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When left unsupervised, puppies may simply begin to investigate, play with, and even eat stools as a play, investigative or scavenging behavior. Since coprophagia may attract a great deal of owner attention, the behavior may be further reinforced. In adult dogs the innate behavior of grooming and cleaning newborn puppies and eating their excrement, along with the well documented fact that dogs tend to be attracted to infections or discharges of their pack-mates, which they will sniff and lick, may explain some of the motivation for coprophagia.
Early intervention can help reduce the possibility that the behavior will become a long-term habit. The owner that uses the outmoded, inhumane and useless training technique of "sticking the dog's nose" in its stool when it has soiled the home, may be further encouraging coprophagia.


At the first indication of any stool sniffing or investigation the dog should be interrupted with a firm command, remote punishment device or a quick pull on the leash (this is particularly effective for dogs wearing head halters).
Remote punishment and disruption devices may also be useful in that they can interrupt the dog as it approaches the stool without any direct association with the owner. A change in diet to one that is more digestible, or one with different protein sources may be useful.
Some dogs may be improved by adding enzyme supplements to improve nutrient digestion or absorption. Unpleasant tastes are unlikely to be successful unless the product is suitably noxious as well as odorless (so that the pet cannot detect its presence in the stool).


Most dogs however, either develop a tolerance to the taste, or learn to avoid those stools that are pretreated. Experimentally, the only form of taste aversion that is consistently effective is something that becomes associated with nauseousness. Since most dogs seem to prefer a well-formed stool, adding sufficient quantities of stool softeners or bulk laxatives will usually deter most dogs.



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