Ask Ashley – March 2024

Ask Ashley

Animal expert, Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA, is the Senior Director of Animal Behavior, Foster & Rescue. Ashley studied under the Council of Certified Professional Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT), is CPDT-KA certified and American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certified. She also earned certifications for Behavior Pharmacology and Separation Anxiety through Heartland Positive Dog Training Alliance (HPDTA) Training. Email for a chance to have your pet question answered in KC Parent Magazine.

Poop Eating Catastrophe

My dogs have a disgusting habit of eating poop in the backyard. It’s so bad that one of my dogs will start eating poop when another dog is actively pooping. I have tried yelling at them, but if I do, they will eat it as fast as they can then run away from me. I’ve tried the over-the-counter supplements at the pet store, but they don’t seem to work at all. I’m so embarrassed of their foul-smelling breath when my friends come over. How can I get them to stop this behavior? – Sarah Campbell

Coprophagia (eating feces) can be a tough habit to break for many dogs. Trying to find out why they eat poop is key in understanding how to curb it. Dogs may eat poop because of stress, parasites, boredom, poor diet, issues with their pancreas, and sometimes they just do it because they enjoy it, which is one of the tougher ones to break. Try to find out why, then you can work on it. I also recommend hanging out with your pooches outside so you can pick their stool up immediately and redirect them from eating it. Do this for a few months and work on the commands “leave it” and “come” so you can direct them without being close by. There are also some supplements for bad breath if you would like to try those. – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

How Do I Keep My Dog From Fence Fighting?

We got a couple of dogs from a family member that could no longer take care of them. We love them dearly, but they will not stop fighting with my neighbor’s dogs through the fence. They immediately go to the fence to start a fight as soon as we let them go outside for a restroom break. Please help! Can they eventually live peacefully together? – Andrea Johnson

Teach your dogs the “leave It” command when they are inside. Once they have learned this command reliably, take them outside on a leash and get close enough to the fence so that your dog is still listening to you and will follow basic commands, but can view the dogs in the other yard. Once the dog barks at the other dogs, say “leave it” and make them sit. Reward calming behavior and redirect them into “watch me” when they are reacting to the other dogs. Do this routinely until they learn the command, then try it closer to the fence. This will take patience but is highly effective. It would be even better if your neighbors practiced this with the dogs on their side of the fence. Train your dogs individually for even quicker results. – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

Awful Allergies

My dog has terrible allergies and itches herself raw all the time. She is most happy in the winter when it’s cold, but other than that she gets inflamed and will bite her tummy and paws until they bleed. I use Benadryl which helps a little but it’s not enough. I even do steroid injections to get her to stop itching so much. Any ideas on how to get her some relief? – Blake T.

I would highly recommend seeing an allergist if her allergies are that severe. They can do an allergy test to find out exactly what your dog is allergic to, from grass/molds to things inside your home such as wool. They can even test to see if your dog is allergic to human dander. Yes, that’s right. Dogs can be allergic to humans, and it happens more often than people believe. When you get the results, you can try and eliminate the things your dog is allergic to or can start your dog on immunotherapy. Hope she gets the help she needs. – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

Email for a chance to have your pet question answered in KC Parent Magazine! For anyone interested in a Behavior Class or Consulation, our expert Behavior Team can work with you to help resolve any behavioral challenges you are experiencing with your pet. CLICK HERE for more information and registration.

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