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Our yellow lab, Chewbacca is all grown up now (14 months), and he's generally a very happy, obedient and sociable dog, but he's developed a bad habit for coprophagy (eating poo). He doesn't eat his own poo and in fact it's usually only the poo of one particular dog (that has very sickly looking, grey, sloppy poo) that he likes. We've tried to track down the owner of the poo, but unfortunately have been unsuccessful and to be honest there's dog faeces everywhere anyway as most people in Scotland are irresponsible and don't pick up their dog's poo (even though it's illegal!). Once he gets a sniff of the poo scent he'll totally ignore all our commands until he finds the poo. Once he knows where a pile of poo is he'll make a bee-line for it, sometimes 100m away from where we are, so he can gobble it up.

The only thing we've been able to do is reprimand him when he eats the poo and put him back on the lead for a while, or if we see he's got a scent of poo we can grab him quickly before he finds it. It doesn't stop the habit though and it's starting to become a real problem. I'm pretty certain he's not missing any nutrients in his diet as he's on Orijen kibble, which is full of vitamins and probiotics.

Does anyone have any ideas how we can train him out of this?
 

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This behavior is linked to something that's deficient in the dog's diet. Please try raw for one to two weeks. Kibble is very bad for your dog. :( How I wish I can persuade you to try a raw diet. Things like these never happen to raw-fed dogs. I know, because I own three dogs, raw-fed them for four years. They don't smell and they don't get sick.
 

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This behavior is linked to something that's deficient in the dog's diet. Please try raw for one to two weeks. Kibble is very bad for your dog. :( How I wish I can persuade you to try a raw diet. Things like these never happen to raw-fed dogs. I know, because I own three dogs, raw-fed them for four years. They don't smell and they don't get sick.
You can look up this feces-eating behavior. The deficiency explanation I've given you is true.
 

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This behavior is linked to something that's deficient in the dog's diet. Please try raw for one to two weeks. Kibble is very bad for your dog. :( How I wish I can persuade you to try a raw diet. Things like these never happen to raw-fed dogs. I know, because I own three dogs, raw-fed them for four years. They don't smell and they don't get sick.
You're using a non-random sample of three dogs to "prove" that dogs who eat raw never eat feces? Do you have any literature to back that claim?
 

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You're using a non-random sample of three dogs to "prove" that dogs who eat raw never eat feces? Do you have any literature to back that claim?
Why not we have 1 dog training experts, 1 dog care experts, 1 dog "listen to me I know everything experts" It's the internet. Can't prove it but I'm sure there are some training books written by a person who has never touched a live dog. I'm just sayin'...
 

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Things like these never happen to raw-fed dogs.
Yes they do.

Anyway, according to the OP, it's the poop of a completely different dog that her dog is attracted to.

I agree you're going to have to keep your dog on leash until he has a solid "leave it". You can always use a long line if you want him to be able to run a bit. Or scout ahead and pick up all the orphan poops. Or learn to live with it, I suppose.
 

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Thanks for all the replies. I don't agree that a raw diet would provide him with any more nutrition that Orijen. Have you seen the number of vegetables and minerals that go into that stuff? It would be a full time job trying to collect all those ingredients raw to make into dog food! The problem is how to train him out of the bad habit. He already has a very solid "leave it" response. I can put anything he wants to eat on the floor, say "leave it" and I can guarantee it'll be there until I tell him "ok". Like I said, once he gets a sniff of poo all commands go out of the window. He won't even come when I ask and he's usually great at that too. Putting him on any kind of leash wouldn't do much good. I could walk him on the leash for as long as I want but he still wouldn't learn not to eat poo. Besides, try being in the house with him when he hasn't had a good run around! Picking every else's poo up could be done...although I could probably fill a wheelbarrow there's so much!

So, any other suggestions? We need some way to change his state of mind, either to stop being attracted to poo or to get his attention when he's focussed on finding it so we can call him back.
 

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Oh, I forgot to mention, he likes bird poo and rabbit poo too. Seeing as the field near our house is full of rabbits, he usually stops every few metres to graze on rabbit droppings. "leave it" has no effect at all in these situations. We have to literally haul him off the droppings!
 

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Putting him on any kind of leash wouldn't do much good. I could walk him on the leash for as long as I want but he still wouldn't learn not to eat poo.
The leash isn't to help him learn, it's to prevent him from self-rewarding while you work on training. It will be far more difficult to train him to "leave" the poop alone than it has been to "leave" other things since he values it highly and has enforced himself for doing it, but you're certainly not going to be able to train it if he's able to eat the poop whenever he likes.
 

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I believe there's a term Coke-head, OP has a Poop-head.

The leash isn't to help him learn, it's to prevent him from self-rewarding while you work on training.
Yup, some things are trained, others cured with an environmental change.
 

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Experiment, and find a reinforcer that the dog wants MORE than the poop. This will provide you with a tool (or two, or three) to work with.

Also, for the time being at least and until further training is accomplished, I'd stop excercising the dog in that particular poop-ridden field althogether. Perhaps even permanently. Yuk.
 

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Are you sure it is dog poo? It could be from another type of animal that your dog finds extremely yummy. You could try a basket muzzle. I would only do this if you do not have to worry about your dog defending itself from other dogs . The basket muzzle would prevent him from snatching up the poo. You could also try a remote collar that vibrates or beeps on command.

Even if your dog is fed on a raw diet he might just find that poo way too yummy. Most dogs not matter what they are fed find the task of cleaning the cat litter box a joy and not a chore.
 

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What you've described is very common with Labs (and other hunting dogs). With other dog's poop, I think it is related to undigested protein. With other animals, I think it may be related to a prey-scent issue. I don't know of a positive method to stop it... "Leave it" is close, as long as the dog is always in sight. If you can't do avoidance, what Wvasko said - aversives may be the best approach.
 

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My mom tells my dad when he complains about the dogs eating cat poop--"so don't look" :p.
 

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My mom tells my dad when he complains about the dogs eating cat poop--"so don't look" :p.
Only problem with that is most people or let's say some people do not worm their cats. (don't want to get beat up by cat fanciers)
 

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Most (normal) labs will devour anything from dirt to animal faeces with not much thinking. This is how I deal with it. I control his walk or environment 100% of the time for at least first 8 months. I let him pick up stuff in his mouth, let him explore, but always be step ahead and detect poo before he does - from times time time he'll be faster which is a big step back but not end of the world. Meanwhile, this probably sounds disgusting to you but I intentionally place horse, goat and swine droppings on some places and teach him that these things are no good. Only important bit is that I have a controlled scenario. I do more so foul training with rotting carcases. If your lab is allowed to practice eating/rolling in animal crap and carcases you can have serious skin/parasite problems. They usually grow out of it after some time, but if you live in rural area I'd suggest you don't let nature handle it because nature won't be so forgiving.
 
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