Some dogs are born with the penchant for poo. Others learn it by necessity. Mill dogs have significant reasons for the habit.
First of all let it be known that puppy mills generally purchase their dog food by the truckload because it’s cheap that way. Dog food companies are known to sweep up what’s left on the floor and supplement the loads with this ‘garbage.’ Hence the food the mills get isn’t of the quality you or I would feed.
Secondly, a feeding ‘schedule’ isn’t often adhered to in the mills. Sometimes dogs are fed every other day, sometimes less than that. When three or more dogs share a small wire cage, when food is finally thrown to them, there is a fight over who gets to eat. The dominant dog usually wins leaving the others without. This dog will eat so fast that most of the time the food doesn’t even get chewed.
With the lack of chewing the kibble is often undigested and comes through the dogs in their feces. Rather than going completely hungry the other dogs occupying that cage, or the ones below it, will eat the poo because there is some nutrition left in it and it’s better than starvation. I can’t imagine having to eat feces to survive your entire life.
Some dogs are able to get over this when rescued. Others live with the fear that they will starve again and eat whatever they can to prevent themselves from going hungry. Marshall still eats poo. I patrol the yard four times a day with a plastic bag to prevent as much of it as I can. I’m hoping that as he gets acclimated to ‘civilian’ life the memory of his former hunger will fade and he will decide that he no longer needs to compensate for possible starvation that in his mind is just beyond the next sunrise.