Dogs are made to scavenge, whether in trash, getting to odd things at the park & elsewhere outdoors, and the common mental picture of waiting for something to fall off the table. It thus shouldn’t be surprising that they’re equally intelligent as pigs, as they do the same function in nature.
& they’re an equal opportunity poop eater, whether from deer, sheep, cattle, rabbit, horse, or bird. They even have no problem with cat poo though having a higher ammonia content. I still remember the time of my mom’s disgusted face when at a nature park.
Unable to hold it in before reaching the bathroom, behind a tree she went, only to find out right afterwards that, ‘respectfully’ waiting for her to finish were my brother’s two dogs that suddenly sprang upon the ‘offering’ as soon as mom stepped away from her “#2”.
While being particular about keeping their place of resting free from feces, eating it is another matter. Dogs would even avoid places where other canines have pooed. This could be explained by the keeping of territorial space.
Although commonly known, on an average dog this behavior’s only seen in @ 160 out of roughly a thousand dogs. While 70 more canines could be considered part of the poop eating group, it wasn’t done often enough to be identified as coprophages (poop-eating observed 6 or more times).
No matter whether a dog is punished, a product is used that claims to curb coprophagy, or even when including many other factors into consideration, it has no variability on reducing the behavior.
The effective recommended strategy is keeping the dog away from fresh poop. That should be reason enough to encourage regular poo picking among owners in the outdoors. This would also influence responsibility on keeping after the pooch at home.
An important predictor of being coprophagic is a combination of having dogs living together & at least one of them being considered ‘greedy’. Pedigree-wise, hounds & terriers are more prone to coprophage, Shetland sheepdogs included (at 41% from that breed). In spite of their name, poodles are found to be at the other end of the spectrum.
Some have speculated that particular interest may be shown in this practice from the aforementioned idea of being with other dogs that are into it. Ditto if the owner shows an inordinate focus on feces. Not necessarily that caretakers are coprophagic, but that due to their groupal nature, there’s a dog-owner activity synchronization.
While trying to curb this habit on pets with the above info, let this also be a word of caution for people to curb their social instinct in giving dog mouth-smooches. On a later post, I plan to report (if I come across it again, on a caretaker who ended up in a coma from doing just that).
Hmm; I wonder now. Is there a study out there comparing pet owners & their perceived susceptibility to getting COVID-19?