How do I stop it?
In all cases, reducing temptation is the quickest solution. Scoop your yard frequently, keep Fido on a short leash in that poop-riddled park, and put the cat box out of reach. The kitty litter may need to be moved onto a higher surface or put in a room with a baby gate. A covered cat box might be all that is needed if the dog is much larger than the cat.
Quite often, a change to a high quality, high protein, low carbohydrate and low fat diet will do the trick. Also, by giving him plenty of healthy dog treats like pig ears, this is another possible solution to reduce the temptation. Commercially available additives are sold in pet stores that claim to make poop less palatable. Many owners find that a teaspoon of canned spinach, pineapple, or a little meat tenderizer works equally well.
Some owners will sprinkle hot sauce or pepper onto the poop in the yard (not on the food!). Keep in mind that Fido can easily sniff out which poops are booby-trapped, so this method might not work as well for dogs that prefer to “eat out” while on walks. Of course it makes sense to get advice from your veterinarian or trainer for help in solving this issue if you cannot.
Although you may wish to train your dog not to use some areas of your house or yard as a toilet, never scold your dog for defecating. Promptly remove him to an appropriate location and praise him when he gets it right. Don’t scold him for poop-eating, either, as even negative attention can be seen as a reward. If stress is the reason for your dog’s new habit, hopefully an end to the stress will result in an end to the habit.
Above all, remember that your dog is performing a behaviour that is natural, and even rewarding to him: to a dog, potentially delicious. Punishment is not always enough to counteract his instincts, and can sometimes reinforce them. Removal of temptation and reward for preferred behaviours are always your best training tools.
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