Canine Behavior/my dog eating feces or licking other dog gentials
Our younger dog-yorkie constantly is either licking our older dog-terrier mix gentials while he eating or he is pooping. Yorkie never did it as much but before but does it a lot now. I try to yell at him but he keeps doing it. It grosses me out.
The older dog poops the yorkie is eating it coming out OR the yorkie is licking the older dogs gentials while he is trying to eat. I give them the stool pills from pet store but seems to be getting worse. I just hate it because its embarrassing at the park too. The older dog sometimes growls but the Yorkie keeps doing it. How do I stop it?? Also the vet doesn't seem its a big deal. My husband wants to get a "shock collar"... Please Help!!
The act of dogs eating poop is not abnormal, nor as uncommon as we think. That said, it's not only gross from our perspective, it's a health hazard because feces contains large amounts of bacteria and can pass all sorts of diseases and parasites. If your vet truly believes "it's no big deal," then I encourage you to find a new vet as soon as possible.
None of the store bought preventatives work. They are, as you're finding, a giant waste of money.
The single best method of stopping the dog eating poop is PREVENTION
. This means supervising the dogs. It means keeping the Yorkie out of the space while the other dog is going, or keeping the Yorkie on a leash well away from the other dog while that dog is pooping, and then cleaning up the poop immediately afterward so that the Yorkie has no opportunity to ingest it. It means that even if the Yorkie isn't leashed, and you're able to keep the Yorkie out of the way of the other dog, the poop still needs to be picked up immediately and not left out for any length of time. I keep small trash can with a lid (with a liner) outside next to the pooper scooper. It's steps from the potty area and so very convenient. This way I have no good excuse to not pick up when I see a poop. Because the can has a liner and a lid, I can just collect it for a week or two - until the bag is full enough and then put it in the garbage on trash night.
You can also work to redirect the behavior by actively training with the dog - while the other dog is pooping, you ask the Yorkie for Sit and Focus and tricks (if he knows any). Then, after the poop is done, you praise and TREAT the Yorkie. Clean up the poop and then praise/treat the Yorkie again for NOT engaging with the poop. If he goes near the poop, use a Leave It command (must teach this in a no-distraction setting with something less exciting than the poop and build up to the poop itself), and then redirect him to another activity for which he gets immediate praise and TREATS and then clean up the poop. Using a Leave It command will only get the dog to disengage for that moment. If you leave the poop out and walk away, the dog will return to it when you're not looking.
Some things that can help make the poop less palatable are adding pumpkin puree to the dog's food. You can get this in a can at the store. Just make sure the only ingredient is Pumpkin. Don't get the one that says "pumpkin pie filling." Start with just a teaspoon or so of pumpkin in each meal, and then over a week or so, build up to a table spoon or two. It's quite tasty and the dog should be happy to eat it. But because it's high in fiber, it changes the quality of the poop which seems to make it less palatable, and thus hopefully making your Yorkie less interested in it. (I should be clear, the pumpkin goes in the terrier's food to make his poop less interesting to the Yorkie). You want to build up the amount over a week or so because too much fiber in the diet can cause gas, cramps and loose stool We don't want to upset the terrier's digestive system in this process.
Another option is pineapple chunks. Again, it's sweet going in, but the acid and fiber of the fruit/juice makes the poop less palatable for the dog. Check with a vet about the amount of pineapple that would be safe to feed your dog as the acid content can cause some tummy upset, so we want to be sure your dog (the terrier) is healthy and that we don't cause any distress.
A third option is using an MSG-FREE meat tenderizer such as McCormick's. You are looking for an ingredient called bromalene (I think that's how it's spelled). Even when it's MSG free, it's still very high in salt, so you need to be careful in how much you feed. Start with a very small sprinkle on the terrier's meals, and build up over a week or two to a light dusting. The tenderizing process of the product seems to make the poop less palatable.
Also, I have found that sometimes just changing the diet is sufficient. Not all dog foods are made equally and some are much higher in nutrition value and some are much more digestible than others. The reason dogs go after poop is because not all the protein/nutrients have been digested and so the poop still contains some nutritional value. The more well digested the food, the less interesting the poop will be.
I don't know what your currently feeding, but you want to use a food that is corn free and wheat free. You want to use a product that has a high nutritional value (not too high in protein as excess protein that the body doesn't use will just be eliminated in the poop...). I have had very good luck with a brand called Merrick. When I switched my boys to this brand (lamb and brown rice), they both stopped eating poop. Now, it's important to remember that protein source (e.g. lamb, chicken, fish, etc) may be unique to each dog. My dogs stopped eating the poop when they were switched from fish protein to lamb protein. But for another dog, they may be drawn to the lamb protein poop, and not the fish... so there may be some trial and error in this.
I can tell you that a shock collar is never an acceptable answer for any dog for any reason. We would never use one on a child who is misbehaving and we should never use one on a dog. Period. And using a shock collar in this case - especially when the terrier is growling at the Yorkie because the Yorkie is too close... getting a shock in that moment is bound to lead to a fight as the Yorkie may believe that the terrier just attacked him and thus reply in kind.
One last thing, it would be wise to have the terrier get a complete exam, including a complete fecal smear looking for disease and parasites as well as blood work (including a full thyroid panel) to make sure that he has no ailments, conditions or diseases that might be affecting the quality of his poop, as sometimes extreme interest by another dog suggests illness in the object of that interest (the dog whose poop is getting eaten). We should cover all bases to make sure we're not just missing something.
Good luck. Please feel free to followup if I can be of further assistance.
Los Angeles Behaviorist