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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).


If the dog is taught to come to the owners and sit for a special food treat immediately following elimination, the new behavior may become a permanent habit. 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 remote spray collar may therefore be effective if the owner supervises the dog from a distance (or by watching through a window to the backyard) and immediately and consistently interrupts the dog every time it begins to mouth stools. Some dogs may be improved by adding enzyme supplements to improve nutrient digestion or absorption. Specifically, digestive enzymes in the form of meat tenderizers or food additives may help increase protein digestion, resulting in a less palatable stool. When adding some of these items to dry dog food, it may be necessary to moisten the food first and allow the product to sit on the food for 10 - 15 minutes to increase effectiveness. 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).


To use a taste aversive deterrent, while the dog is out of sight, open up the stool with a disposable plastic utensil, insert the taste deterrent into the center, then close the stool and replace it for the dog to find. 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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