An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.

  • Spread_the_Poop

    I feel for you, I really do. I only hope that it’s not contagious like it was in our household. Our golden retriever was a bona fide poop-eater who then taught that trick to our basset hound who then taught that trick to our german shorthaired pointer (fortunately, we ran out of dogs at this point). But who knew poop-eating could be so appealing? CHUCK — JUST SAY NOOOOOO!!!!! By the way, the one upside to this — it’s shortened our backyard pooper-scooper trips by AT LEAST 75%.

  • Kelley

    My dog was crazy about poop as a puppy, but once she got older she lost (most) of her interest. She’s now 8 and the worst she does is sniff at bird shit on the sidewalk every now and then–oh, and try to rub her head in it. Maybe Coco will grow out of it eventually? Or maybe you can teach her to gargle Listerine…

  • Dude, this post and the follow-up comments probably have the word “poop” appearing more times than anywhere else across the Internetz. Amazing. This is like a cult phenomenon or something.

    And I may be duplicating some comments here, but I have to say that shit eating, tongue-masturbating fur-faces make it hard to love them some times, but the loyalty thing TOTALLY makes up for it.

  • My dog did the EXACT same thing when she was a puppy. We tried everything with no luck. Everyone said she would grow out of it and miraculously at 10 or 11 months she stopped. Hopefully that will be the case with Coco too. Good luck until then!

  • E

    My dog eats poop, but only deer, rabbit, or the occasional cat turd. She won’t touch her own, because, you know, IT’S DISGUSTING. But other animals poop, IS A DELICACY.

    Stupid dog.

  • Hope

    Having a 12 week old puppy at home – I can totally sympathize. I like how as a dog owner, you GET IT when it comes to loving them and realizing they have these crazy quirks that you have to go through to get a great dog.

    Can you write a book about your experiences with your dogs, I think it would be useful for anyone who’s thinking of getting a dog to realize what they are getting in to.

  • I think she is just doing her part to keep her world tidy. Her little dog brain is all, “Oh my. This poop should not be here. I’ll eat it … There. Better.”

  • Our sheltie has done this forever. Fortunately, he only does it outside in the winter when the poop is frozen, which somehow makes it a little better in my mind (more palatable? Groan…) I have no idea why.

    But he’ll eat cat poop year round. I guess it’s always in season.

  • Anonymous

    Sure — pineapple and pumpkin added to food will help a little. But you can also buy a product called Deter ( It has enzymes that make poop completely unpalatable to your dog. I think poop eating is a pretty common and fixable problem. Good luck!

  • Amy

    Our Boston Terrier has been making his own snacks since 2002… and eating everyone else’s for that matter…. we have tried everything…. he won’t do it for a while… then he just goes back to it… the best is when he comes and sits next to you and verps in your face and a cloud of newly digested poo wafts from his huge mouth…

    he even attempted to teach our other dog Lucy to be a lover or the poo… one day… she just threw up a poo… and i don’t know if you watch South Park.. but if you do… it totally reminded me of the Cartman poo out of your mouth episode…

    I have no wise words of wisdom for you… only to let you know that i too love my dog… Gus is awesome…. but he would be even more awesome-er… if he would STOP the POO habit…


  • I’m thinking she needs to experience some sort of physical pain when she starts to eat the poop. I can’t believe I just typed that because I totally love animals. Gah. But. I would try the hot peppers or a little smack with a stick or the trick my brother used to stop stray cats from pooping in his garden — a handheld air horn. Now that I think of it, when my sister encounters aggressive dogs on her daily walks, she uses a device that emits a sound that dogs hate but humans can’t hear. The dogs run or slink away. It’s similar to a Dazer.

  • priceless non-sequitur! next time i run to separate my poop-eating dog from the object of her appetite, all i’ll be thinking of is a pornographic elmo… priceless, really. i think this post begs a “worst sex/lays ever” meme.

  • Longhorn Lucy doesn’t eat her own poo thank goodness, but she has lots of other little annoying habits. She’s about the same age as Coco. I’m with the lady who suggested Cayanne and a squirt bottle. We bought this stuff at PetSmart call Bitter Apple and it does seem to work. Lucy really hates the taste.

  • Bibi

    Much of the time, I am so put off by the gross things my dog does it’s a wonder I have a dog. She is so devoted to our family, but is a big eater of the poo and what I find worse; she takes my unclean undies out of the hamper and licks them.

    There have been days I’ve found my panties strewn all over her bed…it’s like having my own private stalker. Eeeewww!

    By the way, the muppet sex was FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS!

  • I grew up on a farm. We always had a dog, but I never knew dogs did this.

    A few years ago a friend brought her dog over to my house when I had two cats. Well, he proceeded to go check out the treats in the litterbox. I couldnt believe it. But now to read that so many dogs do this, I dont know that I could ever get a dog — and I would so like one some times.

  • bre

    I have three things to say:

    1. You are a wonderful and hilarious writer.

    2. I love that you call us ‘Internet’ with a capital ‘I’.

    3. I’ve been thinking nice thoughts for you to the god I believe in after your post a couple days ago – I hope things are looking up for you!

  • Kristine

    Oh I thank my ever f-n lucky stars everyday that my 4-legged girl never got into this habit. I have heard of many people being successful of breaking this habit but I’ve also heard the “not so lucky”. Good luck with that but more importantly, thank you for the great big laugh I got reading this post. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today and needed a good laugh.

    PS – Poop eating and all aside, they still says a dog’s mouth is cleaner than humans. Go figure?!?

  • I am so sick with a URI and am on antibiotics and have been really good about not peeing myself when I’m choking on all the phlegm that I’m trying to eject from my head and chest.

    The Heather takes me on a journey about poop-eating dogs and screwing Elmo, and I am a freaken basket case and now I have to change my pants and dry my chair.

    But it was so worth it, because I really needed a laugh.


  • I don’t have any advice for your shit eating dog. But I did want to say that I once had a boyfriend who told me it bothered him when I said “Oh god” during sex. Then after that I was always distracted by what I might say when in the moment and eventually I was like, “nice knowing you” because no one should be that distracted by their vocabulary during intercourse.

  • Jamie

    I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but we have a four year old Australian Shepherd and he still eats poop. We thought he would grow out of it, but it hasn’t happened yet. If you find something that works, please post about it so I can try it!

  • You MUST call Cesar Milan.

  • Sadly, some dogs are shit eaters. Not sure I ever thought I would type that sentence. I am happy that I do not have one of those dogs. I am sorry that you love is marred–but understandably so. I don’t know if there is some sort of positive reinforcement strategy where you could give her bacon every time she doesn’t eat shit…I know how much you love your bacon.

    Sex with Elmo…I am laughing hysterically about that.

  • I once had two beagles, Louie and Elmo.

    Louie loved poo so much that he ate it OUT OF ELMO’s BUTT WHILST HE WAS POOPING.

    I am so not kidding, because seriously,who would even want to make that up?

  • Anne

    My puppy ate her own poop and all other poop for nearly two years! I tried sprinkling magic puppy dust on her poop (ingredients: Alfalfa Sprouts) and it was more like puppy-crack – after a few sprinkles she ran for more. Eventually she just got TIRED of poop. Thank GOD.

  • Jo

    I am so ROFL at this. My BF’s dog, a beautiful, soft yellow Lab, eats poop. One day a few years ago we were both pregnant, sitting on her front porch watching our dogs romp in her yard. Mine went to the back of the yard to go, and sure enough, her dog was RIGHT THERE BEHIND MINE – you guessed it – pretty much gobbling it up from the source. We both leaned over and just about puked our Doritos – we’ll never forget that. I hate to say that once a poop eater, I’m not sure it goes away. That said: tobasco sauce.

    Seriously – go out to the yard, douse all the poop piles in the stuff, let Coco out to roam and watch her yelp right after. Take a small bottle with you on walks, and if she goes near a pile, douse her toungue. Sounds rough, but if you really feel about this the way you described your Elmo-sex experience, I’d go and get a few bottles pronto. I mean, she’s just a puppy. There are a lot of good years ahead with her, but this is a nasty habit indeed!

  • We live in a neighborhood with an unfortunate number of feral cats who, for some Godforsaken reason, have decided to use our front yard as their litter box — horrible, horrible creatures that they are. Regardless, the worst part is that this provides our dog, Yoshi, with an ample supply of snackfood — every time we’re not looking, in fact.

    In short, DUDE, I feel your pain.

  • C

    I say you try and use reverse psychology a bit. Not sure if it works on the K-9’s …but try sayin, EAT SHIT DOG. EAT THAT SHIT!..maybe it’ll turn him off!

  • My dog used to do this, so you know what we did?

    We picked up the poop. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. We put it in sealed ziplock bags (like leftover deli meat bags) in the trash can in the garage and went to the dump often.

    If there was no poop, he couldn’t eat it. He eventually lost interest in poop altogether, but he still eats road kill.

    I had the impression that Coco wasn’t allowed to run loose in the yard anyway and she is always on a leash. Is that not true?

  • Thank God! I’m not alone. Theo is totally addicted. He even gets up from sitting and licks the spot he was sitting in. I guess that’s when he’s inside and having poop withdrawal…

  • Sharon

    We have the same problem with our shepherd. and had it with the shepherd before her. these are supposed to be smart dogs! And, like you, nothing works. If we sprinkle something offensive on it, she is like “thanks for the topping”. So now we follow her in the yard and pick up immediately after. It’s more work than the children!

  • Anonymous

    We have lots of Canada geese where we live, roaming around, dropping goose poop everywhere – this is particularly gross excrement. My Lassa Poo loves to sniff it. I think she’d eat it if I didn’t jerk her away. My stomach flips at the imagery . . . I NEVER let her lick me, just in case.

  • kellyjoco

    Delias comment about the dog eating the six yearolds shit and toilet paper and piss water about killed me. That is so funny. I wish my dog would eat her own poop, clean up after herself, as it were!

  • I think I dated your Elmo. I live in the OC, is that possible? Trust me … didn’t date him for long.
    As for the shit eater – I think they outgrow it as they get older. At least my retrievers outgrew it pretty early on.

  • First, talking like a muppet during sex is TOTALLY a deal-breaker. Mr. Elmosexual needs some serious therapy!

    Second, my dog ate any and all poop he came across for about the first year of his life, then *poof* he stopped. We had tried everything, even hot sauce and hot peppers. He’s a long little dog (a dachshund), and he’d be turning himself in circles trying to eat it as it came out of his own ass.

    Nothing worked but time.

    I’m sure that provides you with little solace right now, but Coco probably will grow out of this phase. In the meantime, have you tried Yip Yap Breath Mints for dogs? They helped with the poop scent.

  • Random Diva

    Wow, I thought my two mutts were the most pain-in-the-ass pups to raise. Many nights of hand wringing, hair pulling and a husband screaming “we are taking her back” ensued. Thank God we never had this problem. I consider myself such an animal lover and my charity dollar goes only to animal related causes. I do not believe in this normally but when all else fails, a shock collar is not painful–yes I tried it on my own neck first and a good deterrent. We had one correction we couldnt overcome–and yes we tried everything else first dear internet, but once we got the collar it worked like a charm.

    We had a handheld remote so you control the timing..see her eating poo, small zap. They dont see it coming from you so dont associate you with it, just the bahavior. Sounds bad but when all else fails right?

    Good luck Heather, Coco seems awesome in every other way.

  • Our dogs used to snag the cat poo from the litter box. We called the poops Almond Rochas as they look like the fancy candy in pink rappers once the cat litter is all over the poo. Either way – gross. Our bulldog would appear wondering out of the cat box area with litter all crusted over his nose and face. Guilty!! And so gross, eventually we have told them both NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Damnit! enough times that they have stopped. But on a walk a while back my long haired white dog found a big pile of green horse poo and dived down on it and rubbed her neck all over before I could pull her away. Imagine that ride home in the car and I got to bathe her when we got home! Awesome. and yet,love prevails….Sigh

  • Ok. I try not to tell people these two stories very often.

    When we were little, we had a wiener dog who liked poop, and I had a 2 or 3 year old brother who liked to pop a squat in the front lawn. You can see where this is going. The dog would eat my brother’s poop before it hit the ground. For this, and many other reasons, I do not like dogs.

    Of course, I now have a little parrot, and he loves bananas. He takes a bite, and I pull off a piece for me, repeat. Human mouth bacteria could kill him, so he never takes a bite off a piece my mouth has been on. Then I discovered that he likes to crunch up his dried poo, and I still eat banana after him. Go figure, it is love.

  • Just when you thought there would be less poop in your life, eh? Well, I sympathize. That’s all I can think to say.

    I really, really sympathize with you.

  • JEM

    Similar mutt stories here. My shepherd mix is completely horrified by poop unless it’s human (up on the shoreline trail she always finds some), which is worse than dog poop any day. My Doberman mix will eat any poop. One day, the first winter we got her, we heard her licking something in the corner (on the carpet) and discovered she was going to town on a frozen poopsicle she brought in from outside. Oh man. The hysterical screaming one commentator suggested has worked with her, as has “leave it” – unfortunately I’m not always within range. Maybe when Coco fully learns you are her “pack leader” she will respond to your training her to “leave it” (a very useful and multi-purpose command). Until then, perhaps you can train Leta to keep the yard poop-free? Good luck.

  • Lee

    Our Parson Russell terrier, Tucker, is also a poop gourmet. Goose, duck, deer, bunny and his all-time favorite, kitty. As far as the kisses go, I wash his face with Dial soap on a washcloth after walks and then smooch away.. As far as the boyfriend thing goes, I had an ex that used to sing “Love Shack” everytime he was going to orgasm..I can no longer listen to the B-52’s..

  • Jo

    If she’s chewing on other things like bark and rocks it’s probably nutrient seeking behavior. Our Schnauzer would eat poop, and bark, and rocks, and a random piece of copper pipe (don’t know where he found it) before we switched to a high end food. We’re using Timberwolf and the poo eating has stopped. Before the food switch we had tried the powders and all that other crap and he still thought it was tasty, bleh. Good luck with it!

    As a side note, the pup used to raid the cat box and bring the turds upstairs (cat door into an unused bathroom fixed that). We called them almond roca. Just thought I’d ruin that candy for everyone.

  • Remember cute puppy breath when Coco first came into your world? ahhh..they grow up so fast…. I so sympathize with you. My dog is a shit connoisseur. She prefers goose and horse poop to cat poop. She also likes to roll in dead stuff whenever possible.
    She’s totally disgusting.
    I couldn’t take it once after one of these poop eating episodes and in desperation put some listerine in her water dish. We also use the rubber finger dog toothbrushes and YIP YAPS dog mints. Thank you commenter above for the water gun trick….that’s one I haven’t tried.

    PS – This post was freaking funny Heather- thank you for the laugh…I SO needed it today. I love your writing..I love that you are embracing yourself as a writer and storyteller – I hope you are sitting back and LETTING YOURSELF ENJOY THE SUCCESS!!!!

  • Sara

    What about dumping some cayenne pepper powder on it? That should make is less appealing…

  • Jennifer

    First off…HAHAHAHAHA! Sucks being a pet owner sometimes, but I guess the unconditional love and sad eyes blah blah blah make up for it, right?

    Second….change all the dog terms to cat in the first paragraph and you have my situation.

    Admiral Walter Seamus “Master of the Ocean” thinks it’s fun to pee on our bed when he is angry with us. He’s a moody little sonofabitch and when he doesn’t get his way, he’ll let you know…by peeing on your bed.

    To his utter annoyance, Rob and I went to a baseball game yesterday after work and didn’t come home till 1am, which was precisley the time I found the pee stain, ripped off all the sheets, threw them in the laundry (with copious amounts of Miracle Odor Eliminator) and then tried to go to sleep.

    This morning as I was waking up, here’s the Admiral, being as sweet as sweet can be, purring and meowing and massaging my back….so I gave him tons of kisses adoringly saying “whosmybigboy whosmamasbigboy…”

    Yeah, it’s a cycle that never ends…love em hate em…

  • Ahh, the joys of pet ownership.

  • i think she may be low on iron or perhaps just poo… dont really know.

  • andria

    now whenever my dogs do something bad, I’ll be able to say, “at least he doesn’t each shit!”
    thank you internet, for making me feel better about my dog eating my mother-in-laws 200 dollar eyewear!
    I <3 dooce!

  • I will never ever read your blog while eating lunch again. Gross and hilarious.

  • SeaSlug

    I vote for “she’ll outgrow it before long,” followed closely by “give her more exercise–at least two very active sessions per day.”

    I have a friend with this problem, so please let us (your dear Internet friends) know how this works out.

  • oohh… if you get a cat, dogs LOVE cat poop. out of the litter box. its like a rice krispy treat for them. i kinda do hate it when they help w/ the litterbox cleaning though. i am so helpful.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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