The Poop Patrol. Steps for teaching your dog to help clean up.

Is your dog a member of The Poop Patrol? If you teach your dog to “find their poop” then it makes cleaning up much easier! 

Cailie’s ready for Poop Patrol!

When we were on vacation visiting Bob and Susan Ryder of Pawsitive Transformations some time ago, I watched Daisy help Bob clean up. I thought it was so fun that Bob had taught Daisy to find her poop. I never considered it!

So what to do? Grab some footage of the goal behavior of Find Your Poop and share it.

And guess what? Rachel Thornton of Cold Nose College Natchez Trace has trained this behavior as an alternative behavior to coprophagia.

We had fun posting this video on the Cold Nose College Facebook page earlier this week.

In the video, Bob Ryder of Pawsitive Transformations, LLC is showing how he sends Daisy to find the spots where she’s pooped. Next, Cailie and I get in the game. In the video at around 4:15 I sincerely believe Cailie is taking me on a wild goose chase, then at around 5:17 she totally surprises me. Oh me of little faith!

It’s an easy behavior teach and put on cue so that your dog can help in the cleanup process.

Here’s how I trained Cailie to “Find Your Poop”: 

Most dogs will sniff an area where they pooped (or another dog has pooped). I used the training process of capturing to help Cailie learn what I wanted. Capturing is taking advantage of a behavior your dog offers naturally and then marking and reinforcing that behavior

When out on a walk and Cailie stopped to poop, I’d watch and wait patiently. As soon as she finished her business and turned around to sniff that fresh pile of stinky poop (ok, stinky to me, likely not her!), I “captured” the naturally occurring behavior of “sniffing the poop.”  I used a verbal marker (the word Yes!) and followed with a reinforcer (piece of yummy food your dog really likes).  

Because Cailie was so consistent in turning around to sniff that stinky pile, I began adding the verbal cue “Find Your Poop” just a few seconds before she began sniffing. I repeated this for a few days.

Next I begin adding the cue. When we walking about and I’d spot a pile of poop I had yet to pick up, I’d say the cue “Find Your Poop” as we neared the pile. She sniffed it and I’d mark and reinforce.  Voila! A trained behavior on cue. 

Sure, you can scout around your yard or property cleaning up by yourself or you can be aided in the search by the four-legged expert with their nose! Just might save cleaning your shoes too. 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner is a CPDT-KA, a CSAT (Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer), a Pat Miller Certified Trainer Level 2, Faculty for the Victoria Stilwell Academy of Dog Training and Behavior, a dog*biz Certified Professional Dog Walker and the founder of Cold Nose College in Murphy, North Carolina. She enjoys providing behavior consulting and training solutions to clients in the tri-state area of North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, as well as offering educational opportunities and distance consults for clients, dog trainers and dog hobbyists throughout the U.S. and Europe.


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