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And yes, I mean my puppy - not me. Stevie is a 5-month old mix of JRT/chihuahua/dachsund/pit bull/ who knows what else. I got her from a neighborhood "oopsie" litter in October when she was 8 weeks old.

I know I have almost nothing to complain about: she has had 2 vet exams/all vax/stool analysis with a glowing bill of health. Has always slept through the night. Quick to learn potty pads and some commands. Well socialized and plays confidently at dog park, not shy or aggressive around most new people/dogs on the street, etc. And she's kinda cute.

But I have 2 big problems - probably one causing the other. #1 is she eats her poop (maybe that should be #2? - sorry, couldn't resist). Once I discovered this - to my horror - I fast-tracked the potty training and since I now work from home we were able to get on a schedule and do all pottying outside (with a few accidents). No easy task, since I live in a 2nd-floor apt.

In anticipation of when I have to leave her for longer, we've started "crate" training - the crate being my small bathroom. For weeks I had no evidence that she went potty in that room. But last night it was obvious she not only pooped there, she ate it, and was violently ill several times after. I can't even type this without gagging. It has been a nightmare.

I've had 2 other dogs in my life and raised a child so I'm no shrinking violet when it comes to this stuff. But I just can't handle it - guess it's the thought of it.

Can anyone help me with their experience of this? I've read extensively. I know she might or might not outgrow this. If she doesn't, I feel I can never leave her free in the house when I'm not there. I wasn't going to put her in a tiny crate (and I'll have to get one so small that she can't poop in it) for hours at a time but now I might have to.

And all of this leads to problem #2 (sorry again):I'm not bonding with her like I think I should. I appreciate that she's a great pup who's got so much potential. I take care of her patiently and kindly. I just can't say I love her and I can't think about the poop eating without getting nauseous. I feel it's keeping me from bonding.

I've had her long enough now where it feels devastating (maybe more for me than her) to consider rehoming. But I am. I am a mess over this.

Any help?
 

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get a muzzle with a stool guard - Stool Guard

and start training a leave it command. google and youtube has good sources for training leave it.

also pretty sure Victoria stillwell did a video on two pugs eating their poo.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
get a muzzle with a stool guard - Stool Guard

and start training a leave it command. google and youtube has good sources for training leave it.

also pretty sure Victoria stillwell did a video on two pugs eating their poo.
Thank you Deacons.dog. We are training the "leave it" command sand she's pretty good at it. The only poop she's eaten recently is what I described - it doesn't happen on my watch. I guess the muzzle could be a last resort so thanks for the link...
 

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Do not use a muzzle when you aren't in direct supervision of her. They are not designed for unsupervised use.

Continue to work on 100% outdoor potty training & use the crate when you aren't able to supervise.

And, at the end of the day, realize that dogs will be dogs. Most puppies outgrow the need to put any & everything into their mouths (including poop!) but... yeah, some don't. I have three very adult dogs & I still occasionally catch my just turned 10 year old picking up a random turd I missed... 🤢 Sigh... Dogs...
 

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It's pretty common in puppies. And adults.... :/

There are several commercial deterrents you can try. They come in either table, chewable, or powder form, and you just toss them in with their meals. They may or may not work. Some people have good success with them, some don't.

And three months into what can be a fifteen year relationship is just the beginning. It took me a long time to have a really good relationship with my GSD. She's going to be nine this month, and there are still days when I wonder why I even bother.... and then she will have a flash of absolute brilliance, and I fall in love with her all over again.
 

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guess i read wrong, thought the dog was sneaking off and pooping, then eating it. No muzzle then.
 

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Ah, OK. Thanks to all for clarifying about the muzzle. Even though I've had 2 dogs before and lots of my friends have them, I had no idea they'd eat their own poop. Yes I know they can be icky and eat the "kitty roca" out of the litter box, but this is next level. I really don't even know how to get my brain around it...maybe I'm just traumatized after a day of cleaning the poop-studded puke. gack

I appreciate the condor about not always being head over heels in love your dog, too. I'm sure I had those "meh" moments with my previous dog, but of course in the hindsight of 2 years mourning her, I only remember her as perfect. I know Stevie has a big collar to fill...
 

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It's pretty common in puppies. And adults.... :/

There are several commercial deterrents you can try. They come in either table, chewable, or powder form, and you just toss them in with their meals. They may or may not work. Some people have good success with them, some don't.

And three months into what can be a fifteen year relationship is just the beginning. It took me a long time to have a really good relationship with my GSD. She's going to be nine this month, and there are still days when I wonder why I even bother.... and then she will have a flash of absolute brilliance, and I fall in love with her all over again.
Thanks Leo. I've tried 2 of the food supplements- a powdery one sprinkled on food and a chewable tablet. But the 2nd coincided with the scheduled outdoor pottying so I've never caught her in the act. Hard to know if it's the tablet. They're harmless so I'll keep her on it - I also mince up parsley and mix in her food as recommended by her vet and some websites. Couldn't hurt.
 

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Dogs are gross in a lot of ways, but it is also possible she's actually trying to be clean and "clean up after herself." (Maybe this will help you feel better about her? lol) Does she try and eat poop outside too? or is it just when she has an accident indoors? One of our dogs will eat his poop (frantically) if he has an accident in the house, but he has never had any interest in doing it outside. Dogs learn from their mom and have an instinct to keep their space clean...which usually means "don't poop or pee in this space." But, if they can't hold it for some reason, then they'll try and clean up after. It is disgusting, but its something a lot of dogs (especially puppies) do.

What are you feeding her? I know you said you've tried supplements, but if her food isn't agreeing with her, or she's not digesting it well, that can also cause stool eating.
 

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Dogs are gross in a lot of ways, but it is also possible she's actually trying to be clean and "clean up after herself." (Maybe this will help you feel better about her? lol) Does she try and eat poop outside too? or is it just when she has an accident indoors? One of our dogs will eat his poop (frantically) if he has an accident in the house, but he has never had any interest in doing it outside. Dogs learn from their mom and have an instinct to keep their space clean...which usually means "don't poop or pee in this space." But, if they can't hold it for some reason, then they'll try and clean up after. It is disgusting, but its something a lot of dogs (especially puppies) do.

What are you feeding her? I know you said you've tried supplements, but if her food isn't agreeing with her, or she's not digesting it well, that can also cause stool eating.
Good points. Sadly, she wants to eat poop outside too - hers and everyone else's (bird droppings, etc.). Her food seems fine - high quality puppy kibble recommended by vet and freeze-dried (Honest Kitchen) softer stuff, but all results in firm and regular poop. I think the issue this latest time was a stomach bug maybe - she coudn't hold it and then, as you say, tried to clean up after, which made her throw up.

Another issue with this pup is that her mom was removed from the litter at 2 weeks (squabble between the owners of the mom and pop dogs - sigh) so the pups were bottle fed and weaned by humans. They had each other though so at least she is a good puppy-player and well socialized. I'm sure it wasn't ideal for her potty-learning to be raised without a momma dog. I also read this is more common in terriers (she's a mix) and in females. So maybe I'm just stuck with it.
 

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My greyhound used to do this when we first got her. I got a bottle of cheap hot sauce, went out to the yard, and shook it on every pile that happened to be out there. It didn't take long to cure her of it.....lol.
 
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