Your Pet Question
We live along the St. Lawrence River where there is a large goose population. Our mixed breed dog, Matty, purposely seeks out and eats a lot of goose feces when we walk her there. We try to stop her, but she’s often too fast. Will this gross habit harm her? And if so, how do we stop it?
Candace Jamieson, Morrisburg
The Expert Says
Dogs eating poop is called coprophagia and it can be a health risk, especially with Giardia. But the point is, not what your dog is eating as much as her eating it when you say ‘NO’! You are only teaching her to consume the “treat” faster when you try to stop her your way. If you’d rather not basket- muzzle her on your walks, you should teach her the “leave it!” command. Start at home – dog on leash with treats on the floor. Walk her by and if she shows interest in it say ‘leave it’ then reward her with something BETTER than what’s on the floor. (Be sure she doesn’t get the floor food!) Do this multiple times in short sessions. Be prepared when walking her outside to have something REALLY YUMMY, even better that goose droppings, to reward her for ‘leaving it’. Be sure to praise her and play with her as well. Soon, you won’t need treats and she will ‘get’ what ‘leave it’ means, but continue the praise when she does.