Rolling In Poop
I'm Too Cute To Roll In Poop!
My cocker spaniel is 9 years old this month and has rolled in dog poo three days in a row when we let him outside.
Do you know of any particular reason he is starting to do this?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
No-one's exactly sure why dogs like to roll in poop and other strong-smelling substances such as rotting carcases or fox pee, but they've been doing it for years and are likely to continue to do so!
Some of the theories are listed below:
- Many believe it's a throwback to the wild when dogs would roll in poop to camouflage their own smell so that they could get nearer to their prey before being detected.
Although our dogs no longer have to go hunting for their food, the trait remains.
- If you bath your dog in what we consider to be pleasantly smelling shampoos, your dog may prefer to smell more dog-like, which could be another reason why dogs roll in poop.
- Some dogs may roll in carrion to allow them to take the scent back to their pack to let them know they've found something good to eat - dinner's on them!
- On the other hand, they could be marking the carrion with their own scent to let potential scavengers know that the kill is theirs.
- They may simply enjoy the smell!
Stopping your dog from rolling in poop is not easy, but you might like to consider some of the following:
- Pick up your dog's poop as soon as he does it - logic says, if it's not there, he can't roll in it!
- When out on a walk, keep your dog on a leash - that way, you are in control.
- If your dog is good at returning when you call him, that may help. If you see him hovering or sniffing in the same spot for longer than usual, call him back before he has a chance to begin rolling. Any later, and you may not be able to stop him. When he returns, reward him well; give him a treat and lots of praise.
- Keep a tea-towel or small hand towel in the dirty laundry basket so that it picks up all the family's (your dog's pack) scent. Use this towel to wipe over your dog's back before you go for a walk and he may not feel the need to roll around in the muck - I've no evidence that this works, but it's worth a try.
- You might want to consider using a rattle tin (a sealed tin or bottle with pebbles or small coins in it). Shake this to shock your dog out of the moment and then call him back. This only works well if your dog is near enough to you to react to it.
An alternative to a rattle tin is a water pistol. Squirt your dog with water each time he rolls in poop and eventually he'll learn that unpleasant things happen to him when he rolls in poo, and he will eventually stop.
- A word of warning though - you need to be sure that your dog is about to roll in muck and not about to pee or poop as he may think he's being chastised for doing his business. If this happens, he may begin to mess in the house.