Dogs tend to have a quirk with nasty stuff: dumpster diving, snacking through animal carcasses, and rolling in smelly poop. While it’s gross, rolling on poop has an explanation, which traces back to their instincts in the wild. But no matter what the reason is, pet owners should know how to stop dogs from rolling in poop as this habit can wreak havoc on your household.
Rolling is a characteristic nature of canines. They do this for various reasons, including playtime, boredom, dreaming, and so on.
Unfortunately, your clean and freshly bathed dog will also roll on poop anytime it wants to. This is frustrating, not to mention that your pooch may rub off the stinky feces on your furniture if you’re not watching.
Below, we discuss why your dog does this, how to stop it, and how to clean your pooch in case it happens to roll on the stinky stuff.
Why do dogs like rolling in poop?
Rolling in poop may seem like a crazy idea, but there are a few explanations for why your dog does it. Below are some of the reasons as observed by experts:
1. To hide their scent
In the wild, canines need to hide their scent to evade predators. One effective way to do this is to roll on poop, mud, or basically anything that will trick the noses of the enemies.
Almost every dog will do this, but it tends to be more prevalent among hunting breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, English Pointers, English Setters, and more. By hiding their scent, hunting dogs can go near the target without being detected.
Despite domestication, rolling in poop remains an ingrained instinct among house dogs. This is why your pet will suddenly roll on its own or other animal’s poop even if there’s no predator around.
2. To mark their territory
Another reason behind this behavior is territorial marking. As pack creatures, dogs are territorial and will always mark their place to ward off other animals.
While urinating is the most common way of marking a territory, rolling on another dog’s poop is also occurring. Canines do this to send a message that they’ve been on the spot and claim it as their own.
This is a dominant move for a dog, although it looks gross from the point of view of a pet owner.
3. To ease boredom
Bored dogs will often look for ways to entertain themselves – including rolling in fresh poop. High-energy dogs are more likely to do this. Some of these canines are Beagles, German Shepherd, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Jack Russell Terrier, and Siberian Husky to name a few.
Pet owners should take this behavior as a cue that their dogs require further physical and mental stimulation. If not, the canine will keep on venting its energy toward negative behavior.
4. To communicate with the pack
Dogs roll in poop to get its scent and communicate it with the pack. It’s like the canine saying “hey guys, look what I found!”. For domesticated canines, the owners might be a member of the pack.
It allows the pack to identify the scent and find it. It can be for safety, new territory, and more.
Overall, domesticated canines can outgrow this habit, especially if they were bred to dampen such instinct. With proper training, you can wean your pet off this pattern.
How to stop dogs from rolling in poop
Rolling in poop is a very frustrating scenario among dog owners. It translates to a stinky mess that requires a full bath, if not extensive spot cleaning. To prevent this from happening in the future, here are some steps that you can take:
1. Keep your dog busy
The best way to stop your dog from rolling in poop is to give it an alternative behavior. This way, the canine will use its energy on more productive and cleaner activities.
You can start by increasing your dog’s exercise if the cause of the behavior is boredom. Morning walks and short playtime sessions throughout the day will help a lot.
However, make sure that the exercise level of your dog matches its breed. For example, if you own a Bulldog, it’s not a good idea to push it to the limits when it comes to physical exertion. This is because Bulldogs are brachycephalic and can easily overheat when over-exercised.
Aside from exercise, it will help a lot to keep your indoor space interesting for the dog. You can get new interactive toys that will occupy your pet’s time.
2. Pick up after your dog
Your dog can’t roll in poop if there’s nothing to find in the first place. It’s important to clean up after your dog, so the pooch won’t go back and have the chance to roll on its excrement.
You should practice this all the time, even if it’s in your yard, the dog park, and other public space. You’ll also get to spare other pet owners whose canines also like rolling in feces.
3. Train your dog
Training your dog for basic commands like ‘come’ or ‘leave it’ will be a good start to combat its poop rolling habit.
Take note that this process requires patience. Also, each dog responds differently to training, therefore training speed varies widely.
Nevertheless, the reward system never fails in combatting negative behavior if done right.
For example, if you see your dog sniffing something on the ground, say ‘leave it’ and then call its name. If your dog comes to you, reward it with a small treat right away. This will enforce the idea that answering commands and leaving the poop behind is a rewarded response.
This may take a few attempts before your dog finally gets the hang of the training. Always remain patient and never shout or punish your dog.
4. Keep the dog leashed outdoors
If you’re bringing your poop-rolling dog outdoors, it’s important to keep your dog on a short leash. This way, you will have control over its access to the surroundings.
The moment your dog tries to seek something on the ground, use the training method I discussed above. You can also end the outdoor trip right away to teach your dog that attempting to roll on the dirt has its consequences.
5. Keep your dog indoors
As much as possible, you should keep your dog indoors while you train it for basic commands. This way, your doggo won’t get to seek poop on the ground where it can roll.
Still, you shouldn’t just lock up your pooch. It’s important to keep the canine well stimulated, so it won’t try to escape or destroy things around the house.
When taking your dog outdoors, make sure that you use a leash as stated above.
6. Do not punish your dog
As much as a dog rolling in poop is a nightmare for pet owners, it doesn’t warrant physical violence. Punishing your dog for the act will not fix it, not to mention that it may only create more behavioral problems in the long run.
Remember that positive reinforcement is always the best way to go. If your efforts aren’t showing results, you should never hesitate to enlist the help of a professional dog trainer.
How to clean your dog if it rolled in poop
Did you find your dog happily rolling in a fresh pile of stinky poop? If so, it’s important to clean up the canine right away before it runs indoors and spread the bomb throughout your house.
Here’s what you need to do:
🐶Put gloves and a mask on
Before you touch your dog, make sure that you put a pair of gloves on as well as a mask. You don’t want to get all the nasty stuff on your hands and face.
🐶Remove any solid debris
Next, remove any solid debris or poop clinging to your dog’s coat. This will make bathing easy as you don’t have to deal with clumps of stinky poop.
Make sure that you dispose of the poop and clean up the spot where it came from, so your dog won’t go back to it later.
🐶Brush your dog
Next, you should give your dog a quick brush. This will help remove matting before a bath, which is something you should practice all the time.
Just make sure that you wash the brush after use as the remnants of poop your dog rolled in will likely rub off on it.
🐶Give it a full bath
Lastly, give your dog a full bath. Rinse its body with water first to remove as much poop left as possible.
After that, you can use your dog’s regular shampoo, ensuring that it penetrates well through the coat. We suggest leaving the suds soaking on your dog’s fur for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the instructions on the shampoo label.
Once you’re satisfied with the soaking time, rinse the suds well and make sure your dog is squeaky clean. You can check if there’s still shampoo left by petting your dog’s wet coat. If it still feels slimy or slippery, you need to keep rinsing.
🐶Dry your dog’s coat
After the bath, you should dry your dog right away. You should also let your pooch shake its body to remove as much moisture as possible.
If you let your wet dog roam around, dirt and dust will cling to its drippy fur. Also, it will increase the risk of matting.
🐶Keep your dog indoors
Lastly, always keep your dog indoors if you can’t monitor its activities closely. This way, you won’t be treated to a stinky surprise at home.
If you want to give your dog access indoors without close supervision, I suggest that you put up a dog run instead. This will let your pooch access a specific area of your yard without having the chance to seek and roll in poop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do dogs roll in the same spot?
A: Dogs roll in the same spot due to their scent. Your pet probably likes the odor and rolling is one way to get the scent attached to its body. This is completely normal for canines because of their instincts in the wild, playfulness, or learned behavior. Unless rolling is becoming uncontrollable, I don’t think it should be a big concern on your part.
Q: Should I let my dog roll in the grass?
A: Rolling in the grass isn’t really dangerous for dogs. Canines love doing this because of the scent. However, make sure that the grass doesn’t have any pesticides that could potentially harm your pet. Also, you should watch out for animal poo that might be on the grass your dog is rolling in. Also, make sure that your dog has flea prevention as fleas also harbor on the ground.
Q: What did my dog roll in?
A: Most dogs will roll in nasty stuff like poop, dead animals, bird droppings, and other decaying matter. Whatever it is, you should give your pooch a quick bath to remove the stink and bacteria. This is to keep your dog’s coat clean and to prevent the canine from rubbing the nasty stuff on your furniture.
Q: What animal poop do dogs roll in?
A: Dogs tend to have an affinity for goose poop, fox poop, and cowpats. Nevertheless, canines can roll on just about anything that stinks. This scent-rolling habit is a hard-wired instinct, so prevention is the best way to stop it. Also, make sure that your yard is free from any nasty stuff before letting your dog roam around.
Q: Why do dogs like filthy stuff?
A: Dogs tend to be attracted to anything with a strong odor. Unfortunately, this includes animal feces. Aside from rolling it, other canines would even consume the excrement. As gross as it is, such behavior is common among canines and can be prevented with the right approach.
Knowing how to stop dogs from rolling in poop will keep your dog clean and your house safe from a stinky mess. Just remember that patience, training, and positive reinforcement will go a long way here.
Do you have other tips to add here? Share your thoughts below!