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Discussion Starter #1
So we just got a new puppy. She is our third and has been fairly easy to train. She caught on to potty training and manners quickly... But she eats poop. My dogs have never done this before, and I don't know what to do. I know that dogs eat poo for a number of reasons. Poor diet, bad breeder, mother dog did it.. My dogs are fed a high quality food, the vet said there is nothing better that I could feed them, so that's out. The breeder had been doing this for 20 years and I observed all of the pups before making my choice, and have no doubt she is an excellent breeder... So she learned it from her mother... But how do I break this habit? She is about 5 months old now, so I have 5 months of habit to break. I have been watching her closely, and I have been cleaning up relentlessly (we use puppy pads because we both work) nothing I do seems to deter her nasty habit... Any advice? I'm going crazy here!
 

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Do you feed her at exactly the same times each day so that she eliminates at the same time each day? My puppy turns 5 months old this week and he eats at the exact same time in the morning and evening so he stays pretty regular . At 5 months she should be able to hold it during the day and eliminate as soon as you return home from work. Then you can pick it up immediately. Puppy pads unfortunately teach them that it is okay to go indoors and then she see's her piles and goes ahead and eats them. I would start removing the puppy pads and try teaching her that it is not okay to eliminate in the house at all. If she is not in the same room with her droppings, she will not be able to eat them. Even my smallest Lhasa's have been able to hold it all day long while I worked and it would make it a lot easier for you to just pick it up immediately when she goes outside when you get home. That is where making sure she is very regular with the feeding would come in handy. You would know exactly when she should have to go. There are some additives you can buy and put in their food that is suppose to make them not eat their poo anymore but I have not personally tried any of them. They are available at pet stores.
 

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I know that dogs eat poo for a number of reasons. Poor diet, bad breeder, mother dog did it.
These are all myths. Dogs eat poop because they smell nutrients in it. You MIGHT say poor diet because all kibble contains a lot of plant matter and the stools usually contain that plant matter. When I switched my dogs to a raw diet, they stopped eating their own but will still eat kibble fed dogs poop. They will also eat deer poop, rabbit poop and other unknown kinds found around our property.

I have been watching her closely, and I have been cleaning up relentlessly (we use puppy pads because we both work) nothing I do seems to deter her nasty habit... Any advice? I'm going crazy here!
Chowder is absolutely correct about the puppy pads. Time to get rid of those.
 

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All of your possibilities are myths. No she didn't learn it from the mother. My dog did it as well, it simply took watching him everytime he went outside, giving him a no command and leave it and after 4-6 weeks he stopped doing it. Yes that meant I had to watch him every single time he was outside which was a pain in the tush but it eliminated the problem. Persistence on watching and letting them know it isn't okay with you and it should resolve.

Also I'd ditch the puppy pads, no reason a 5 month old can't hold it while you're at work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The only thing is I have three yorkies, and my husband works 12 to 16 hour days and I work 10 to 12 hour days... plus a commute. I talked to my vet and he said leaving pads out while we were away was a good idea, just to avoid ruining the flooring (we rent because my husband is in the army and we move a lot). He said it wouldn't confuse them if I took them out while I was home. I put them in front of the back door while we are at work, like he told me too, so they would know that outside was the potty place. Anyway, she only eats poo if it was an accident. Never off the pad. Is she trying to hide her accident and will it stop after she learns better control? I think at this point, removing the pads would only exasserbate her problem. Looks like I will be talking to my vet again on the issue. Thanks.
 

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Have you tried crate training? I would speak with a behaviorist over your vet for something like that to be honest. And yes it could be an issue that she doesn't want to get in trouble. In the wild dogs eat the feces of their young to keep predators away, do you punish when they have accidents? Scream, yell, etc? If so that could be a contributor. Have you thought about a doggie door? One that you wouldn't have to cut through any walls since you rent?

There is stuff you can buy to sprinkle on their food that is supposed to make the feces unappealing taste wise. I've never used it so cannot tell you if it works or not and you would have to give it to all of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We have tried crate training, and I'm afraid they would hurt themselves if we left them in the crate all day. They go crazy and jump and screech and bark and cry, and I don't think they are that bad out during the day... minus this poo issue. We don't scream and yell at our dogs. We firmly tell them no. Screaming and yelling and swatting them isn't the right way to train a dog. Our back door isn't a sliding glass door, so those doggie doors won't work. We are going to try that spray that goes in the water to make the feces less appealing. Hopefully after awhile she will just stop.
 

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Just make sure you aren't telling them no after the fact. You can only punish a dog for pottying in the house when you physically catch them in the act otherwise they simply don't understand.

However I still agree with the others that training them to not potty in the house at all would be the ideal solution. My dog had no problem not going for 10-12 hours at 6 months old, so that may be something you guys can work towards over the next 2-3 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We are supposed to moving on post, which would put us in a house. We are going to start working on going outside only. We have been meaning to, but with our schedules it was just easier with the pads. I know we really need to get on it. Hopefully by Xmas they will be housebroken! Thanks for the advice.
 

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We have tried crate training, and I'm afraid they would hurt themselves if we left them in the crate all day. They go crazy and jump and screech and bark and cry, and I don't think they are that bad out during the day... minus this poo issue. We don't scream and yell at our dogs. We firmly tell them no. Screaming and yelling and swatting them isn't the right way to train a dog. Our back door isn't a sliding glass door, so those doggie doors won't work. We are going to try that spray that goes in the water to make the feces less appealing. Hopefully after awhile she will just stop.
Why don't they like their crates?
 

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I know that dogs who arent used to crates often freak out the first few times of being in their because they're so used to having all that room to roam and now they're locked up and it's something new and different, etc. However it is my experience that they all get over it and grow to love their crates within the first week of being there. Especially if when they go in the crate there's a fun toy or bone to keep them occupied.

My roommate claimed her dog hated his crate and would scream bloody murder if left in it, yet he was eating her room when she locked him up in there, so I took out an old crate of mine and every time I put him in I threw in a bone and said "kennel up" as he went in. He's never screamed or freaked out once, and now happily goes in there whenever I tell him "kennel up" and I toss a bone in after him.

Moral of the story: there's always an adjustment period. But I completely understand that long hours makes it very difficult to crate train, especially young puppies who need to eliminate more often, so hopefully when you or your husband have less hours/access to a yard for the dogs, you can work on really housebreaking them.

Also, I agree with BoxerMommie about speaking with a behaviorist as opposed to a vet on this one, they're the ones with the real expertise in this area. It's sort of like talking to your general physician about psychology. Sure they might know some basics, but you'd want to see a psychologist for anything beyond that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm really not sure why they didn't like it. But that go crazy in there. I have tried individual crates, and they freak out. I recently spent $180 on a tall cage that was big enough for all three of them, they don't like that either. They flip over the water and food and tear up everything in reach. So I leave them out now. At first, we had trouble with them tearing at the carpet, and the walls. I bought this spray that has a bitter taste and sprayed it on all the spots they liked to chew. Took about a week, but they don't do that anymore! Yay! So with them doing well without being crated/caged I don't see any reason to put them in one. It just stresses them out.
 

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Add pinapple chunks to the kibble it tastes horrable coming out but wonderful going in. Like others have said I would crate train.

Elaine
 

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I'm really not sure why they didn't like it. But that go crazy in there. I have tried individual crates, and they freak out. I recently spent $180 on a tall cage that was big enough for all three of them, they don't like that either. They flip over the water and food and tear up everything in reach. So I leave them out now. At first, we had trouble with them tearing at the carpet, and the walls. I bought this spray that has a bitter taste and sprayed it on all the spots they liked to chew. Took about a week, but they don't do that anymore! Yay! So with them doing well without being crated/caged I don't see any reason to put them in one. It just stresses them out.
I think the OP on the crating is that it stresses them out initially however once they get used to it it actually helps to lower their stress. Also if you have trouble with them tipping over water you can get a rabbit waterer and put that on the outisde of the cage with the metal spicket inside in which case they can't knock it over and I wouldn't leave food in there all day that will only contribute to wanting to defecate whenever they want.
 

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Not too many dogs are happy the minute they get crated. But give them time and they'll learn to love it. My dogs see it as their safe place...whenever they want their own time, they walk into their crate.

BUT...dont get me wrong, the first 2 weeks my sibe pup was howling, banging on the crate, barking, whining and grabbing anything in site and pulling it into the crate. I just had to keep everything away, rabbit water bottle, and apologize to all my neighbors haha. It just takes time...giving them their way is probably not a good idea. But I understand why you would...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You all have really good points, but they aren't doing anything wrong when left out of a crate. I find that if we leave out their favorite toys and a bone for each one, they do just fine.
I have been off from work for the last few days, and have been working with Chloe on the feces eating habit. Since I started this thread, she has not eaten any. I didn't use that stuff you put in their food, I just watched her and told her no when she did try to eat some. We have also been working on going outside. Since I have been home, we haven't had any accidents. But again, I have been here to monitor them. When I go back to work I'm sure there will be a few problems, but each day I wait a little longer before I take them out. So I think the issue is resolved. Again, thanks for all the advice.
 

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You all have really good points, but they aren't doing anything wrong when left out of a crate. I find that if we leave out their favorite toys and a bone for each one, they do just fine.
I have been off from work for the last few days, and have been working with Chloe on the feces eating habit. Since I started this thread, she has not eaten any. I didn't use that stuff you put in their food, I just watched her and told her no when she did try to eat some. We have also been working on going outside. Since I have been home, we haven't had any accidents. But again, I have been here to monitor them. When I go back to work I'm sure there will be a few problems, but each day I wait a little longer before I take them out. So I think the issue is resolved. Again, thanks for all the advice.

Just be ready for it to come back again when you go back to work. It typically takes longer than just a few days to stop a habit like that. First they learn just not to do it when you're around, it takes time for them to not do it at all. Like the old saying "when the cat's away the mice will play" typically applies to stuff like that especially. And especially at such a young age.
 

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Also have you thought about having someone come by once or twice while you guys are gone to let them out to go to the bathroom to help eliminate the pads? I typically only charge between $5 and $10 (depending on how far I have to drive) to spend 5-10 minutes to let someone's pet out while they're at work. Or if you have a teenager or elderly neighbor or stay at home mom on your street they may be willing to do it for free. Just an idea.
 

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I hadn't thought about that. I have removed the pads completely already. And we don't really know anyone here besides the people we work with. And being such a big city, I don't feel comfortable giving a stranger a key to our home. Back home, this would have been ideal, and it's a great idea. I just don't want something to happen. I hear stories all the time of people who's pets have been stolen. Especially the little dogs, probably because they are easier to control (physically) than big dogs. But thanks.
 
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