Teaching Your Pup to "Find The Poop"

Dr. Jeff

Feb 23, 2017
During this week's webinar (2/10/20) Lisa Waggoner mentioned a great training strategy to help reduce unwanted poop eating (coprophagia).

Here's more about how to do it:

Most dogs will sniff an area where they pooped (or another dog has pooped). I used the training process of capturing to help Cailie learn what I wanted. Capturing is taking advantage of a behavior your dog offers naturally and then marking and reinforcing that behavior.

When out on a walk and Cailie stopped to poop, I’d watch and wait patiently. As soon as she finished her business and turned around to sniff that fresh pile of stinky poop (ok, stinky to me, likely not her!), I “captured” the naturally occurring behavior of “sniffing the poop.” I used a verbal marker (the word Yes!) and followed with a reinforcer (piece of yummy food your dog really likes).
How to capture a behavior:

Training your new poop patrol pup:

Because Cailie was so consistent in turning around to sniff that stinky pile, I began adding the verbal cue “Find Your Poop” just a few seconds before she began sniffing. I repeated this for a few days.

Next I begin adding the cue. When we walking about and I’d spot a pile of poop I had yet to pick up, I’d say the cue “Find Your Poop” as we neared the pile. She sniffed it and I’d mark and reinforce. Voila! A trained behavior on cue.

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