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Dog in the Kitty Litter

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Q: How can I stop my dog from eating cat poop?

A: ClickerExpo typically features a panel discussion on Saturday afternoon, with six of the nation's top clicker experts, trainers, and scientists. Attendees submit questions in advance. And what does someone ALWAYS want to know, from this group of brainy trainers? How to keep the dogs out of the cat's litter box. Oh please.

This is not a training question. Dogs like to raid the litter box because cat feces often contain a lot of undigested food that dogs can utilize. People hate dogs to do this because a) it is distasteful and b) it gives dogs terribly bad breath.

If you have cats and dogs in the same house, and the cats are provided with litter boxes, then the litter boxes must be located in areas where the dogs cannot get at them. That's it. That's the only answer. Personally, I use a covered litter box and set it in a closet that is always open (so the cat can get in) but inside a fairly tight circle of chicken wire. The cat easily jumps over the wire to get to the entrance but the dogs can't. End of problem.

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Karen Pryor is the founder and CEO of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Karen Pryor Academy. She is the author of many books, including Don't Shoot the Dog and Reaching the Animal Mind. Learn more about Karen Pryor or read Karen's Letters online.

litter box suggestion

My parents have covered litter-boxes for their cats, and they attached some heavy felt flaps as a door. Looks like something from the car wash.

Even better

The cats didn't like having to go to the laundry room to use the litter box (too much dog area to traverse) so we got a new covered litter box (Clever Cat) with a hole in the lid for them to get in/out and we keep it on a low table in the kitchen area.Works great - it took the cats two days to get used to it, but now everyone is happy (except the dog).



I am lucky enough that my dog

I am lucky enough that my dog doesn't eat dog poo, but he does looooove cat poo. Both litter trays are out of reach, but we have 6 cats in an enclosed backyard. They are all very clean, and bury all their poos of course.


Then puppy comes along and digs it all back up and eats it. There is no way I can keep the backyard free of cat poo, because it's all buried and I don't know where it is. The only thing I can do is to remove my puppy from the situation when I see him eating cat poo, and then go back out and remove it while puppy waits safely inside.


I have taught him 'drop it' which he does perfectly with toys, but it doesn't work with cat poo, it's just too yummy.


I would love to keep it all out of reach for him, but it can't be done.

cat poo

My dog almost died from cat food - cat food is so high in protein -started throwing up and got dehydrated-
It can cause pancreatitus and very bad for your dogs. Be careful-almost lost mine. It would be a shame

Is kitty litter safe for dogs...

I want to use kitty litter to absorb the pee smells in the patio of our small apartment in Southern California, but before I do so I want to know if its safe for our dog...I don't plan on leaving it down, just to absorb the water from cleaning for a day or two then clean it up, but is it safe?

dog loves poop-need help!

I have a golden retriever who absolutely loves poop. I solved the cat litter problem long ago by making it inaccessible to the dogs. I also have to keep my yard immaculate or he'll eat all the dog poop. I've even seen him poop, then turn around and immediately eat it! When we go for hikes in the outdoors he is a poop locating machine. He loves it all, dog poop, moose poop, goose poop, cow poop and the very best of all, horse poop. I like to let the dogs run off leash so they can get the most exercise out of our outdoor trail time, but he eats so much poop you'd think I never feed him at home. They get Solid Gold brand food, so I find it hard to belive he is doing it because he's missing something from his diet, but maybe I shouldn't rule it out. The vet assures me there is no danger of parasites from horse and cow poop in our Alaskan climate. But it is just so gross!

They only cure I've seen used is a shock collar, but I refuse to use one on my dogs. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

by the way, I've tried all the products to make his own poop taste bad, I've tried tabasco sauce etc..it only serves to make it tastier for him.

Resolving Coprophagia (feces eating)

Couple things to consider.

Diet - I'm not familiar with the food you are feeding. It may be worth a trial food change. Remembering to do so gradually and selecting a quality food. I love the Whole Dog Journal and they just released their 2009 Dry Dog Food review. Found in the February issue.

Teach the Behavior you want: I have successfully clicker trained "Leave it" to resolve feces eating. The behavior the dog learns here is moving away. When I taught this to resolve feces eating I chose to build strong behavior but not attach it to a verbal cue. The behavior I wanted to teach was that of the dog seeing the poop, the poop being the cue to move away, and rewarding the movement away from the poop with a positive reinforcer in the form of some really amazing treats.

When replacing one behavior with another behavior, consideration must be given to prevention. Each time our dogs do something they get better at it...good and naughty. In the instance of free-finding poop on hikes, my suggestion would be to use a leash to prevent any self-rewarding poop eating.

The behavior of Leave It is built in a series of steps and I believe you can find the how to on in the free clicker training resources. If you've not learned how to use a clicker yourself it might be an opportune time to find a trainer in your area to share this teaching tool with you.

Leave it is one of my favorite impulse control training games.

I also used this to teach my Bloodhound to leave our litter box alone and prevent counter surfing.

Lastly, please don't use a shock collar.

eating from the sidewalk

Hello, my name is Alex and I am the owner of an 8month west highland white terrie. Almost everytime I take him for a wallk (twice a day)he eats things from the ground. I usually try to prevent it from telling him to leave it and pulling his leash a bit reinforcing him with a trea when he does so. There are times though that he is so swift leaving me no time to react. When this happens I grab him from the back of his nick firmly telling him to "leave it" but he usually goes on swallowing it anyway. On one or two occasions he has also tried to bite me while I was doing this which was most frustrating. I was thinking of placing bits of food on the sidewalk with tabasco sauce on them as a negative reinforcement, reinforcing him with a treat when backing away from it. My only concern is that he might swallow it so fast that the tabasco sauce wont have time to kick in before the food is allready in his stomach.
What should I do?

tuckernmerlene's picture

Dog eating cat Litter/poop

We have a cat and a dog; I purchased a Mega Advanced LitterMaid Automatic Litter Box from DrsFosterSmith.com. It deposits waste in a disposable container you remove, empty and rinse. Basically the sensor senses waste deposits and rakes them away. Problem solved, the cat box is always clean, the puppy can't get to the poop. Litter box can sit anywhere and it can be used with an electrical outlet or batteries!

dog eating cat litter - suggestion

How about building a nicelooking wooden "box" (open in the top, too high sides for the dogs to jump) - or a wooden box with a lid, if the cat will accept that. Add a catflap to make access easy for the cat. (unless the dogs are so small that they can go through the catflap)
That way it looks nice in your home too, and there are less catlitter dragged onto the floor.
Good luck

dogs eating cat litter

I have 4 dogs and they love to eat cat litter, the only problem is we dont have a place to put it that is up and out of the way. If anyone has a suggestion i would be willing to read it.

dogs eating cat litter

We noved our litter box to the top of the clothes dryer. Works so far and isn't too inconvenient since the door to the drier is on the front, not the top.



dogs eating cat litter

Dear Frustrated with poop breath,

When I have dogs and cats living together, I put the cat box into a large card board box. Tall and wide enough so the dogs can't reach the litter But giving the cat enough space to move around the litter pan.

Good luck, Sandy

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