he can't have access to it when you are not there. You might want to put him in a crate for short periods at first and gradually increase the time. You have to train him how to hold it so an expen with a potty area won't help. I would take him out from the crate frequently and try to get him to eliminate outside. Remember the crate is a short time confinement tool because you don't want to use the xpen indoors untill he is eliminating outdoors and not touching his poop. It might work if you're consistent, and don't give him a chance to eat it.

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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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I have never crated him when I'm not at home because I'm absolutely TERRIFIED that he'll eliminate in his crate while I'm gone. Then potty training will become a nightmare because he will have lost the instinct not to soil where he sleeps, right?

I've considered doing outdoors poop training, but I'm still left with the same problem of what happens when he's alone, unless I crate him (see sentence above).
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wencit View Post
We feed him 3 times a day, 1 cup total of Fromm's Heartland Gold puppy kibble, at around 7am, noon, and 5pm. He usually poops once or twice in the morning and again 1-2 times in the afternoon/evening.
I am not a canine nutritionist! so take what I say with a grain of salt. 1 cup per day sounds like a lot for a 16 week old. The more you feed them, the more they poop. Ricky is 15 pounds and 5 years old. He gets 1 cup a day for his weight maintenance ( 1/3 cup Honest Kitchen twice a day and 1/3 cup steamed vegetables once per day). His weight is very stable as an adult male. He poops 2 to 4 times a day, so three times on average.

I would talk to Finley's Vet about the amount to feed him at his age.

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