Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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.

  • Kim

    Poop is a gourmet food for dogs! I firmly believe that some dogs just plain like it. Mine isn’t so much into dog poop, but man, put some goose poop or raccoon poop in his way, and he just goes to town. I say give up and go with it!

  • Lisa

    Yes……..Toilet water ranks above poop in my book too! The poop thing is totally frustrating! Mine eat the cats poop from the litter box, which is disgusting as well……..I’ve just decided that dogs are STRANGE! hahahahahahahahaha

  • CarolM

    Well, I’m not sure if you’re up to this, but a friend of mine swears she broke her dog of eating cat shit by donning a pair of rubber gloves, and inserting a REALLY, REALLY HOT dried pepper into individual cat turds, and replacing them in the litter box. Your neighbors might think it strange to see you picking up and then REPLACING the doggy doo in your yard…

    Good lucky with this one…our dogs eat horse poo all of the time, I just try and avoid their kisses.

    C

  • Lucie

    God dammit, why did I have to be tucking into a box of chocolates as I read that insight into Coco’s eating habits? Each individual chocolate shaped like a little brown lump of….Although you couldn’t blame Coco for eating these, not with all their milk chocolatey nutty goodness. Hey! Kinda like…

  • Hannah

    It must be a second dog trait to eat poop. We had a yellow lab and then Dad brought home a brittany spaniel. Milo, the brittany, would actually follow Willie, the lab, around the pen as he pooped and eat the poop fresh from Willie’s butt. I kid you not. It was disgusting! We never found a solution. We eventually gave Milo away to a woman who liked poop-eating dogs and replaced him with another yellow lab. To this day, Willie still walks around when he poops. He fears the thought of Milo behind him ready to consume his feces. Ha!

  • I think it’s something that people don’t tell you about dogs: some of them like poop. I have friends who has a gorgeous shetland sheepdog who occasionally checks out the poop.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe this isn’t the answer you want, but I think she’ll grow out of it. My three year old dog did, but the 1 1/2 year old hasn’t quite yet.

    Just be glad you don’t have a cat. I cannot tell you how often I walk into the living room to find the evidence of cat box scavenging all over the dog bed.

  • the poop eating is foul. it’s like a nasty habit she doesn’t want anyone to know about (and you told everyone)…along the lines of someone who bites their toenails or eats hair…very strange behavior.

    i would not let her lick me either…jon will have to start calling you poop face.

  • Anonymous sorta

    Well, so your dog is a coprophage. Most are–it’s an important part of how dogs and people co-domesticated each other. She’s trying to make sure your camp is clean. Way to go Coco! But also, all the enzymes in her mouth have probably done a pretty good job of getting rid of the poop. And probably living with this dog, and occasionally letting her lick Leta will go a long way to preventing allergies and asthma, which farm kids don’t get. I dunno if this will help you be okay with it or just make me look like a know-it-all asshole. But one more thing, cause I haven’t read everyone else’s advice. Have you tried serious dog training–like herding trials and agility sports? This breed is super active and athletic. Gosh, tell people something about yourself and they think they can give you advice! Cripes. Stopping now. Bye.

  • Ugh, yes my dog gravitates toward it too. He hunts for it like some delicious root in the grass. But my husband tapped him on the butt and/or did the stern voice and it seemed to work. He doesn’t eat it anymore, but I know he wants to.

  • I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. I was really starting to like Coco too. Damn! The only thing worst than that is constant self-licking of the privates.

  • I cringe every time my kid lets a dog lick his face. I think every dog secretly likes to sample a little poop now and then.

  • Katie

    I have heard feeding the dog pumpkin and/or pineapple makes their poo yucky.

    I have also heard of the hot pepper inserted into the poo as working. I just threw up a little in my mouth though.

  • Mj

    I’ve been told, but never tried it myself, that feeding a dog pineapple does something to their poop that makes it unpalatable…who knows.

  • Cass

    Okay, my dog does this, too. In fact, we call her the “shit-eating” dog. She is a golden retriever and very loveable in every other way.

    And we don’t know what to do either, sorry that I am no help. I say just be thankful you do not have a cat. Which we do.

    No, I do not allow this dog to give me “kisses.” Ever.

  • Meg

    Unflavored meat tenderizer sprinkled on food.

    That’s the only way we got ours to stop; not even the specially-formatted-dog-brand stuff worked.

  • Candice

    Kinda akin to your dog licking his butt then jumping into your lap and unsuspectingly licking your teeth while you are talking.

  • Wow. You make me feel like my puppy is king of the world. Until I compare my puppy with Chuck, and then she’s a total numbskull again. Oh, the rollercoaster.

  • Have you tried hysterically shrieking and tugging on the leash the way one might if being attacked by alien wasps?

    This seems to have put my dog off of dead bird bits for life…

    I’d like to say it was due to my brilliance at dog training/ canine mind-manipulation, but actually I just get hysterical around dead bird bits…

  • My Aussie/Border Collie ate poop until she was two years old. Her poop. Cat poop. Bear poop from the trails. Any and all poop.

    God.

    But just before my breaking point, at her second bday, she stopped. Just stopped.

    So there is hope. If you don’t kill her before she turns two. 🙂

  • Uma

    I read somewhere that you can sprinkle something on the poop that will induce vomit. Apomorphone it’s called. The need too vomit isn’t really pleasant. But then again – it’s Coco we’re talking about here!

  • This is one of your best posts. Ever. I still get a kick out of seeing pictures of her with the trailing leash…I have no idea what to do about the poop business. We have a case of it, too. And she likes to roll in it before she eats it. Cute.

  • I just returned from a walk with the Wonder Dawg where she not only ate poop (only when I wasn’t looking), but also tried to molest a well ripened carp (would that be “carpe carp?”).

  • I can only imagine what Leta must think of this.
    “SHE IS TOUCHING MY STUFF WITH HER POOP BREATH!”

    Yeah I got nothing for you but a pat on the back and a “good luck with that…”

  • my dog ate my fiance’s used woman product last night. so it could be worse.

  • Sheri Bheri

    Sorry, but I’ve heard that some dogs DON’T outgrow it and can’t be broken of it. A friend of mine, who’s dog was a registered hospital-visiting dog, who was very well trained, could NOT break his dog of this habit. He tried the tobasco sauce on the poop thing, and says that the dog just said “Yummy Mexican food!”

    Sorry.

  • Amy

    I love the internet because of gross stories about poop eating and weird sex.

  • Try Telling yourself it’s a doggie treat…..My dog used to eat shit out of the cat’s litter box….we called it KITTY ALMOND CRUNCH.

  • KMM

    Oh my gosh, you never have to pick up doggy dookie! I would rather be dealing with a dog that eats dookie than one that shreds and eats my $50 shirts!!!!! My puppy is now seven months old and eats EVERYTHING!!!!

  • Tanya

    Ugh. My dog is addicted to cat poop, but I don’t have a cat, so it’s only an issue on walks. If he ate his own poop, I think I’d have to start feeding him intraveneously.

  • Oh my gawd, this made me laugh so hard. My sweet pug, Camus, also LOVES to eat poop, or as we like to refer to them, Chocolate Truffles or Chocolate Turtles. Whenever I see dirt on his little squished nose, I know what’s up. If I see him bent over for longer than two seconds, I know what he found. I hope the secret to getting him to stop is found in your comment section because I really love kissing his nose and don’t think I could ever stop.

  • meg

    My dad’s dog did this. He got a spray bottle, added a bit of cayenne peper,put it on “stream” and hit the dog in the face with it each time she went for poop. It took a few weeks, but it worked.

  • The question is, does she eat cat poop like my dog?? Apparently my dog thinks that cat poop is far better tasting than dog poop. Doesn’t my dog know that she is fraternizing with the enemy when she is eating the cat poop??

  • There is a clear cut answer to this question; The Poop Patch or Poop Gum.
    Doggy Hypnosis?
    Maybe if he smoked he would have less of desire to eat shit. I know smoking helped me with that problem…Oh no, that helped me stop dating.

    I am no use to you.

  • Erica Hennings

    This is the VERY reason why I get sick when my daughter lets the dogs lick her in the face. GROSS! Do you know what dogs can do? Do you? Do ya? They eat poop and can lick their own privates!

  • mistressjm

    My parents’ dog does this, and has for almost 6 years now. They, too, tried it all. None of it worked. Their vet has broken her dogs (4 rottweilers) of this habit by using a shock collar. The only reasonn my parents haven’t done this is the concern that shocking their epileptic dog with a heart disorder might just kill her.

    Good luck!

    On a poop-related note, our lab mix prefers to roll in deer poop. It is apparently the equivalent to a fine fragrance.

  • Oh.My.Gawd thank you for the instant chuckle. I wish I had some advice for you. I worked for a vet and we would suggest all the things you say you’ve already tried =/

  • DUDE. If I change my dog’s food in the slightest fashion, she has diarrhea. It is a force of nature to be reckoned with. And when she does, if she’s in the same crate with it (say, it happens while I’m at work), she eats it. You know. To get rid of it. Only then she vomits it out, has more diarrhea, lather, rinse, repeat.

  • We just got a puppy two weeks ago and I totally know what you mean about not being able to love them at full potential because of this one personality flaw. Mine is our dog pees a little everytime he sits down, stands up, gets excited, gets scared, etc. I CAN’T STAND IT!

  • kim

    it sounds like you’re describing my dog…and i don’t know it this is any solace, but she has finally broken herself of the eating other dogs shit habit. you obviously know how to train a dog well, like ppl some just learn at different rates than others. we live in a new subdivision still under construction and my dog sits at the window and barks at every contractor, construction worker and neighbour who has the misfortune or passing our house. that obscenity your were talking about…every day.

  • Lisame

    When Josey was a pup, everytime he ate poop (that I witnessed) I immediately brushed his teeth. Which pissed him off! He’s 15 this Friday and hasn’t eaten poop since he was one.

  • Lisa

    I don’t have a dog… no advice… but that Muppet Sex shit was hysterical. The worst I have is the guy who played me Sheriff’s “When I’m With You” – WELL after the song was popular… LONG after we were out of high school… Pleck. I still can’t listen to that song without feeling like I just got kisses from a dog who’s been consuming doo all day…

  • FabMax

    Dogs need some substances that can be found in digestive tracts of prey animals. That’s why wolves eat the intestines of prey complete with contents.

    There is no “cure” to poop eating. You can stop it, though. Per food stores should sell cow paunches (or is it called rumen?), filled (green) or unfilled.

    If you give Coco this stuff once per week, she’ll probably stop eating poop. It smells awful, but dogs love it almost as well as cats love catnip.

    Not that they will roll around in it. I hope.

  • anne

    Our dog is 8 and still eats poo. Sorry. We are told there is nothing we can do – that is has nothing to do with her diet and that none of those “tricks” do anything. Especially since she eats other dogs poo – so its not like we can sprinkle hot sauce on poo we see in our neighbor’s yard. I mean how wierd would we look????

    **Also please ignore the suggestion to feed the dog pumpkin – that is NOT going to help AT ALL. Pumpkin is what you give dogs who are “stopped up” – so it will likely give you a bigger problem!***

  • Anonymous

    My dog ate shit and drank out of the toliet. In fact, he ate alot of shit. He also refused to drink out of a regular water bowl. Only toliet water for him. You can do a couple of things, there is something you can buy at the vet to sprinkle on his food or you can run out behind her when she craps and sprinkle some red hot chili pepper on her shit. She won’t eat it again.

  • Sheri

    My dog, also named Coco, likes to eat poop. We’ve stopped calling it poop and now call it “snacks”. It makes it more appealing that way.

  • delia

    One of our dogs is a shit eater. Will yank your arm out of the socket while on a walk just to get at a piece of poo. Sometimes she doesn’t get enough of an extension on the leash and ends up smearing it on her cheek while attempting to get it in her mouth.

    We have poor plumbing at this house, the toilets clog like crazy. On several occasions my 6 year old will poop, clog the toilet and not know it and walk away after flushing. Our second dog will go face first into the clogged toilet slurping down every piece of poo stained toilet paper, every piece of poo and every last ounce of poo and pee tainted water in the bowl.

  • Well, don’t even THINK about what dead creatures she might have been mouthing, like my PITA dog.

    A friend of mine once had a “Map of a Dog’s Brain” on her refrigerator and there were tiny sections titled “walks” and “fetch” but the absolute largest section was called “Love of the Putrid.” It’s just a dog thing, I think. I’m not sure there’s anything you can do.

  • Here’s a basic training technique http://www.petexpertise.com/about_us/dropitleaveit.htm that should help, at least on the walks, to get Coco to leave the poop alone (and anything else you don’t want her getting into during the walk). Worked wonders for ours (who also happens to look a little bit like Chuck). http://www.atlantadogsquad.org/Adoption-Photos-2007/HoneyAdoption.jpg

  • Much like you, we had an older dog, Walter, that’s just amazing, and then we got a younger dog (Mervyn) who has been a bit of a trial. And this younger dog did the crying and whining and the in-house crapping and then we got over that and it’s all fine, but his one behavior that we can’t break is that he LOVES to drink urine. We have stopped sending the dogs out into the yard together because Mervyn will actually lap at the urine coming out of Walter’s penis. And that’s disgusting. And the only thing I’ve read online is hey, maybe the dog isn’t getting enough water, so he’s supplementing with urine. But we give him SO MUCH WATER. And then he drinks it. TWICE.