Help! My dog’s addicted to poo: Nightmare Pets SOS – BBC


This is Niles who I’ve had since a puppy
and he’s a lovely dog. Don’t breathe on me. He’s very handsome. And everybody loves him but you
don’t want his breath on you cos I’m afraid he’s got a rather unpleasant habit. He eats poo. Oh no, that’s horrid, isn’t it? And how often does he do that, Melanie? Oh, he’d do it hourly if he got the chance.
You know, I mean, the other day I took him out. Oh he had five piles I think. And he ate all five of them? Oh yes, it’s like the open tray of a
box of chocolates for him. Oh really? Oh yes, oh yes, and fresh is best, I think. He seems to be quite a poo connoisseur. Yeah, definitely. This is one that was
taken a couple of weeks ago. Oh it’s really not pleasant to watch, is it? No, no. A desire in a dog to dine on the disgusting could be part of a disorder
called pica. It might be down to an underlying medical condition or the
result of boredom or stress. Common items to eat include soil, paper and yes, even the stinky stuff. One of the things about this behaviour is that it’s not altogether unnatural. There is actually some nutrient in dog poo. Yeah, now you’ve just done the most horrible smell. Does that happen alot? Erm.. yes. We’re going to try and help you. Craig’s going to look at the behavioural side of things. I’m gonna look at him medically. So I’m going to be taking some faecal samples. Oh marvellous, Niles. Parasites could be contributing to his problems or they
could even be something that he’s picked up from eating other dogs’ faeces. Niles’ penchant for poo might also be compensating for a vitamin or nutrient
deficiency. If you can take those… Until they get the test results back, stage one of the plan is to put Niles on a higher protein diet. I don’t want feed to him rubbish… I know he’s eating poo… No, this is, this is, this is the absolute best
quality. It meets all of his dietary needs so that makes sure that he’s not lacking in anything. For stage two, Craig’s hitting the training field. Oh, looking for poo already. He wants Niles to become
more focused on Melanie and less focused on the poo. At the moment, he’s thinking
that when he gets to an environment like this, he’s going to sniff off and try to
find the poo that he’s been seeking. What we want to try to do from now is when we
come to a new place, it’s about what are me and mum going to do? Rewarding good
behaviour is key to all animal training so Craig gives Niles a treat whenever
his attention is on him and not on any unsavoury titbits that might be lurking
in the field. So he’s walking in nice position. Just by my side which is lovely. There’s
no tension on the lead so we’re giving him lots and lots of choice to make but
he’s staying with me willingly. But then, when I give him just a little bit more
lead, he goes away from me. He starts to follow because it’s me that he wants to
be with all the time. So is he always going to have to be on the lead then? No. For this second, we’re putting him on the lead to help
him but as you can see the lead isn’t being used for me to drag him in.
There’s no tension in the lead. Yeah, but he now regards you as Mr. Treat Pocket. So at the moment, Melanie struggling a little bit. She would like for him to be able to
roam freely but he’s being eating poo off of the floor for a really, really long
time. Niles, play, not humping. You’re spoiling the playtime! So remember, when you’re recalling him, it’s so, so important that we call him
in a different way then we do on a day-to-day basis. So the only time we
ever call ‘Niles’, good, is when he’s gonna get rewarded for it. So is that the tone that I use when he’s disappeared off to the side of a field? But we’re not gonna let him disappear off to the side of a field, are we? No, I know we’re not, are we? Come on, we can do it together. Come on, you, come on, Niles, good. Now take a step back and call him into you. Hand down, where’s your hand, Melanie? Where’s your hand, good. I can’t do it all in one go. Don’t worry, you’re doing really good. I think Melanie’s really realising how much
training is involved in teaching a recall. It’s one of the fundamentals of
dog training but something that isn’t created overnight. So I want to set you
a little bit of a challenge. Right. Next time, I see you at the center, I’d like to have
him recalling really, really nicely back on you and I don’t want Niles to eat any
poo between now and the next time that I see you. I discussed Niles’ blood test results
with you before and his Vitamin B12 level was virtually undetectable, so I
suggested that you have a course of Vitamin B12 injections. Have you been
able to do that? Yes he had his first injection last Friday and I’ve booked
three more appointments as you suggested. That’s really good. So how’s it all been
going? I’m finding having done this, what, for over a month? I find it really tiring
walking him on the lead all the time. For me, it is a chore. The big question is
since we last saw him, has he eaten any poo? Yes. Oh no, but tell me, overall, do you
think he’s been doing it less? Yes. I think he’s got more focus on me. Excellent. Despite a few shameful snacking setbacks from Niles, Craig is keen to see just how much
improvement has been made. So we’ve got a little bit of a challenge, Melanie.
Somebody might have accidentally left a little bit of dog poo out here. So I’d just
like to see how your recall training is going. Okay. With temptation at every turn,
will he listen to mum or eat the poo? Niles. Niles, Niles, Niles. Well done, Melanie. Excellent, well done, Melanie. That’s really good. Although we got really close to it, he
didn’t eat any of it, did he? No, I’m really surprised. We’ve got to look at the positive. Niles has become much, much more responsive to Melanie and focused
on her in different environments, which is really helping to overcome the
problem of eating poo. Diet, as a nutrient deficiency can cause strange
eating habits. Focus on walks so they’re not hunting for something to eat. And recall so your dog can be called back if they’re eating something they
shouldn’t.

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