Why Does My Dog Roll in Poop?
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It happens to all of us at some point, we're taking our dog out on a walk and allow them to run free at the park. That's when our dog unexpectedly throws themselves on the ground and rolls in the poop of other dogs. At this point we tell them to stop but it leaves us wondering why they would do that.
In this AnimalWised article we're going to explain why your dog rolls in poop and how to stop it. Keep reading to learn more!
Why does my dog roll in poop?
As a dog companion, it is up to us to understand our dog's behaviour, even when it's quite bizarre. There are a couple of reasons why your dog may roll in poop. Here are the most common reasons:
They want to mark their scent
It's common for dogs to mark their scent by rubbing against certain things. Feces, especially that of dogs, have a large number of pheromones that provide a lot of information to other animals.
You may have noticed that your dog first rubs their face in the feces, and then rolls in it with their entire body. This is because dogs have some pheromone-producing glands in their snouts, so that they not only receive information from the other dog's feces, but also impregnate them with their own pheromones. This is also applicable for dogs that roll in dead animal remains.
They want to camouflage their scent
Although we like it when our dog has a pleasant smell, dogs do not usually like scented shampoos or perfumes that are sometimes applied on them when they are bathed. This can make them uncomfortable with their own scent and need to acquire a more natural scent at all costs, which is why they sometimes roll in poop.
On the other hand, the need to camouflage their smell is something that they also carry in their genes, since their ancestors used to rub themselves in feces or other foul smells to go unnoticed by their prey. In fact, modern wolves have been shown to do this as well. You may also be interested in why dogs roll in grass.
They're trying to get your attention
Your dog is also likely to roll in poop simply because they're trying to get your attention. A dog is dependent on their guardian and may somtimes try to catch their attention in different ways, such as excessive barking, crying, howling, bringing you toys, nibbling your leg or misbehaving... and yes, even rolling in poop.
Dogs may often misbehave, doing things they know you do not encourage so as to get your attention. In these cases the issue isn't how they get your attention, the root of the problem is that they are communicating to you that they need more attention. Learn more in our article about why does my dog want my attention all the time.
How to stop my dog from rolling in poop
Now that we understand why a dog may feel inclined to roll in poop, let's take a look at how to stop our this behaviour as it isn't hygienic and can put our dog at risk of certain diseases transmitted through feces. Here are our tips to stop your dog from rolling in poop:
Pay attention to your dog when out on walks
The first thing you need to do is to pay more attention when walking your dog and at the park. Make sure there are no feces on the grass before letting them loose. You will also need to make sure your dog knows the basic commands of obedience, such as “sit”, “come”, etc., as this will make your experience easier when it comes to caring for them in different environments. By training our dog to respond to these simple commands we are able to keep them safe in different situations, as well as bond with them through training.
Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is the most effective method when it comes to training dogs and changing their troublesome behaviour. Positive reinforcement can be done through small treats, soft and kind words or even affection. It simply lets our dog know that we encourage that behaviour, they then associate that behaviour with something positive and will repeat it. You can use positive reinforcement to teach your dog to avoid feces and to respond to the basic commands you teach them.
Use a neutral shampoo when bathing them
If you're using scented shampoo or any other scented product, try to change to neutral shampoo when bathing them. This will help your dog feel more comfortable with their scent and stop rolling in poop and other stinky things. You must also be careful not to use any harmful chemicals when cleaning their bed, blankets, toys, etc.
If you have any doubts on what products to use, ask your veterinarian for further guidance as they will be able to indicate good quality and dog-friendly products near you.
Visit a canine ethologist
Lastly, if your dog is rolling in poop just to get your attention, or if you've tried all the other tips on the list but they continue to roll in poop, it's time to visit a canine ethologist who will be able to study and improve your dog's emotional stability and wellbeing. This is because your dog may have certain destructive behaviour or other behavioural issues due to depression, anxiety or any other emotional problem.
We also encourage you to check out our videos below on topic mentioned in our article.
If you want to read similar articles to Why Does My Dog Roll in Poop?, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.