An abrupt change of subject

I was on the phone with a friend the other day when she asked how everything was going with Coco. This is the same friend who waxes my eyebrows, and I think I’d been in her house the previous week moaning about being up all night because Coco would not stop making a noise that sounded like she was throwing up. But was she throwing up? She was not, and in fact she was just fascinated that she could produce such a noise. This may be the first time you’ve ever heard this, and I want you to listen to me because I don’t think you’re going to find literature on this anywhere, but all dogs come with a personality defect that I like to call BEING A TOTAL SHIT, and it compels them to do something at least once a day that pushes you until you have mumbled an obscenity under your breath. And not just any obscenity. Dammit or hell will not do, no. You will not get away with a GRRRR! You have to utter something so nasty that the syllables of the word scar your gums as they leave your mouth. Only then will your dog commence being cute.

Things with Coco are fine, I suppose. She sleeps through the night and has total control over her bladder. She’s a good dog in many ways, and we see the potential in her to be a great dog. But she’s still a bit of bad dog in many ways — will not stay on command, will not stop barking at everything on a walk, refuses to fix Mama a hot dog — and I would be able to overlook these things if she would just stop eating poop. I CANNOT GET OVER THIS. Because it’s not just her own poop, it’s Chuck’s poop, it’s the poop from other dogs she finds on walks, it’s deer poop left on the trail when we hike. Yes, yes, I know all the things you’re supposed to do to get her to stop doing this, like feeding her more nutritious food and adding something to her food that makes her poop less appealing, Internet, we have tried it all. IT ISN’T WORKING. My dog enjoys eating poop that has been made less appealing than normal poop.

Where do you go from here? Is there something we can sprinkle on her food that makes her poop less appealing than poop that has already been made less appealing? What could possibly be less appealing than already less appealing poop?

This is me muttering an obscenity under my breath.

I think my love for Coco is being hindered by this one character flaw. Yes, I love her, but the fullness of my love cannot be realized until I can snuggle with her without the knowledge that my face is being licked by a tongue that has just helped digest poop that is less appealing than normal poop. And it was during this phone call with my friend that I remembered dating a guy in Los Angeles who was very refined and had a great sense of humor, and we got along in every way except for the fact that he talked like a muppet during sex. I dreaded having intercourse with him because in the middle of it all he’d put his mouth in my ear and start talking like he’d just taken a hit of helium. And I was supposed to lie there and not laugh? Not grimace? Not go, dude, that is just WEIRD. Because I totally felt like I was screwing Elmo.

Dreading having sex with your boyfriend is a bit of a deal breaker.

Did this metaphor make the acid in your stomach churn? Yeah, sorry about that, but this is how I feel about my shit-eating dog. She has to stop, otherwise our relationship with be marred by the dread I feel when she runs up to give me kisses. And the only dread I should feel when she’s headed toward me is the usual, god, I hope that dog hasn’t been drinking from the toilet again.

Yes, somehow toilet drinking is less repulsive. I call this SELECTIVE DENIAL.

  • Catherine B-T

    I had a poop eating dog when I was a kid. My dad tried putting Tabassco hot sauce on the poop to make is less appealing……she loved it all the more. I think if this everytime I see a bottle of Tabassco.

  • Angie Seaman

    Hi Heather. I’ve never posted on your blog before but I just wanted to drop in today and say thank you. Yes, thank you for being so “you” and so transparent. After watching your follow up story on TV the other night, I must say that you helped me tremendously. You mentioned dealing with angry posters or ones that have tried to hurt you with their words in some way. I loved how you said what you did and I think it confirms who you are as a person inside and out. I have a simple “Mommy blog” for the back side of my business as well as for the behind the scenes items in my life. Well, yesterday – for the first time ever – I had two nasty and very hurtful posts come through on my blog from the same gal regarding an issue I’m having with our school system and our special needs daughter. As a Christian, it’s very hard to handle. Heck, I’m sure its difficult to handle – Christian or not. At first I wanted to go into protective mode and lash out at this individual. However, in the end, I chose to bite my tongue and stay mum for the most part. In doing so, I only have half a tongue today but I did it. For some reason this morning though, I feel as though the wind has been sucked out of my sails. This individual was very draining and very brutal in comparison to the posts I’m used to. In the end, I just keep reminding myself about what you said regarding your nasty posts and how you’ve delt with them.

    I just wanted to take the time to say I commend you for who you are and who you “aren’t.” Keep doing what you do and keep being you. YOU are what makes your blog so great! Don’t ever change you!

    Blessings always,
    Angie Seaman (Indiana)

  • Sara

    See, my dog probably eats all kinds of disgusting things. He eats toilet paper from the garbage can in the bathroom, which generally translates to SNOT from people’s sick noses. He also drinks from the toilet, and has the most rank breath ever. Not to mention genital licking and butt licking/sniffing and all that. But my dad puts up with it and lets the dog lick his face. WHY?

    He says, “Dogs’ mouths are cleaner than ours.” And I agree, yes, Dad, dogs have more enzymes to kill bacteria in their mouths than we do. But WE don’t go around FINDING bad bacteria to get all in our saliva like they do.

  • Heidi

    Damn, I think you have my dog. Oh wait, my dog loves to eat only cat poop and roll in dog poop. When my 5 year old told the dog to get away from her because nobody likes a nasty litter mouth I was glad I did not have coke in my mouth. Nothing like a dog with gritty kitty on her mouth giving you a big ole smooch to start your day out right. I find that beating the dog alot helps (totally kidding people so don’t get all worked up).

  • kristin

    Gracie is not a poop eater, but I’ve known some in my time. She prefers bugs. She also throws up when she’s hungry. We hear a “Hork! Hork!” sound and out comes bright green and yellow bile. We now refer to her as Horky.

  • Katie

    I suggest you ignore anne’s suggestion since her dog has eaten poo for 8 years.

  • debbi

    Well, this has certainly made me feel better….now when my dog drags a piece of cat shit out in the living room for our guests to witness, I can explain, with confidence, that there are hundreds of shit-eatin-dog owners out there….and from the looks of things, perhaps the makers of dog food should introduce a “new flavor”.

  • Lisa

    I was told dogs can smell the undigested food in the poop. That’s why they eat it.
    The only way to fix it is mind-numbing, repetitive training.
    We all complain about our dogs, but 99.9% of us don’t consistently train our dogs. It’s one thing to teach them to sit. It’s another to repeat it over and over again until it overrides their behavioral instinct and programs them to always sit when we tell them to.
    That’s why my dog still pulls on the leash during walks and barks at the neighbors – I’m lazy.

  • Courtney Sue

    I had a dog that ate her own poop once, and I’d never ever seen one do that before. My dad called her “that sh*t eating dog”, and I doubt he meant that as an endearment.

    I think the vet said that might be a sign she wasn’t getting enough nutrients in her food or something, which turned out to be the case because she ended up having pancreatic insufficiency, which means her pancreas didn’t create the enzymes that digest food. I doubt that is your dog’s problem, as she doesn’t look malnourished. I think she just likes poop.

  • McLawyer

    Cesar Milan, Dog Whisperer extraordinnaire! Skip the on-line submission, just send them your tape from the Today show and link to the 300+ comments you’ve received on this topic. If he shows up at your house, you must report whether he, in fact, whispers to any dogs.

  • Tracey

    If you find the right answer, please share. We have a four year old Border Collie/Chocolate Lab that loves to eat poop. EEEEWWWWWWWW. She is no longer allowed to kiss anyones face.
    we’ve tried it all, nothing works. She thinks it’s a treat.
    nasty dog breath. If it weren’t for the poop eating, she’s almost a perfect dog. except for the jumping on my head when it thunders or when the cell phone low battery signal goes off. This sends her into complete spasmodic nervous reaction and if she could crawl into my skin to get away form this awful sound, she would. She has tried. I still have scars.
    Good luc

  • Cindy

    Maybe it’s time to call the dog whisperer. If Cesar can’t fix it, no one can.

  • Lottitifsh

    Next time try going out ahead of Coco and sprinkling Tabasco sauce on her poop. Believe me, after one bite of it she won’t want to eat it anymore.

  • Heather

    Maybe it’s an Australian Shepherd thing? Mine does the same thing. So GROSS!!

  • Anonymous

    My dog used to eat poop too. I would yell at her and she would stop but usually she had already gotten in a few bites so the damage was done. One day I was throwing a tennis ball for my other dog and just happened to have the ball in my hand when she went #2 and then turned around and started to dine. I was so disgusted that let the ball fly, meaning for it to land near her to make her jump away scared. Well, the ball took a nasty hop and beaned her right in the noggin. She yelped and ran away like the poop had ganged up on her. She never ate poop again! I am not an advocate of hitting animals but in this case the tough love helped and she had no clue I was the one who threw the ball!

  • Philip

    I had a girlfriend who would do the muppet thing during sex. Forget just lying there I couldn’t stop laughing which offended her. I mean come on… it’s SEX! what isn’t there to laugh about?

    As for Coco eating poop, talk to Chuck. Chuck knows this is a deal breaker for you. He is hoping that by teaching Coco to eat poop, and then give you kisses that you’ll banish the terror forever. Older siblings always know how to get younger siblings in trouble. Same with dogs.

  • Jules

    I always enjoy when people come over and love on my dog and let her kiss them. I enjoy it because I know what has been in her mouth and they don’t. I don’t tell. Is that wrong?

    Enjoyed the post.

  • Festi

    May have already tried this, but get a Super Soaker water gun, park yourself on the porch or in a chair in the backyard and spray her in the face every time she eats the poop. I’ve heard it works for digging – maybe it will work for crap eating. Supposedly they don’t entirely know it’s YOU doing the water squirting (b/c you can be fairly far away) and that’s supposed to make a difference —- so that they will be less likely to engage in the forbidden behavior even when you’re not there.

    If nothing else, it feels good to pelt the dog safely with a hard stream of water when they’re doing something you don’t like! ;)

  • HeatherS

    I’m supposedly doing housework right now and so I started off skimming this post. On closer reading, I am relieved to know that Elmo has not been proven to eat poop. Though I don’t know that it would make him more annoying…

    Can’t stop myself-must argue against poop additives. Seems to me it would just encourage the connoisseur. “Ah, and here we have a turd with a delightful hint of pineapple. For those of you with more ethnic tastes, allow me to direct you to the northeast corner of the lawn for a bold curry.” Unless maybe you want Coco to become a feces field-trip facilitator. That way, she could earn enough to hire someone to brush her teeth after every snack.

    You didn’t hear it from me, but my kiddo also has the “being a total shit” personality trait. Clearly, she derives a thrill from knowing that she has done the one thing that would end her life if I didn’t love her so much. The only thing that seems to curb the obnoxious behavior is if I suddenly encourage it or try it myself.

    ***DO NOT EAT POOP. Don’t even try to race Coco to claim the “good ones” as a joke.***

    I am, however, suggesting that if you secretly replace Coco’s regular food with a dish of stale dog turds one day, she will assume you’ve lost your mind. She will either gobble ‘em up and ask for more, or very carefully stick to ~only~ food from now on so that you can’t possibly make that mistake again.

    Good luck. Does Listerine have a “Just for Dogs” line? I’ll be looking for it in the daily style section…

  • Tara

    The poop-eating has to be the worst thing about dogs (we haven’t yet had one that DIDN’T indulge). We’ve arranged to keep our cat litter in a place where it’s not available for snacking, but the dog still finds deer poop out in the woods, rabbit poop in the yard, you name it.

    I haven’t ever caught him eating HIS OWN poop, though–and I’d almost appreciate that as it would make our yard a much nicer place to recklessly run about in.

  • Anonymous

    Meat tenderizer or powdered chili pepper. Or the liquid cinnamon that is really hot.

    Dogs can get internal parasites and bacterial infection from eating poo.

  • Nicole

    Chocolate lab – same problem. Vet told us that dogs don’t really “taste” food like we do. They eat things by smell – so the worse it smells, the better they like it. Additives to change the taste (well in the first place, how could you make poop taste worse? Seriously, what would taste worse than poop?) don’t really work. It is a learned behavior (mother dogs often eat the infant’s feces to keep the nest clean), or a diet driven behavior. Modern-day foods are so high in fiber that often what comes out is only half-digested and the “eater” is receiving additional nutrition. I put the older dogs hunting e-collar on the five month old and followed him around the yard for a week. Anytime his mouth came near to a poopsicle, he got a little “zap”. He started running away from his own poop – it was excellent! After he lost the collar, I started taking him out on the leash and reinforcing the “no poop” rule by making an alarmed noise when he got near to one. So far, so good.

    Also – my vet reinforced the pumpkin/pineapple comment someone else made – it’s more fiber so it’s going to encourage more/looser stools.

  • Megan

    I’m a firm believer that dogs eating poop is the most nauseating habit, especially when they try and lick your face afterward. The WORST experience we’ve had with our dog however, was when he escaped from the house and spent at least an hour running free through the neighborhood eating all of the cat shit he could find. When he decided to stroll home he promptly puked all the cat shit onto the living room floor. After the experience of cleaning up dog puke consisting entirely of partially digested cat shit I don’t think anything can disgust me again!

  • Serial

    I didn’t know there were dogs that DIDN’T like eating poop.

    But that mupped business is just wrong.

  • katie

    Someone probably already said this, but have you tried spraying her in the face with water everytime she does this? Our breeder recommended this for our dog, but our puppy is a chihuahua, so not sure if it would translate or not. She might just enjoy the occasional mist of water on her face. haha! Good luck!

  • Shannon Jenkins

    Haven’t read all the comments, but I would like to point out that this is VERY common. We’ve even refer to this as our dog eating “nature’s little chocolates.” Sounds so much better that way.

  • Keara

    I have a 15 month old chocolate (Ha!)lab and he went through phases where he would eat his poop all the time and then not again for days/weeks and then start eating it again. The bad tasting poop pills were no match for him-he didn’t give a shit (Ha!) if it tasted bad or not. We eventually started thinking that maybe it was something common that he ate. Perhaps he would eat it when we gave him rawhide? So we stopped with the rawhide and he stopped eating his poop. But then out of nowhere he would eat it again. We couldn’t crack the code. But I’m happy to report that there has been a change in the past two or so months and he has stopped eating it. I don’t know if he’s lost interest or if it’s because we dart after his poo and confiscate it at departure. Which was another theory initially-that he was ‘cleaning’ up after himself like he watched us do for him. Either way, I’m hoping it’s over for good.

    I’m sorry I’m no help with what to do next, but I can definitely relate to how upsetting it is when you have to try and shake a turd free from an unwilling gob. Or worse the kind that drools out. Eek!

    Good luck!!!

  • Nicole

    I wish I had some great advice for you but sadly I’m in the same situation with two of the dogs that I walk (I’m a dog walker) They eat their own poop; they eat other dogs poop. It’s gotten to the point where I won’t let them go in the grass because they’re just poop hunting. Now the dogs poop in the middle of the road – have you ever seen such a thing? It’s quite funny!

  • Michaelle

    My dog has never grown out of his desire to dig for buried treasures in the cats’ litter box. The crust of super-clumping litter on his formerly wet nose always tells me that I don’t have to scoop for awhile….

  • James

    Our dogs just BOTH had kennell cough, which kept us up all night every night with them coughing… it was nutz.

    As far as eating poop. My dogs are normal in regards to poop eating, or at least they do it in the private of their own backyard I guess. Luckily I haven’t witnessed it yet.

    And that isn’t just a flaw…

    thats a damn deal breaker!

    No poop eating dog is going to lick me in the face when I get home from a long day. No mam.

  • Emilie

    Comment 295 by Velveeta is the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Except for your post. I’m glad you have your sense of humor today. Remember when we worked at Great Harvest and played flag football???

    p.s. this post is EXACTLY why we don’t and won’t ever have a dog.

  • Missy

    We had this dog once.

    She treated the cat’s litter box as though it was her own personal little snack buffet. Couldn’t get enough poop.

    We read that you should sprinkle cayenne pepper directly onto the poop so as to deter the dog from eating it time after time, presumably because the cayenne pepper was unpleasant tasting or maybe would burn her mouth (in a spicy sort of way, not BURN her, calm down internet).

    We tried cayenne pepper. We tried tabasco. We tried sliced habanero peppers directly on the poop (use your imagination trying to picture us strategically placing pepper slices on the cat’s poop).

    The damn litter box looked as though we were making jambalaya.

    Dog ate it, loved it. LOVED THE HELL OUT OF THE SPICY POOP.

    I have no advice. Our dog went to live with my sister (for non-poop-related reasons).

  • Bertie Bott

    Oh dear commenter #52…my dad sprinkled cayenne pepper on our dog’s poop…she didn’t like it so much after that.

  • Stephanie

    Please call the dog whisperer. That’d be the best show ever. Hell, I’ll bet he’ll even pay YOU, for him to come out there if you just mention it on your site, lol.

    Our dog Sadie has been, (THANK GOD) alot better in recent months. She is nine months old now and very well trained, thanks to my boyfriend only, I’m the softy. But anyway…on the second day we had her I got up to take a shower for work, and when I got out… boyfriend had fallen back asleep with the dog out of her room, ?!?!?unsupervised?!?!? Poop was all over the house, I mean she pooped and must have rolled in it and did the belly slide from front door to back door… Yeah it could be worse. =D

  • Dena

    I’m happy to see the dogs wearing their bandanas :o )

  • Heather’s Garden

    And that is why I don’t have any pets. Good luck, Heather.

  • whit

    Muzzle the little shit eater.

    She may come in from the yard with evidence of squished attempts for a while, but hopefully she’ll eventually give up.

  • Kim

    I know many people are against them – but if my dog were doing this, I would be using the shock collar to break him of it.

    If Coco licks Leta at all she could be spreading some pretty nasty germs on her. And it just can’t be good for her either (the dog I mean).

    The shock collar works really fast too – we had a bark collar for our dog – he barked once, got zapped and now when we put the collar on him (don’t even turn it on) he is quiet. Just the one time is all it took.

    Maybe sprinkle cayenne pepper on all the piles in the yard?

  • Kim

    This post reminded me of my neighbor – who let her dog eat vomit on the sidewalk outside of a local bar. Suddenly poop is not so bad, right?

  • Lauren

    One time I thought my Sam was eating poop, but instead the poop had legs; it was a dead mouse. It was then that I felt less horrified with the fact that he sometimes eats poop. Problem solved.

  • Jakki

    My puppy has finally out grown his lust for poop. It wasnt his poop he loved it was our cats poop. Nothing like walking through the house and kicking his ‘scooby doo snack’ across the floor. I am not one for puppy kisses or licks…yeah, I know I KNOW about the dogs mouth being oh so clean, yada yada yada but I know what that dog licks. Constantly. CON STANT LYYYYYY..

  • Lisa

    she’ll probably grow out of it. my dog was an unstoppable dog shit hoover for the first year and a half or so. then she moved on to cat shit until my boyfriend caught her in the act and had a GODDAMN ANEURISM. that cured that.

  • Kim Langston

    Another mother of a shit eater here. No only does Pearl eat her own poop, poop of the other dogs, cat poop but I happen to live on a ranch. A ranch with cows. We are on the way home the other day and she stops to eat cow poop. Not a nice, dried, hard patty but a gooshy, soft, nasty, vomit in my mouth a little patty. I was so disgusted! But what can you do, a dog is a dog. And some does eat shit!

  • Gwen

    I’ve heard that Forbid works ( and sprinkling cayenne on it works too.

  • Laura

    you are not alone with poop eating dogs… if you find a cure that really works please advise…

    our dog goes into the cat box to find poop to eat… ew

  • Anonymous

    Our dogs don’t eat poop on a regular basis….but are always on the search for some “almond rocha” (aka kitty poop)…. However, we HAVE dogs.
    And they do make you say things.
    I also have a 3 year old, so I have tried to cut out the obscenities when dealing with the dogs.

    Now, my son just walks around muttering “stupid dog” – constantly.

  • Icee

    If my dog can do cartwheels, your dog should be able to fix you a hotdog no problem. Better get that checked out before it’s too late! Next thing you know, Coco won’t want to fold your underwear in perfect little squares – and no one ever wants that!

    On a more serious note, you should watch this show entitled At The End of My Leash with Brad Pattison who trains dogs while walking around town in nothing but his underpants.

    Well, maybe that last part wasn’t true, but it’s worth a shot to watch.

  • Helen Tarnation

    My Lab loves the snacks in the cat box….you can always tell when she comes out with little pieces of litter on her nose. We like to call it Kitty Roca…right before we all go “ew-w-w-w-w!”

    We finally got rid of the battery-operated LitterMaid and got a plain hooded box and she has a harder time getting her head in there to snack….doesn’t stop her from trying, though.

    From the pyramids and monuments in the yard, I think it’s safe to say she doesn’t fancy her own “nuggets!”

  • sgt.turmeric

    I always thought that dogs ate other dogs’ poop as a territorial thing. Maybe that’s what’s going on. A dog eating its own poop has the concept a little confused, though.

    I just googled some dog and poop phrases. Wow, I didn’t know this was such a huge problem. Have you tried this:

    Another method which you could adopt is to slice your dogs poop length wise and lace it with tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper.

    Sounds reasonable. Just slice your dog’s poop length-wise and lace it with cayenne pepper.

  • lesli

    One of our dogs had the same disgusting habit and we tried everything we could think of and nothing seemed to help, except, FINALLY, time. She outgrew it and BOY were we happy! Regular dog breath is bad enough, but poop kisses? URK.