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How to Stop My Dog From Eating Poop in the Yard

How to stop my dog from eating poop?

That’s one of the most common questions I receive from my email subscribers, so I decided to write this post so I have something to share.

Poop Eating is a frustrating habit, not to mention disgusting!

So I’m going to go over the three options that actually work to stop your dog from eating poop!

How to stop a dog from eating poop in the yard

First of all, make sure your dog does not have a health problem that’s causing him to seek “nutrients” from poop. At the end of this post, I mention a supplement that can potentially help, and it’s a good idea to bring up this issue with your dog’s vet.

If you suspect the issue is more of a training issue, here are three options to try:

1. Stop leaving your dog alone in the yard alone. Instead, take him out on a leash or go out with him. Pick up the poop immediately.

2. Use a long lead and teach a solid “Leave it!” rewarding with HIGHLY valued food rewards (hot dogs, hamburger) for ignoring the poop.

3. If nothing else is working, you might consider using an e-collar (shock collar) with a remote if you are comfortable with that idea. That way, you can correct your dog with a “tap, tap” while you watch him from a window. I’m not saying this option is for everyone, but I get so many desperate emails looking for a solution.

How to stop my dog from eating poop

One of the above three options should be able to help everyone.

I realize some people are not able or simply refuse to stop leaving their dogs in the yard unattended. That’s why I suggested training your dog with a long lead or an e-collar.

I also realize some people are uncomfortable with shock collars/e-collars, and that’s OK because the option with the long leash can work pretty well.

More details on the above three options:

1. If your dog eats poop in the yard, stop leaving him in the yard unsupervised.

Hey, guess what?

My dog doesn’t eat poop! He’s never had the opportunity because we don’t have a fenced yard. He’s either out on a leash with me or off leash but still with me. Otherwise, he’s indoors.

I realize this option doesn’t make sense to some. You have a nice, fenced yard for your dog and you’re having nice weather so you want to leave him in the yard when you’re not home. I get it. But if he’s eating poop, and you truly want or need to stop the behavior then you might need to temporarily change your routine.

2. Use a long lead to teach your dog to stop eating poop in the yard!

Another option is to put a long lead/leash on your dog and go out in the yard with him.

Long dog leash

If he tries to eat poop, prevent him from doing so by stepping or pulling on the leash and say “LEAVE IT.” Then, reward with highly (and I mean highly!!) valued food like real hamburger, hot dogs or bits of steak. See my post: How to Teach Leave It.

This option takes a lot of time, consistency and patience on the owner’s part. You might need to work for several weeks or months before you truly break your dog’s habit.

It won’t happen overnight and not even in a week. Go out DAILY with your dog and practice. In a month or so you might see a difference. Or you might not.

This is why I like to recommend the e-collar approach. It’s not for everyone, but it does work the best and the fastest.

3. Using an e-collar/shock collar to stop your dog from eating poop in the yard.

A lot of dog owners have already considered this option when they reach out to me for help, but it’s almost like they need reassurance that it’s the right choice. If your dog is eating poop and you’ve tried everything else, yes, I recommend the e-collar approach if you are comfortable with the idea.

Here’s the key: You need to find a collar with a remote so you can be standing inside at a window watching your dog and correct him from a distance.

I prefer a collar with multiple settings so you can control the correction level. I recommend the SportDOG brand, and you can most likely put it on the lowest setting. That way the “correction” is more of a “tap, hey, don’t do that.”

SportDog ecollar

Most dogs will only need a vibration-only correction or a very mild static correction. I always recommend testing it on your own wrist first so you know exactly what your dog will experience and you won’t feel guilty.

Shock collars are really not a big deal when used properly. People who are strongly against them seem to mean well, but they don’t understand how shock collars work. Or they’ve never been in a situation where one was needed.

A few tips when using the shock collar:

  • Use a strong enough correction to get your dog’s attention. This is better than 5 or 6 little “taps” your dog will learn to ignore.
  • If your dog doesn’t seem to notice the correction, try a higher level the next time.
  • If you’re out with your dog, offer food rewards when he leaves the poop alone. You can do this immediately after a correction.
  • Have your dog wear the e-collar randomly while it’s off so he doesn’t associate the corrections with the collar.

What to try in addition to the above?

How to Stop a Dog from eating Poop

Here are some additional tips to stop a dog from eating poop in the yard:

  • Keep poop picked up! Doh!
  • Feed regular meals at specific times (vs. leaving food out all the time). Your dog will be on a “schedule” & you’ll know when he has to go.
  • Take him to a vet to discuss diet change. He may need a higher-quality food or one with higher protein, higher fat, etc. Consider feeding a raw diet.
  • Bring in a stool sample to make sure he doesn’t have parasites.

Still more tips!

  • Try a supplement such as Solid Gold SEP (Stop Eating Poop) to prevent this habit. It’s not going to magically solve your problem but might help. Pictured below.
  • Cover the poop in something unpleasant-tasking to your dog such as wasabi or hot sauce or bitter apple spray. Make sure whatever you use is not going to harm your dog if eaten.
  • Use a Pet Corrector which is a product that sprays compressed air at the pet. An option to use in replace of an e-collar.
  • Double your dog’s exercise (less pent-up energy equals less boredom)
  • Work on obedience training every day. This increases the dog’s overall self-control & makes him more likely to listen to you.
  • Give your dog some sort of “job” or mental activity every day. He might be bored!

Solid Gold SEP to Stop a Dog From Eating Poop

STILL have questions?

Email me or leave a comment below and my readers will help you brainstorm.

Do you have a POOP EATER?

How do you manage this embarrassing issue?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Related posts:

How to stop my dog from humping other dogs

How to stop my dog from barking in the yard

How to increase a dog’s impulse control

Kelley

Monday 26th of March 2018

My dog eats poo any poo he can find. While you tips would work for at home.. they won’t work for my situation. He steals poop bags from peoples hands at the dog park. Just sneaks right past them on their way to the trash. He won’t leave it and just runs while opening the bag and eating it. He also does with with plastic water bottles! Any ideas? I have an ecollar but it’s not working. I feel like I’m not training him properly with it. He feels the beep and keeps on running.

Steph

Sunday 17th of December 2017

We're going through these struggles right now! Except Toby doesn't eat his own poo, he eats cat or fox poo. We never leave Toby unattended in the garden anyway (I think that's just an American thing - I don't know a single Brit or any other European who leaves their dog outside) but Toby is brilliant off lead with recall, and that's when the problem occurs. It's difficult to see when he's eating something because when we're out walking he'll have his nose constantly to the ground and so the second we see him pick something up it's just too late. We yell out DROP IT, which for any other situation is pretty solid, but not when it comes to poo.

So we've tried to not let him off lead but it feels so mean to us because he gets no where near as much exercise! I wish shock collars weren't such a taboo in England as I can definitely see the positive side of them but I'd be worried about someone seeing it and calling an animal cruelty organisation on me! It's so difficult to stop this :(

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 17th of December 2017

How much cat and fox poo is in your yard? I'd probably just not worry about it too much and make sure to de-worm him every few months. Maybe ask the vet if there are any major health concerns/disease risk.

Michelle

Sunday 6th of August 2017

My two year old boxer eats his 11 yo sisters poop. I put them out and watched them, he has his nose at her butt as it's coming out. I have tried to get him to leave it and stay out with them he just eats it faster. I have even run up on him and grabbed his collar yelling leave it in my mom dog voice and he stops looks at me comin at him and then still eats it faster.

I have even tried to pick it up after she goes and keep him exercised but he still does it. Tried pineapple juice, hot sauce, hot chili powder and he still just eats it up like they are toppings for it.

I will try the enzyme method I read someone else on here does. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. He had a collar but he just ignored it and ate it anyway.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 6th of August 2017

Oh gosh, how frustrating!

Birdie

Sunday 6th of August 2017

I purchased an inexpensive e-collar online for less than $40 for this problem, because nothing else helped, and I patiently tried everything - went to the vet, tried the supplements, picking it up after her, etc. I used a very low correction, more like a vibration. Worked like a charm, first try. I highly recommend this method if you've tried everything else.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 6th of August 2017

Oh glad it helped!

Sandy Weinstein

Tuesday 28th of June 2016

i had never this problem except with them trying to eat wildlife poop, like deer, bunnies, etc. but never any other dog poop. i always watched them, removed the temptation if possible. unfortunately, i live in the country with lots of deer, rabbits, coyotes, etc. not sure i would use a shock collar for something like this though. i think just watching them removing it from their area, and teaching them to leave it is best.