"Our bichons eat dog poo - theirs and other dogs'. We have two that are 10 years old.  We tried various methods to stop them since they were puppies.

"They are often ill when they eat it and it is not always easy to clear it up before they get to it and we can’t let them off their leads, which is a shame." Marilyn stringer, Bromley

The clinical term for this is Coprophagia and it is not an uncommon behaviour, writes animal behaviour expert Sophie Marriott of canine behaviour consultancy Endless Pawsibilities.

Some dogs might do it due to abnormal levels of nutrients, so please discuss this with your vet.

If no medical cause can be identified it would indicate a behavioural problem.

Keep the dogs on lead and allow them to approach some faeces.

Before they are able to get close enough to eat it, give a firm no and take the dog away, then reward with a treat.

This will reinforce that if they do not carry out the behaviour they get rewarded. You can also use aversion techniques such as a citronella collar.

Dietary changes can be successful; a highly digestible diet should be fed (eggs, chicken, rice and fish). 

Most dogs appear to prefer consuming well formed faeces so adding vegetable oil to the diet will produce a less formed and therefore less appealing stool.

Adding pineapple to their diet can prevent this behaviour (consult with your vet before adding to their diets).

As this behaviour has continued for a long time, I would recommend that you seek professional assistance.

We want to hear your dog-related questions or problems, e-mail jim.palmer@london.newsquest.co.uk and we’ll see if Sophie can help.

If you would like to enquire about booking a private consultation with Sophie go to endlesspawsibilities.co.uk