Yesterday was a 7-poop walk. Just two from Claude and five from other dogs with owners, who either didn’t notice what their dog was doing, or didn’t have a poop bag at hand. I always carry at least two bags with me because Claude is a serial pooper. For example, this morning he pooped three-times on the walk. Nonetheless, I always try to get all the poops in one bag. I know this is more information than most of you need to know but this is interesting … I think I have unintentionally trained Claude to be a Poop Detection Dog — a PDDX in fact.

Lately, I have been taking a bunch of classical conditioning treats on walks because both Hugo and Claude have been jumped on and bitten recently. Claude simply ignores most attacks (as he ignores lots in life), but he is getting old and I would not want the onset of geriatric grumpies to change his stellar doggy demeanor. And so, whenever we see other dogs (and people), I offer him a food reward.

The other day was quiet and I had plenty of kibble left over and so, I gave Claude some food for simply being (existential treats) and while he was sniffing. After giving him a couple of pieces of kibble, I noticed that he had been sniffing poop from another dog and so I picked it up in Claude’s already occupied poop bag. (I always pick up other dog’s poop because that’s the only neighborly thing to do but also because I know that if there's any poop on the sidewalk anywhere, our neighbors would likely blame our dogs.) Now Claude normally takes a very (VERY) long time to learn new things (in terms of time and trials to criterion) but … I think he made a new association. I didn’t know he was sniffing poop when I offered him the kibble — it was quite by chance, but now I think he thinks that sniffing poop makes food happen. Yesterday, he located five unclaimed poops and after detecting each one, he looked at me expectantly. Moreover, after detecting the fourth poop, he actually sat. Well, I mean, I just had to give him a food reward for sitting. So yesterday, I returned home with seven poops in one bag (and that is probably some kind of record in itself — it takes a certain dexterity to be able to pick up poop with poop already inside the bag).

Today though, the haul was underwhelming. No detections at all. But we did walk the same route. Tomorrow, we’re going father afield.

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Love it! Found myself laughing aloud.

 Good for Claude!

I really got a kick out of reading this. After taking your advice about training at the food bowl, I thought I would teach my already vocal english mastiff to howl on que. He got it  -and really quickly too. Now, when its dinner time, he howls loudly, like Chewbacca, the Wookie on Star Wars. If its not dinner time and you pick up a food bowl, the howling begins.   I really like that fact I'm not the only that "accidently" teaches my dog things...

Too funny, just think if you would have had some liver treats. ?

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one that needs a wagon after a walk! Having two dogs and picking up after others (I'm on the Grateful Dogs Off-Leash board so feel compelled), I can get quite loaded down at times. Love the correlation between the treats and sniffing out the poop. You go Claude!

Ian, tell us a bit more about Claude, I was asked what type of dog he was, and I couldn't even find out for sure. Just wondering  what sort of fellow he is. ?


Great blog. I too get annoyed at those who think picking up poop is optional, or just not necessary. I even heard of one owner going to the trouble of bring poop bags along on his walks with his dogs and, instead of picking up the poop, he would loom over the deed, pretend to bag it, but actually put some other object (such as his mobile phone!) in the bag instead! He really didn't like poop. 


Hope the CC goes well and Claude and (the very cute) Hugo maintain happy around other dogs and people. I will be coming to your seminar in Gatwick, London in April, courtesy of my brother's Christmas present to myself (which he apparently emailed you personally about!). Can't wait. 


Take care

My almost two year old golden has a very friendly, sweet and submissive disposition.  We walk almost daily in our community and twice in the last few months other larger dogs have run from a distance toward her barking, jumping on her and even biting her.  I am wondering what the appropriate response for me is in this situation. She has not been hurt as yet, but, it is a concern for me and for her safety.