Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop? (And How To Stop It)

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Dog rolling on ground in poop (caption: Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop?)

Dogs like to roll in smelly things. What is it about poop, dead things, and other smelly stuff that makes our dogs dive in? Find out why dogs love smelling nasty and how you can stop this behavior.

Why Do Dogs Roll In Stinky Stuff?

There are a few theories as to why our dogs like to smell rancid.

Dogs Want To Smell “Good”

As humans, we like the smell of perfumes and shampoos, but this isn’t true for dogs. Dogs like to cover themselves in a scent that is acceptable to them. You may find that your dog likes to find the smelliest thing to roll around in right after you’ve bathed him. That’s because your dog isn’t crazy about that “shower fresh” scented shampoo you use on him. Dogs like the smell of garbage, rotting food, poop, carcasses, and other smelly and disgusting things.

To Help With Hunting

Your dog may be trying to mask his scent. This is an instinctual behavior that his wild ancestors used to help them sneak up on their prey. Wolves still do this today to help cover their scent during a hunt.

To Tell Others Where They’ve Been

Dogs smell one another, and we like to think of it as a form of greeting. To dogs, this is a way for them to tell where the other has been. A dog may roll around in a carcass or other smelly thing to share with others what they’ve encountered on their journey.

As A Form Of Marking

Your dog may be attempting to leave his scent behind, similar to marking. You may notice on a walk that your dog likes to mark everything and anything. If your dog is repeatedly rolling all over areas on your walks, he may be rolling in another dog’s marking territory in an attempt to tell others that he has been there and investigated the odor.

4 Ways To Stop A Dog From Rolling In Poop

  1. Pick up after your dog. Go on potty breaks with him and pick up any of his poop with a pooper scooper or poop bags.
  2. Keep your dog on a short leash. If your dog likes to roam on your walks, the best thing you can do is keep him next to you, so you can direct him away from smelly stuff. Here are some dog leash options for you.
  3. Distract your dog as soon as he starts rolling. Shake your keys or a jar of coins, make a loud noise, spray him with water, etc. Just make sure you do it as soon as he starts rolling.
  4. Teach him the “leave it” command. If you see your dog starting to home in on something smelly, tell him to leave it and continue past the item.

How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

Are you giving your dog lots of baths lately? We understand why. Once you get your dog’s rolling behavior under control, find out how long you can go between baths and get some dog bathing tips. These pet odor neutralizers may also come in handy when you cannot get to the bath soon enough!

Need More Help?

If you have tried all of the above and nothing seems to do the trick, see your veterinarian for advice or try using a professional dog trainer. They might be able to diagnose the issue and instruct what to do for your dog’s messy situation.

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