Why Dogs Eat Poop? Here’s How To Stop It

 Why Dogs Eat Poop? Here’s How To Stop It

Dogs eating poop, also known as coprophagia, is a common but unpleasant behavior that many pet owners struggle with. While it may seem disgusting to us, it is a normal behavior for dogs and can stem from a variety of reasons. In this blog, we will discuss why dogs eat poop and what can be done to stop it.

Why do dogs eat poop?

  • Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of certain nutrients in a dog’s diet can lead to coprophagia. Dogs may eat feces to supplement their diet and get the nutrients they are missing. If you suspect your dog is eating poop due to a nutritional deficiency, consult with your veterinarian to determine if a change in diet is necessary.

  • Instinct: Eating feces is a natural behavior for dogs. In the wild, dogs would eat the feces of their pack to keep their den clean and eliminate any parasites or diseases. Some rescue dogs from puppy mills learnt this behavior because they lived in a kennel 24/7. 

  • Boredom or anxiety: Dogs that are bored or anxious may turn to eating feces as a form of entertainment or comfort. Providing your dog with mental self control and structured exercise can help prevent boredom and anxiety-related coprophagia.

  • Attention-seeking behavior: In some cases dogs may eat poop to get their owner’s attention. This can be a learned behavior, and it may be more likely to occur in dogs that figure out ways to get attention from their owners through doing unwanted behaviors. 

  • Medical conditions: In some cases, coprophagia may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as an intestinal parasite or a gastrointestinal disorder. If your dog has been eating feces and shows other signs of illness, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a thorough examination.

How to stop dogs from eating poop

  • Management and scheduling: Teach your dog to do poop on leash at certain time windows. As soon as he/she is done say ‘let’s go’ walk away and reward. If you keep it up long in enough (sometimes a year) it tends to disappear. Dogs do what they practice and they stop doing what they don’t practice. Create a new habit right after poop time and imprint that new behavior in your dog.

  • Proper hygiene: Keeping your yard and home clean and free of feces will reduce your dog’s exposure to it and decrease the likelihood of them eating it.

  • Enhance their diet: Adding digestive enzymes or probiotics to your dog’s diet can help improve their digestion and reduce their interest in eating feces. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best options for your dog.

  • Provide plenty of structured activities and exercise: Make sure that your dog is getting enough structured activities, walks and exercise to keep them happy and in a sound state of mind.   

In conclusion, coprophagia is a common behavior in dogs that can stem from a variety of reasons. With proper training, management, and attention, it is possible to discourage your dog from eating feces and prevent this unpleasant behavior from happening in the future. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, it is always best to consult with a trainer/behaviorist to implement a sound strategy and with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions. 

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved December 2022 

How to Stop My Dog Marking Inside My House

How to Stop My Dog Marking Inside My House

One of the challenges that dog parents or guardians face is dealing with a dog who marks inside the house. This behavior can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even damaging to your furniture, carpets, and walls. Fortunately, there are ways to stop this behavior and keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

Why do dogs mark inside the house?

Dogs mark inside the house for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include territorial marking, anxiety, and marking to claim an object as their own. Marking is a way for dogs to communicate with each other and to leave their scent in a specific area. This behavior is especially common in male dogs, but female dogs can also mark.

How to stop your dog from marking inside the house

  • 1. Spay or neuter your dog: One of the most effective ways to stop marking is to spay or neuter your dog. This can reduce the urge to mark and help curb this behavior.

 

  • 2. Supervise your dog: If you catch your dog marking, interrupt them by making a a sound to stop it immediately. Using an indoor leash to keep your dog close to you for a couple weeks might be necessary in combination with some kind of confinement such as a crate or a room.

 

  • 3. When you walk your dog outside on a leash keep the walk going and don’t let your dog mark. Once they pee for the first time, the rest is marking and it’s not necessary. If they need to pee again at the end of the walk that’s fine. Marking can become a habit for some dogs. Don’t let them practice it as much as you possibly can. 

 

  • 4. Clean up the marks thoroughly: Clean up any marks with an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for pet urine. This will remove any scent that may trigger your dog to mark again.

 

  • 5. Use deterrents: You can use deterrent sprays or motion-activated devices to discourage your dog from marking in certain areas.

 

  • 6. Reduce stress: Try to identify what might be causing your dog stress and eliminate it. This can include changes in their routine, introduction of new pets or people, or a lack of mental and physical structured acitivities.

 

  • 7. Provide plenty of structured activities and exercise: Make sure that your dog is getting enough structured activities, walks and exercise to keep them happy and in a sound state of mind.   

 

  • 8. Consult with a veterinarian: If your dog is marking due to an underlying medical issue, a visit to the vet is necessary.

 

Marking inside the house is a common issue for dog owners. However, with a little patience and the right training, you can help your dog overcome this behavior and keep your home smelling fresh and clean. By understanding why dogs mark, and using the methods outlined above, you can work with your furry friend to stop this behavior and maintain a happy, healthy home.

 

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2023

How To Get Respect From Your Dog

How To Get Respect From Your Dog

Respect is commonly miss-understood with showing who is boss. It has nothing to do with this. Fear is not respect. You don´t ask, demand or gain respect. Respect is not something you necessarily achieve. Respect is something that you give and you get back in return. You can not force or convince someone to respect you. You have no direct control over this. It has to come from them. If you are respectful to people, people will be respectful to you. The same is with dogs. Understand that when dogs get out of control they are not mis respecting you. They are simply out of control and our job is to help them.

The better question is, how do I give respect to my dog?

The answer is simple: acknowledge and treat your dog as a dog.

Let me explain. If I treat you as a dog, you´ll agree with me that I´m miss-respecting you. Well, if you treat your dog as a human you’re mis-respecting your dog. Your dog is not a human, your dog is a dog. Dog’s are beautiful creatures and they deserve to be respected for who they are.  

I could write an entire book about how to acknowledge dogs as dogs, but to keep things simple here are 6 skills for you to be aware of how to give respect and get respect back from your dog:

1- Instead of talking to your dog, listen to your dog.  95% of dog´s communication is through body language and energy. Meaning in silence. Yet 90% of my clients do not know how to communicate with their dogs in silence. Dog´s don’t understand English or Spanish or Chinese. They understand body language. Be curious and learn It!!

2- Understand your relationship with your dog. Who is the parent? Who is the guardian? If your dog doesn’t feel your are making the calls don’t expect him or her to listen to you. Humans and and animals don’t listen to people who stay in the sidelines. They listen to people who take responsabilties and to people that make decisions. Respect the relationship and accept your responsabilities. Being a parent or a guardian comes with teaching boundaries and educating your dog. It’s work! It can be a lot of fun, but you have to know where your place is. Being a parent or a guardian is a privilege and your choice, not your right or entitlement. 

3- Be aware of your state of mind and work on self control. If you are not in control of yourself don’t expect your dog to listen to you in a willing or cooperative way. What I mean by this is to be in control of your body language and your state of mind. This is a skill that you might need to relearn.

4-  Be aware of your your dog´s sate of mind. Meet your dog where she/he is at and work from there. You have to be sensitive and react accordingly to your dogs state of mind instead of trying to impose your dog training program. Dogs are not computers or machines that simply obey to commands. 

5- Clarity. Teach your dog with clarity. Be clear with what your dog can do and with what your dog can’t do. Always do so for your dog’s best interest. 

6- Be present. Dog´s can’t live in the past or in the future. They can only live in the present. So don’t allow your mind to take over and navigate around time. Be present!!

All these skills and tips are ways to give respect to your dog and a sure way to get respect back in return. 

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2023

Is My Dog Mad At Me?

Is My Dog Mad At Me?

As pet parents, we often anthropomorphize our furry friends and assume they experience emotions similar to our own. One of the common emotions we attribute to dogs is anger. Have you ever wondered if your dog is mad at you? Well, the answer is not that simple.

Dogs do not experience emotions in the same way that humans do. While they can certainly show signs of discomfort, fear, or happiness, anger is not an emotion that dogs experience in the same sense that humans do. However, dogs do have their own ways of communicating discomfort, annoyance, or frustration.

So, how can you tell if your dog is upset? 

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Body language: A dog’s body language can tell you a lot about their emotional state. If your dog is upset, they may avoid eye contact, have a stiff body posture, or growl.

  • Barking: Barking can be a sign of annoyance, frustration, or anger in dogs. If your dog is barking excessively, it could be a sign that they are upset.

  • Refusing commands: If your dog has been trained to follow commands and suddenly stops following them, it could be a sign that they are upset, frustrated or overstimulated.

  • Avoidance: If your dog starts avoiding you, it could be a sign that they are upset. They may stop coming to you for attention or treats or may hide from you.

It’s important to remember that dogs do not hold grudges or have long-term memories of negative experiences in the same way that humans do. Never take it personally! 

There can be certain triggers that can activate an emotional response that sets them up into a “red zone”. Sometimes this trigger could be a human for a variety of different reasons even if that human never did anything bad to that dog. So, if your dog is acting out, it’s likely due to a recent event, a change in their environment or a trigger that sets him/her off. 

In conclusion, while dogs may not experience anger in the same way that humans do, they can still show signs of discomfort, annoyance, or frustration. As pet parents, it’s important to pay attention to our dogs’ body language and behavior to better understand their emotional state. If you think your dog is mad at you, try to identify the cause of their discomfort and make changes to improve their overall wellbeing.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March  2023

Never say NO to your dog?

Never say NO to your dog?

 Should I ever say No to my dog?

There’s an advice very often given to never say No to your dog under the mantra : “Never tell your dog don’t do that, instead teach them what to do”

The problem with this is that your dog never has a clear understanding of what not to do.  And that’s not fair. 

Another problem is that in order to stop your dog from doing unwanted behaviors, you have to micromanage by constantly reinforcing alternative behaviors in a helicopter parenting style.

Let me give you an example: If I go to a bank and you teach me 5 different things to do in a bank, but you never tell me that I should not rob it. Well, you can probably keep teaching me 10 other alternate behaviors and skills, but I still don’t really know that I shouldn’t rob a bank. Why wouldn’t you tell me that in first place instead of trying to micromanage every move I do with alternative behaviors?

Teaching boundaries is the art of teaching your dog not to do things or doing things in a controlled manner out of independent thinking not out of micromanagement. 

Can I teach boundaries without punishing or harsh corrections?

You can teach boundaries and say no to your dog in a kind way without hurting your dog or without getting mad at your dog, but the focus should be on providing clarity on the boundary not on the alternative behaviors.

Teaching boundaries does not mean punishing your dog for doing the wrong things. I don’t use or advocate for those methods. There are ways through cognitive learning and by using basic body language techniques through which you can comunícate boundaries to your dog effectively and in a kind manner. And by the way you don’t need to dominate your dog or use Alpha theories to teach boundaries. For more information about dominance myths read this article: Alpha Dominance Theories. Myth? Or Science? For further scientific proof here is a great article from an actual scientist Mark Bekoff: Dogs Display Dominance: Deniers Offer No Credible Debate.

We need to have a clear understanding that boundaries are not part of learning methodologies based on Reinforcement. Boundaries are part of social behavior skills based on self control and a clear understanding of what is and what is not acceptable. 

What are learnt boundaries? 

A learnt boundary is you going to a bank and not robbing it; or you going to a store and not stealing; or you waiting in a line and not pushing everyone around to get in first.  

You don’t get rewarded for not doing those things and you should not need to be offered an alternative behavior. You should have a clear understanding to not to do those things. You should also have the self control skills for not doing them.

Here’s an example with my dog: A boundary is when I put my food on my coffee table and I teach my dog not to eat it even if he is laying down right next to me.

My dog has a clear understanding of what not to do and he’s perfectly fine with it. He is not stressed because there is no confusion. Not only I’m very clear with boundaries, but I also taught my dog the self control skills needed to let things go.

A boundary is not telling my dog to go to his place and stay there because I reinforced that behavior one million times. That’s obedience training. These are two very different concepts. Obedience training is about teaching new behaviors not about teaching behavioral skills.

Why are boundaries so important?

 The lack of behavioral training is a huge problem because there is no clarity, there is no self control skills and involves helicopter parenting. Helicopter parenting kills independent thinking, autonomy and agency on your dog. It’s also exhausting and very time consuming on the humans. 

Self control is very different than impulse control. 

When you impose obedience training and helicopter parenting over behavior training with the mantra: “Never tell your dog don’t do that, instead teach them what to do” think what you are really doing. 

You are basically going through a byzantine labyrinth of alternate behaviors in order to stop your dog from doing unwanted behaviors. This is based on impulse control not on self control. Impulse control is micromanaged . Self control is autonomous thinking. 

Let’s be clear that when you condition your dog to do an alternative behavior with 1 million repetitions, you’re not giving  him/her a “choice”, which is the magic word used to convince people of these methods.  There is no choice here. Is either you do what i want or I’m gonna repeat this 1 million times and manipulate the environment until you do so. Then I’m going to convince my self that it was your choice. 

It’s perfectly fine to use this method if your purpose is to teach your dog new skills, tricks or behaviors. I use it all the time and positive reinforcement is the best way to go. The focus here is on learning and reinforcing new behaviors.

But this method and this mantra is a very inefficient way to teach boundaries. This is because your dog never learns what he or she is not supposed to do. Boundaries and rules are very necessary and needed information in order to adapt to any environment. They are also the best way to have independent thinking and autonomy without having to be micromanaged. 

 

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2023