Dogs Rolling in Poop

My cocker spaniel has started rolling in poop. My dog is 9-years-old this month and has revelled in dog poo three days in a row now.

Do you know why he is doing this, and how can I get him to stop?

Golden cocker spaniel rolling in poop, on the grass.Cocker Spaniel rolling in poop

Dogs Rolling In Poop: Pauline's Answer

Reply from Pauline
Website Owner

Hi!

No one's exactly sure why dogs roll in poop and other strong-smelling substances, such as rotting carcases or fox pee, but they sure as heck love it!

They've been doing it for years and are likely to continue to do so!

Some of the theories I've come across 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 without being detected.

  • Sometimes they roll in carrion so that they can take the scent back to their pack, informing them that they've found something good to eat - dinner's on them!

  • On the other hand, the dog could be marking the carrion with their own scent to let potential scavengers know that the kill is theirs.

    Although our dogs no longer have to go hunting for their food, the trait still remains.

  • The shampoos we use to bathe our dogs are often pleasantly scented.

    Whilst we may prefer the scent, our dogs don't! They like to smell more doggie-like, which could be one of the causes of dogs rolling in poop.

  • They may simply enjoy the smell!

How To Stop Your Dog Rolling in Poop

Stopping dogs from rolling in poop may not be 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 you take him for a walk, keep your dog on a leash - that way, you are in control.

  • It will be helpful if your dog is good at returning when you call him. (Another good reason for teaching him to have a strong recall!).

    Watch him like a hawk, and when he's done the business, call him back to you.

  • As I said, watch your dog like a hawk. If you see your Cocker hovering or sniffing in the same spot for longer than usual, call him back before he has a chance to begin rolling.

    Leave it too long, and you may not be able to stop him. You'll be too late.

    When he returns, reward him well; give him a treat and lots of praise.

  • Another handy tip is to 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 moves to roll in the poop, and eventually, he'll learn that unpleasant things happen to him when he rolls in poo, and he will stop.

Rolling in Poop: Correction Timing

The timing of your dog's correction is vital.

Catch your pet just as he's about to roll in the poop to make sure he associates the squirt of water with rolling in poop.

A word of warning though, you need to be sure that your dog is about to roll in the muck and not about to pee or poop as he may think he's being chastised for doing his business.

If your dog believes he's being chastised or punished for going potty, he may begin to mess in the house and in secret.

Good luck! 

Visitor Comments: Dogs Rolling in Poop

Fox poop
By: Cocker Claire

Hi, Can anyone tell me if fox poop is dangerous to our cocker puppy; his eyes, stomach, etc? Thanks!


Dangers of Fox Poo
By: Pauline
Website Owner

Hi Cocker Claire!

Just like many other animals, foxes can carry parasites and spread disease. Although the threat of rabies was at one time real, nowadays, it is rare.

You're right to be concerned, but if you bathe your dog following contact with a fox, or its pee or poop, your dog should be fine.

Also, if a fox has been in your garden or yard, it's wise to clean that up too.

As long as you keep your dog up to date with his vaccinations, flea treatment and worming treatment, I think he'll be safe enough.

Here's a link to a website that will give you lots more information: Fox Project.

Hope this helps!


Cocker Spaniel Rolling In Poop!
By: Anonymous

My cocker spaniel often rolls in poop. I've put it down to the fact that my dog is just so happy to be running out in the fields, and he likes to smell bad!

I'm fed up with having to bath him, and I don't think it's good for his coat.

I wash him in a particularly fragrant shampoo. Perhaps that's why he does it? I'll try changing his shampoo to a non-scented version.

Thanks for a great article!