Per Whole Dog Journal: The four R’s of dog training, can be used to address almost any training issue:
2.REDIRECT THE NEGATIVE
3.REINFORCE THE POSITIVE
4.REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT
Applying the four 4 R’s to address Coprophagia.
REDUCE ENERGY: “While debate continues as to whether coprophagia is a behavioral problem, there’s no doubt that dogs who are bored, receive little aerobic exercise or interesting play, and have unlimited access to their own or other
animals’ droppings will be difficult to discourage. Increasing the dog’s active exercise, giving him a larger assortment of interesting toys to play with, keeping the dog’s exercise area clean and free from
excrement, keeping cat litter boxes out of reach, and giving the dog several small meals per day rather than only one large meal can all help reduce his interest in coprophagia or at least reduce his opportunity to indulge”.
REDIRECT THE NEGATIVE: You need to first get your dog’s attention OFF the stool and to you. You may be able stop the behavior using a no reward marker (NO!) or duck noise (AAAAACCCKKKKK!) If this doesn’t work, you may need to try something stronger – perhaps an alarm, loud horn or whistle –any obnoxious noise to temporarily get the dog’s attention back to you. If this doesn’t work, try tossing a shake can (a small metal can filled with pebbles or coins) near your dog to get his attention. Some trainers have used a remotely operated citronella spray collar – when your dog turns around to eat the feces, immediately push the button on the remote to spray the dog in the face with the citronella spray to get his attention away from the feces. You may need to have your dog on a lead that you can step on, to prevent him from getting to the feces before you can redirect him. NEXT – let your dog know what you WANT him to do by redirecting his behavior. For some dogs, yelling DO YOU WANT A COOKIE and waving a treat bag in the air will get your dog running towards you! You might have to bring out your dogs favorite toy (A squeak toy? A tennis ball?) and entice him with that. You might engage your dog in a game of chase by running in the opposite direction! Do whatever it takes to get
your dog to come to you! The name of the game is “do your business, then come running to me for a reward”.
REINFORCE THE POSITIVE: When your dog comes running to you, enthusiastically reward the behavior with a verbal marker (YES, GOOD BOY) and an incredibly tasty high value food treat – dry biscuits aren’t going to cut it here!
REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT: When teaching any type of new behavior, you must repeat, repeat, repeat! Practice makes perfect. Consistency is critical. Behaviorists estimate that it will take at least a month – and possibly as long as six months –to break this habit, but with practice (and the use of very high value treats), your dog will learn that running back to you after doing his business results in good things happening to him – high value treats! Yum!
Here are some other thoughts:
Per PetMD: "For some dogs, eating feces is a behavior learned from the litter-mates and/or mother. But, dogs that are fed a low-quality food (or an insufficient amount of food) may also resort to eating feces in an instinctual attempt to balance out a dietary deficiency. This may be further exacerbated if your dog has a digestive enzyme deficiency, because it prevents any of the food’s nutrients to be properly absorbed by the body. Basically, your dog is attempting to eat feces in the hopes to forgo starving to death."
Dr. Karen Becker: "Dogs on entirely processed, dry food diets, who eat no living foods at all, will intentionally seek out other sources of digestive enzymes to make up for their own lifelong enzyme deficiency. Feeding your pet a diet containing human-grade protein, probiotics and supplemental digestive enzymes can sometimes curb the urge to find gross sources of free enzymes around the yard or in the cats litter box."
Coprophagia can also be caused by a Vitamin-B1 (Thiamine) deficiency. “B-1 deficiency can be caused by feeding your dog a low-quality or a nutritionally incomplete diet (Dogspire).”
Here is a whole food supplement: Vitamin Code Raw B Complex: RAW ORGANIC FRUIT AND VEGETABLE BLEND(ORGANIC:STRAWBERRY,CHERRY,BLACKBERRY, RASPBERRY,BEET JUICE,BROCCOLI,CUCUMBER,TOMATO,KALE,SPINACH,CABBAG E,CAULIFLOWER,CELERY,PARSLEY,ASPARAGUS,GINGER)
Also, she may need some Vitamin K-1. You can supply this naturally to her diet by adding 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley every other day (never use synthetic Vitamin K-3, also called Menadione Sodium Bisulfate, as prolonged use can possibly damage organs and have a carcinogenic effect). Additionally, “the flavonoids in parsley—especially luteolin—have been shown to function as antioxidants that combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (called oxygen radicals) and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. In addition, extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood.”
Adding animal based enzymes and fresh foods that contain Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine) could curb this habit.
BileX is an animal based digestive enzyme and very cost effective. It contains Pancreatin, Ox Bile Extract and Papin (Papaya). Crush 1 or 1 ½ tablets between 2 spoons and mix into the dogs food. Bilex 90 Tablets by Douglas Laboratories
Sunday Sundae is a plant based digestive enzyme/probiotic that could help along with the BileX: Sunday Sundae Nutritional Supplement also, the Sh-emp Oil from here.
Here are some fresh foods that you can add to your dogs’ diet.
Pork is high in B-1. 1/3rd cup served raw several times per week may help. Pork must be frozen for at least one week before it is given to your dog. Choose very lean pork such as diced “taco meat” without any seasonings added or purchase pork chops on sale, take off most of the fat and cut in smaller pieces before freezing. Introduce slowly in small amounts at first.
Liver from Beef, Pork, and Chicken contain Thiamine. Asparagus (pureed), green peas (pureed), flax seed and tuna (cooked) also have high quantities of B-1 that can be added to the diet.
If you look for a commercially prepared “stool deterrent” make sure that it doesn't contain MSG (Mono-sodium Glutamate) which can be toxic.
If considering changing foods, I would suggest high quality food such as The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Food www.thehonestkitchen.com , or Acana Grain Free www.acana.com or Fromm's Four Star Grain Free Four-Star Gourmet Recipes for dogs - Fromm Family Foods
Hope something helps!