Service Dog Training

Sunday’s Charlotte Observer featured an article on The Dog Knowledge’s Service Dog Training Program!  We are the only training facility in the Southeast United States that specializes in training service dogs for mobility, seizure alert, allergen (peanut, etc.) detection, PTSD, autism, diabetic alert, etc. Read the article “Local Demand for Service Dogs Booms” here.

We have trained several dogs for the Wounded Warrior Project including a new training dog arriving soon who will aid a brave Green Beret Soldier who is an amputee through wounds suffered in Afghanistan.  All of the active duty soldiers and veterans that we have worked with have inspired us to start a non-profit, 501c division of our training, TDK – Dogs Doing Good, Inc. Please visit Dogs Doing Good for more information regarding our efforts to make service dogs affordable for the many deserving disabled.

Also you can watch the “go home” video for Truman, trained for a soldier whose deployment in Afghanistan was dealing with mortuary remains.  This gruesome task left the soldier with PTSD.  We were contacted by his commander who had heard of us through the Wounded Warrior Project, and we gladly donated our time and expertise for free to train Truman for this deserving soldier.

Watch the video of Truman’s obedience in progress:


Volunteers Needed

When the Charlotte Observer reporter asked us what others could do to help with our service dog program, our first response was that we always welcome volunteers as well as young, well behaved dogs that through circumstances need to be re-homed.
Additionally, we are excited to announce that we have a litter of promising puppies who are 8 weeks old and ready to be placed in foster, puppy raising homes to begin this first but extremely significant stage of their service dog training program.

Contact Us to Foster a Puppy Today!

GSD puppies!


Watch Us on America Now

In addition to “Local Demand for Service Dogs Booms” that appeared on Sunday in the Charlotte Observer, NBC’s America Now recently sent a crew that filmed for over 5 hours in our facility showcasing the amazing training that goes into teaching service dogs how to manipulate their environment to provide a variety of services to the disabled.

service-dogsThat feature will be aired sometime in late December or early January.  The NBC segment also addressed the issue of phony service dogs where owners buy vests and identification through the internet and pass off their dog as being a service dog so that their dog is allowed in restaurants, hotels, etc.

NBC also wanted to expose dog training facilities and dog trainers have been known to take advantage of families and individuals, especially families where a child has disabilities.  These dishonest dog trainers make claims that for an exorbitant fee, they will train a dog for emotional comfort, epileptic alert or autism.  The reasons that they select these particular disabilities is that it is very difficult to judge whether a dog is truly providing comfort to an emotionally challenged child, an autistic child and dogs trained for epileptic alert must first be trained to alert then their training is completed once they are placed in the family and experience an individual having an epileptic seizure.

Beware of false claims from unscrupulous trainers and definitely ask to see dogs that have trained to perform specific service dog tasks.


For more information on our non-profit organization devoted to service dog training, check out our website Dogs Doing Good.  We also have put together a fun video showcasing some of our service dogs in action, which you can watch below:

TRICK OR TREAT: Guidelines for Keeping Your Dog Safe and Happy on Halloween

Should you include your dog in the Halloween festivities?

As Charlotte’s premier dog training center, The Dog Knowledge receives dozens of phone calls from members and area dog owners regarding whether to include the family dog in the Halloween festivities. Since The Dog Knowledge is a member’s only facility we are fortunate in that we know the personality of every dog that visits us for training, a play day or an overnight in one of luxury cottages.  85% of the member dogs at The Dog Knowledge have gone through one of our training packages where the dog lives at The Dog Knowledge for a minimum of 3 weeks and works with a certified dog training specialist.  Our training program involves the newest most advanced, positive reinforcement dog training methods which involve multiple short training sessions of 15 minutes spread out throughout the day.  My point is that at The Dog Knowledge we know each and every dog on a personal level.  And regarding whether or not a dog should join the family in Halloween festivities depends on the personality of each dog.

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Most dogs, as smart as they are, can’t look at a large 300lb stranger wearing a puffy coat that makes the person look like the Michelin man and wearing a hat that makes the person look like a giant… and simply deduce that if that person took off the coat, took off the hat, they would look like everyone else.  No, most dogs will react to anyone dressed in unusual garb.  Also, any dog that has not been around children will very often react to these “little people” simply because they have never seen a person half the size of a grownup and also children exude energy and often use a lot of body language when they approach a dog.  Additionally dogs can show fear if they meet a person of a different race than their family for the first time.  Dogs depend on the pictures that they develop as to what is a “normal” looking person and what is not.  At The Dog Knowledge, we train a lot of therapy dogs and service dogs.  One of the first hurdles we, as knowledgeable dog trainers must get over is a dog’s reaction to a person in a wheel chair, walkers, crutches, a cane or even a person that walks with an obvious limp.  Anything out of the norm can result in a dog having an adverse reaction.

So, what do you think the average family dog thinks when Halloween comes around and their world of “normalcy” has been turned upside down?

Here are a few do’s and don’ts regarding whether to include your dog in the Halloween festivities:

  • At The Dog Knowledge, the dog trainers and behavioral specialist unanimously agree that any dog under the age of 1 year should not be exposed to all the costumes, etc.  The reason for this is that somewhere around 9 months of age, dogs go through a second fear imprint period.  The first fear imprint period is around 9 weeks of age.  Each dog is different and each breed of dog is different but somewhere between 7 months to 1 year of age your dog will go through a fear period. In the event that your dog is experiencing this second fear imprint period, exposing your dog to adults and children in all types of costumes has the potential to affect your dog for life.  So why take the chance?
  • Do not take your dog trick or treating if your dog has any aggression issues.  95% of all aggression is fear based.  A fearful dog should never be taken around children and adults dressed in costumes.
  • If you plan to put your dog in a costume, understand that your dog might not enjoy dressing up.  Also, design a costume that doesn’t cover a dog’s eyes or restrict a dog from going “potty.”
  • Walk your dog early on Halloween, while it is still light outside.  Your dog may find candy, wrappers, and broken eggs on lawns and streets.  Make sure that these “tempting treats” stay out of reach.  Also, your dog will feel less intimidated by costumes that he can see in the light of day.
  • Don’t leave your dog outside unattended on Halloween, even if he is behind a fence.  Pranksters may target your dog with eggs, and passersby may be tempted to give him harmful treats and candy.
  • If you want your dog to greet trick-or-treaters, keep him on Place if he has been trained for it, or on a leash.  He may be stressed by the noise, activity, or simply the interruption of his normal routine.
  • Chocolate and sweets can be dangerous to your dog.  The canine digestive system is not adapted for sweets, and chocolate contains Theobromine, which can be harmful and sometimes fatal to your dog.  Baking chocolate is especially high in this chemical.

If your dog is fearful, the dog trainers at The Dog Knowledge suggest that you crate your dog for the evening and locate the crate in an area where your dog won’t be as aware of the door bell or be able to see the little goblins.

If all else fails, and you are a member at The Dog Knowledge, bring your pooch to our facility during the “witching hours” of 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.  We are offering 2 hours of FREE daycare to all members wanting to make certain that their dog is safe and secure during the time that witches and dragons are roaming the neighborhoods.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Russell, meet Truman: Your New Companion and Service Dog!

This past year The Dog Knowledge located in Charlotte, NC has received more and more phone calls to train service dogs and therapy dogs and much of our energy has gone toward helping out families that desperately need a service dog but can’t afford the high price or the lengthy wait to obtain one of these amazing dogs.

We have a waiting list for individuals needing a service dog due to the fact that we first must find the right kind of dog with the right kind of temperament before we even begin training.  Once we find a young dog with potential, it can take months for training obedience as well as the skills that are needed to work with the disabled.

service-dogs

Lately, we have been contacted by the commanding officers for several soldiers and veterans who are in need of service dogs.  We feel these brave young men deserve to be put at the top of The Dog Knowledge waiting list for all they have done and sacrificed to keep our country safe.  Shown here is Russell who is being introduced to Truman, his active service dog.  Russell’s deployment in Afghanistan was not a pleasant job.  Russell was in charge of dealing with mortuary remains and over time this gruesome job took its toll on Russell.  Russell is suffering from PTSD and periodically goes into states of depression over all that he experienced and saw while in Afghanistan.

The Dog Knowledge was contacted by Russell’s Recovery Care Coordinator who asked us if we could help out.  “Gladly!” we told him.  The dog trainers at The Dog Knowledge volunteered their service dog training skills and donated their time and energy to train one year old Truman to be a wonderful service dog with excellent obedience.  Truman was also trained to “interrupt” Russell with a nudge of his nose anytime Russell exhibited moodiness, etc.  Also in the event that Russell had a panic attack, Truman has been trained to press a life alert button to call 911.

Russell, Truman, and The Dog Knowledge trainers

Russell, Truman, and The Dog Knowledge trainers

Word spreads quickly and we received several additional calls from Fort Bragg.  Last week, The Dog Knowledge trainers met with another soldier, Billy who was one of the brave Green Berets stationed in Afghanistan who came home as an amputee.  Billy has requested a service dog  to     assist him in a variety of mobility functions when Billy is not wearing his prosthesis.

Good news travels fast.  NBC’s America Now visited The Dog Knowledge, Charlotte’s premier dog training center last week. America Now sent a crew to The Dog Knowledge to interview the dog trainers regarding service and therapy dog training.  All of The Dog Knowledge dog trainers were present as NBC filmed and interviewed our certified service dog training specialists for over 5 hours. One of the issues that NBC was addressing was the problem with phony service dogs that don’t have proper service dog training and certification.

The Dog Knowledge, located off Wendover Road is one of the few service dog training facilities in the Southeast that trains service and/or assistance dogs, for everything from mobility training for people who are in wheel chairs or have difficulty walking to scent detection for children with nut allergies.  Mobility service dogs are taught to stand and brace in the event their “person” takes a tumble.  Mobility service dogs are also taught specific service dog tasks such as turning lights on and off, picking up dropped items, activate a 911 alert button in the event of an emergency and customized tasks based on their “person’s” disability.  In addition to mobility service dogs, The Dog Knowledge is proud to cover all of service dog classifications except seeing eye dogs.

Truman learns to activate an alert button with his paw

Truman learns to activate an alert button with his paw

WHAT CAN A DOG KNOWLEDGE TRAINER TEACH A SERVICE DOG TO DO?

  • Service Dogs: For a physical disability, debilitating chronic illness or neurological disorder.
  • Psychiatric Service Dogs: For diagnosed PTSD.
  • Hearing Dogs: For people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Seizure Response Dogs
  • Scent Detection Service Dogs: For people with peanut allergies, other allergens and diabetic detection through saliva.
  • Service Dogs for Children with Autism: For children 14 and younger with Autism.
  • Combination Dogs: Service & Hearing, Service & Seizure, Hearing & Seizure

As we currently had several service dogs in training, we were able to demonstrate service dogs for people with physical disabilities and introduce the reporter for NBC to a couple of service dog owners who dropped by with their service dog. The dogs picked up dropped items as well as opened cabinets, retrieved the item requested, delivered the items to the client and closed the cabinet.  We also showed America Now how service dogs can be trained to detect allergens such as peanuts, shellfish and even  a diabetic alert dog being trained to alert the family when their 11 year old daughter has either high or low blood sugar.

Service Dogs at The Dog Knowledge

Service Dogs at The Dog Knowledge

And while much of the interview dealt with people ordering service dog gear on-line and passing their dog off as service dog to gain access to restaurants, movie theaters, etc. The Dog Knowledge feels that the issue goes far deeper than pet owners that are abusing the system. What, in our opinion, is far more heinous are the number of dog trainers that prey on the disabled and especially when children are involved by promising to train and certify a family pet or an acquired puppy for an outrageous fee.

Service dog training is difficult and completely different from training pet obedience. Anytime someone advertises that they will sell a puppy or obtain a puppy and train the puppy for service, these claims should send up a red flag. Only a small percentage of dogs have the nerve structure and temperament to become a certified service dog for any type of disability.

There is also a lot of confusion regarding the difference between a therapy dog and a service dog. Simply put, a therapy dog is a well trained dog with an excellent temperament that is comfortable around strangers and comfortable in institutional settings such as hospitals, retirement centers, schools, etc.  For more information regarding the difference in a service dog and a therapy dog please visit our website: http://thedogknowledge.com/web/therapy/

For more information on service dogs, please visit The Dog Knowledge’s sister website in development, Dogs Doing Good:  http://www.dogsdoinggood.com.

Your Dog and the 4th of July

As a dog trainer at Charlotte’s premiere dog training facility, The Dog Knowledge, I am shocked by the number of families that bring a dog to the 4th of July fireworks. The poor things try to get away from the loud bangs, but they can’t. Some of them look terrified. As a dog trainer, when I see the panic on a dog’s face, it is really sad. With the 4th of July holiday tomorrow, the certified dog trainers at The Dog Knowledge in Charlotte got together to compile a blog addressing what we felt as professional dog trainers might be helpful to dog owners to understand how likely their dog perceives this favorite American holiday.

fireworks

As dog trainers, we all have personal dogs. While we have tried to expose our personal dogs to every noise and situation, as dog training professionals we know the signs to look for to determine our personal dog’s stress level. Additional we train service dogs and therapy dogs. We realize that these dogs must be exposed to all types of noises before receiving their certification as a service dog or therapy dog. My Christmas Minders who are my demo dogs, do not love loud noises, although they’re not frightened like other dogs. Fireworks, thunderstorms, cars backfiring, even the crash of a dropped pot are torture to some dogs. A dog that is “sound sensitive” reacts in a fearful manner to loud noises. Some sound sensitive dogs try to hide, others want to climb into their owner’s lap, and still others try to flee, to escape. If you have a sound sensitive dog, you know the agony of his fear.

Sound sensitivity is also called `noise shy’ or `gun shy.’ It can be either congenital or environmental. Some noise shy dogs are born that way, while others may undergo a frightening experience connected to a loud noise that thereafter causes them to associate the noise with the fear-producing event. A dog that is less than a year old might be going through their second fear period which happens around 8-10 months of age. While a dog of any age who has never shown signs of being noise sensitive can suddenly develop thunder phobia or fear of loud noises, dogs less than a year old are even more susceptible. We agree that the best thing you can do for your dog is to avoid having your dog join in Charlotte’s annual celebration.

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Regardless of whether a dog is born with sensitivity to loud noises, or experiences something upsetting that he or she then associates with noise, there are some do’s and don’ts to make your dog more comfortable during a noisy event. Even dogs that don’t react fearfully to loud noises should be protected as much as possible from the potentially painful effects of noise, especially those as predictable as fireworks on July 4th. So take a little advice from the dog trainers at The Dog Knowledge and follow the guidelines we’ve compiled.

DO:

  • Plan ahead before the fireworks start so you aren’t rushing around at the first loud sound trying to figure out what to do with the dog. It’s too late at that point, and your frantic behavior will only increase your dog’s anxiety.
  • Try to create a light, happy and fun atmosphere. Try telling jokes and talking lightly. If you’re alone with your dog, try playing a game with him or her, such as fetch. With a dog that is only mildly upset, your light attitude or the relief of playing a game may override the fear. This tactic won’t help dogs that are extremely upset and fearful.
  • Play the TV or music to help cover the noise. If the fireworks are a reasonable distance from your home, you might be able to protect your dog by keeping him in a room away from the noise, and covering the noise. Dogs are calmer when they listen to classical or easy listening music than to rock.
  • Get your dog used to being in a dog kennel or crate long before the noisy event. (Too late today). The vast majority of dogs who are afraid of noises prefer to be in small places when they are frightened. They will seek out a closet, go under a bed or behind a chair. A dog kennel or crate is a comforting thing to a dog that is used to it. When a dog has his own place, at the first sign of anxiety they can go into their safe kennel, and stay there until the storm has passed.
  • Think about alternatives for places your dog can stay if you live close to fireworks, or in a neighborhood where individuals play with noisemakers such as caps. You might consider boarding your dog for a day or two before the celebration until well after it is over. Inform the boarding kennel operator that your dog is sensitive to noises, and he or she will do their best to protect your dog from noise.

DON’T:

  • Take your dog to the fireworks. Even if your dog is not noise sensitive beforehand, experiencing the explosive noise of fireworks can make him so. As painful as the loud booms are to you, your dog’s ears are far more sensitive. A dog doesn’t understand either the noise or what it’s for and truly suffers fear and pain in this situation.
  • Talk soothingly to your dog, saying things such as “It’s all right. Mama loves you.” Your attempt to calm him or her will serve to reinforce the fear. It is as if you are saying, “It’s all right to tremble and shake. I love when you’re frightened.”
  • Pet and stroke your dog. Soothing touching also reinforces the fearful behavior. It is the same as saying, “Trembling is good, and I’ll pet you as long as you shake.”
  • Get upset about your dog or your dog’s behavior. Your attitude will affect your dog. If you can’t talk lightly, ignore him.
  • Give human tranquilizers to a dog. Many people have had success giving their dog six to nine milligrams of Melatonin (a calming hormone that many use as a sleep aid). When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian.

And remember that, as dog trainers who have seen 100’s of dogs with dog training issues, fear issues, obedience issues, etc., we understand how traumatic the popping loud noises can be. For this reason, at The Dog Knowledge, we annually have a party time the night of the 4th of July. All the dog trainers are in attendance and we conduct an unexpected play time with all the training dogs that are overnighting with us for the holiday, playing music throughout the building. No training dogs, service dogs or boarding dogs return to their cottage until the dog trainers are certain that the fireworks are over. And just to be safe, we turn up the television in each cottage.

Honey_Brio_Cottage

If you have any additional questions about how best to deal with your dog’s fear of loud noises, feel free to stop by The Dog Knowledge located off Wendover Road in Charlotte, NC and any one of the dog trainers and behaviorist on staff will be happy to offer helpful tips. Because at The Dog Knowledge, we love to talk “dog.”

Happy Independence Day!

PARASITES! The Dog Knowledge Tells You What You Need to Know

At The Dog Knowledge, Charlotte’s premier dog training facility, we realize that there is a lot of confusion regarding parasite preventatives.  While pet owners often feel that they are protecting their dog with their monthly heartworm pill, as Charlotte’s most respected dog trainers we feel strongly that ALL dogs should have a monthly flea and tick topical application in addition to their oral heart worm preventative. In areas such as the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland where there is so much natural vegetation around the bay area, it was standard advice from the area vets to apply topical flea and tick preventative to your dog every 3 weeks during peak summer months. As Charlotte’s most acclaimed year round dog training, boarding and daycare center we noticed last summer that even when the topical solution was applied monthly, it began to lose its potency by the end of the third week.  This had a lot to do with the mild winter and possible natural immunity that the fleas and ticks had developed.  Unfortunately we have had another very mild winter and are already seeing evidence of fleas and ticks.  Please don’t forget to invest in a good topical solution and be sure that you apply it 3 days prior to bathing your dog and don’t bathe your dog for 3 days after the application. Regular examinations and preventive medications can help protect your dogs from fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites like roundworms and hookworms. As professional dog trainers and behaviorists, we know that a dog with the irritation of flea and tick bites can lead to unwanted behavior.

DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET UNPROTECTED FROM THESE PREDATORS:

FleaTickMosquito

Ticks and Fleas

Ticks and fleas are blood-drinking parasites that can also cause serious illness in pets. Ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and cause allergies. You can sometimes see ticks or fleas on your pet, but for the most part, they are very difficult to find. A monthly medication can control them.

Heartworms

Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, and they can infect dogs and cats. Even indoor pets aren’t completely safe from heartworms, since 25% of heartworm infected cats live completely indoors. Heartworms can damage the lungs and heart, and can even cause death. Fortunately, heartworm preventive medications can protect your pets from these dangerous parasites.

Intestinal Parasites

Hookworms, roundworms, and other intestinal parasites can harm pets. Some of these parasites are even transmissible to humans, so preventing parasites in your pets also helps protect children and other family members. A veterinary examination and routine fecal testing can identify intestinal parasites, and many monthly heartworm preventive medications safely and effectively control them. Ask us how to protect your pets and family.

Protect your pet. Protect your family. Let us help.

Talk to your vet or any of the dog trainers at The Dog Knowledge dog training center in Charlotte about parasite prevention and your pet’s health before parasites become a serious health issue. Call your dog training professional today at (704) 365-1892.

The Monster in the Closet

The Dog Knowledge has taken a bit of a break from blogging — we’ve got lots of dogs to train! But now we return to you with a chilling tale…

Have you ever tried to think like your dog?  Go ahead, put yourself in his place for a moment and think about:

THE MONSTER IN THE CLOSET

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Yes, monster!  At least once a week the dreaded monster that lives in the closet of every American household wakes up from a long sleep and roars into action.  The dreaded monster huffs and puffs, seemingly screaming its way through every room in the house, sucking up any creature in its way. After roaring through the entire house scaring the dog, the cat and every impressionable being around, the monster finally makes its way back to the closet and goes back to a peaceful sleep.  But your dog knows that the monster isn’t gone.  He’s only asleep, resting up, preparing for another attack, another day…

Continue reading

The Case Against Retractable Leashes

Whenever I see someone out walking their dog on a retractable leash I am tempted to speak up.

To begin with, who dreamed up the idea that a dog preferred to walk 20’ ahead of their owner?  I would venture to say that if I invited a friend to go for a walk and then proceeded to walk 20’ ahead of them they would think I was rude.

Whether you are walking with a friend, spouse or your canine companion, isn’t the idea of walking together a sharing experience?  Personally when I walk with any of my dogs I always enjoy the interaction.  It’s safe to say that if they were 20’ ahead of me there would be little if any interaction.

Even more disturbing are the dangers of walking your dog along a busy street with a retractable leash.  In the event that your dog spots something across the street of interest there is a strong chance that you would not be able to reel your dog in before he found himself in traffic.  I personally know of several devastated dog owners who have lost a beloved friend this way.

Loose leash walking is not difficult.

It’s a skill that simply takes a little training for your dog and consistency on your part.  You will find walking beside a dog who is not pulling and who is “with you” rather than 20’ away from you is far more rewarding and only builds a stronger relationship.

Let us do the hard work and teach your dog how to walk properly on a leash and teach you how to generalize the skill into your daily walks.

For more information on how to train loose leash walking through positive reinforcement, please give one of The Dog Knowledge trainers a call at 704-365-1892, and we are more than happy to help.

Record Year in the Carolinas for FLEAS and TICKS!

THIS SUMMER, EVERY DOG AND CAT NEED BOTH HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVE
AND
A MONTHLY TOPICAL FLEA AND TICK PREVENTATIVE.

In the past, during the cold winter months, I gave my dogs a couple of months off their topical flea and tick medicine.  Especially since they receive some protection through their monthly heartworm preventative.  However, in recent years it seems that the flea and tick season arrives earlier and earlier.  This year all of the experts agree that due to our mild winter we can expect one of the worst summers ever for parasites.  Give your dog the protection they need. Every dog can “host” parasites and you may not even know about it. Even indoor pets can be exposed!

This summer the flea and tick preventative in your heartworm medication is absolutely NOT going to adequately protect your dog or cat from fleas and ticks.  In fact, beginning in June until early October, I will personally be applying my dog’s topical medication every 3 weeks instead of every 4 weeks.  When my dogs vacationed with me on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, it was standard practice to apply topical every 3 weeks because of the infestation around the natural buffers that surrounds the bay.

Ticks and Fleas:
Ticks and fleas are blood-drinking parasites that can also cause serious illness in pets. Ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and cause allergies. You can sometimes see ticks or fleas on your pet, but for the most part, they are very difficult to find. A monthly medication can control them.

Heartworms:
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, and they can infect dogs and cats. Even indoor pets aren’t completely safe from heartworms, since 25% of heartworm infected cats live completely indoors. Heartworms can damage the lungs and heart, and can even cause death. Fortunately, heartworm preventive medications can protect your pets from these dangerous parasites.

Intestinal Parasites:
Hookworms, roundworms, and other intestinal parasites can harm pets. Some of these parasites are even transmissible to humans, so preventing parasites in your pets also helps protect children and other family members. A veterinary examination and routine fecal testing can identify intestinal parasites, and many monthly heartworm preventive medications safely and effectively control them. Ask us how to protect your pets and family.

Protect your pet. Protect your family. Let us help.

Talk with us about parasite prevention and your pet’s health before parasites become a serious health issue. Call us today at (704) 365-1892.

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

Coprophagia has grossed out and confounded many pet owners and veterinarians for a long time. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an effective way to stop dogs from eating their poop, although Benjamin Hart, DVM, PhD, DACVB, did offer some interesting statistics on the topic.

He cited a recent, unpublished study that included information from nearly 1,500 pet owners with dogs that had been seen eating feces daily or weekly at least 10 times. According to the survey, the top five feces-eating dog breeds were the Labrador Retriever (10.4%), Golden Retriever (5.8%), Basset Hound (5.5%), German Shepherd (5.3%) and Shetland Sheepdog (4.7%).

About 10% of the dogs ate only their own stool, whereas 32% ate the feces of others, and nearly half of all dogs who ate feces didn’t care who it belonged to. “Most dogs ate any ol’ stool,” Hart said.

Other findings include:

  • Female dogs were more likely than male dogs to engage in this behavior (60% vs. 40%).
  • The behavior does not reflect poor den sanitation: 82% of dogs in the survey almost never soiled their own house.
  • Almost all dogs opted for fresh feces as opposed to aged feces.
  • Neither behavior modification techniques nor food additives seemed to be effective in changing the behavior.