Coprophagia  (Eating stools)

by Dennis Fisher

This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs



This is a very unpleasant  habit that people often difficult to curb.  It  definitely is a habit, not a sign of any vitamin or mineral deficiency.  Often it a habit that occurs when a dog is confined to a kennel.  It may be due to boredom and lack of mental stimulation.


There is a great deal of controversy as to the reason why dogs do this. Some believe that it is because the dog is lacking in certain nutrients, but this has never been established scientifically.


It is more common in pups than older dogs, and it is very common with a bitch that has just whelped.  It is possible that the reason the bitch indulges in this form of behavior is  because of a need to keep the area where she has  whelped clean.


The solution is to keep the dog’s kennel area as clean as possible.   Another solution is to apply an unpleasant, strong smelling substance or liquid to the stool before the dog has had an opportunity to eat it, to curb the  habit. Certain substances similar to a meat tenderizer  have  been used successfully to break the habit.


By trial and error the  substance most offensive to the dog’s sense of smell and taste  can be established.   Verbal commands can also be effective, especially if you are able to catch the dog in the process of doing this.


If you are able to reprimand the dog firmly on a number of occasions  it is highly likely that you will be able to break the habit, but obviously there is no point in reprimanding the dog unless you catch it in the act.