Why do dogs roll in poop?

You could have had it all, but your dog's rolling in the poop. Why do dogs seem to love poop so much, why do they roll in it, and what can you do to avoid the stinky stuff?

Why do dogs roll in poop, and what can you do about it?
Why do dogs roll in poop, and what can you do about it?  © Unsplash/Karsten Winegeart

Every dog owner has been there: Walkin' along the road, heading to the park, wrestling your perfect pooch away from piles of excrement every step of the way. Well, that might have been an exaggeration, but boy-oh-boy do dogs seem to absolutely adore poop! It's bizarre but true, so what's behind it?

In this dog guide, TAG24 will take a look at why dogs roll in poop. Why are they obsessed with other animal's excrement? What can we do to stop them rolling in poop?

Why do dogs roll around in poop?

Poop rolling is, ultimately, a communication method your dog uses for a variety of different purposes. While humans communicate primarily through speech and sight, dogs gather information first and foremost through the scents they smell and the sounds they hear. Poop smells pretty strong and can indicate a variety of different things.

There are a number of reasons why dogs sometimes roll in poop

  • Enjoyment and pleasure: Yes, dogs often grow quite fond of the stinky smell we all dread so much. Dogs may also roll in dead things because they like the smell; it's like a canine perfume.
  • They are concerned about predators: Dogs will roll in poop to cover up their natural odors and replace them with another animal's smell. The idea is to keep them hidden from other doggos or even other animals.
  • Bring the smell with them: Our canine companions are pack creatures and want their family to know where they've been. As such, they may roll in poop or other nasty things to notify us where they went and what they have been doing.
  • Marking territory: These gorgeous,, four-legged beasties are highly territorial animals that will continuously try to keep their home their own. Rolling in poop and spreading their own scent around will help them achieve this goal.
  • Boredom: Sometimes dogs just get a bit bored and want some entertainment – what's better than rolling around in excrement? There's nothing more entertaining than that!

Why dogs roll in poop is beyond the realm of most people's imagination. It's a bizarre and disgusting behavior that has cat lovers wincing and dog lovers face-palming, but it's just a fact of life. Don't be worried about your doggo; rolling in poop is gross but perfectly normal.

It's time to get real: No one really knows why dogs roll in poop. There is a lot of speculation based on anecdotal evidence and humanity's scientific understanding of canine kind. These are simply the most likely explanations.

Why do dogs like to roll in poop?

Dogs seem to like poop in all of its forms. Many people have wondered over the years why their dogs seem to take such an interest in children's dirty diapers. The reason why they're so obsessed, though, is a little bit more disgusting than just a bout of simple curiosity.

You see, our canine companions weren't always, well, our companions. For millions of years, the ancestors of the modern-day doggo roamed the wilderness, scavenging for food. During this period, they would eat anything and anyone that they could get their jaws around – after all, a dog's gotta eat what a dog's gotta eat.

Part of this diet was the fecal matter of other animals, which they ate with gusto and excitement. That same desire for poop persists to this day, though it has been drowned out by domestication, as most dogs don't need to scavenge for food anymore. While dogs don't generally eat poop when they're older, they will as puppies (or as the mother of puppies).

In the end, dogs simply have a psychological connection with poop. They like the taste and the smell. As a result, dogs will eat the poop, roll in the poop, and do whatever they want with the poop.

Why do dogs like to roll in deer, cow, bird, and cat poop?

The answer to this question leans into the answers we have already provided: Dogs like to roll in other animals' poo because of their evolutionary instincts, their love of poop, and their territorial personalities. It really is as simple as that, and isn't anything to worry about.

Whether your dog is rolling in dear poo, cow poo, bird poo, or cat poo, it will be happy and will be doing it purposefully. Of course, keep your dog away from the excrement of animals that could carry diseases, but don't worry too much if your dog starts going to town on some other dog's logs when you take it for a walk.

Stay calm: If your dog starts rolling in poop, the first thing to figure out is where that poop came from. If you're at a dog park and it's clearly dog poop, things are probably going to be fine. If it could be rat poop or something more concerning, try to stop your dog from rolling around in it.

Is there anything you can do to stop your dog rolling in poop?
Is there anything you can do to stop your dog rolling in poop?  © Unsplash/James Haworth

Dog rolling in poop: What should I do?

Everyone wants to know how to stop a dog from rolling in poop when they're out and about, no matter why the dog's doing it. Ultimately, most people don't care why a dog is behaving a certain way (unless it indicates a medical problem), and are more interested in knowing how to deal with it.

Training is crucial if you want to be able to stop your dog from rolling in poop. You want to be able to control your dog's behavior enough that it won't even approach a lumpy log, eliminating the need to deal with the nasty result!

Here's how to stop your dog from rolling in poop

  • Command training: You should teach your dog plenty of words, not just "sit." One of those commands should be something like "Get off it" or "Stop," and should be tied directly to your dog stopping whatever it's doing and waiting for you.
  • Leash training: Make sure you have a good harness or leash for your doggo and that it is well trained to use it. It's much easier to control your dog when it's on the leash, and you'll be able to easily pull it away from any bubbling brown blobs.
  • Clicker training: Well-organized and timed clicker training is the perfect way to stop your dog from rolling in poop.
  • Disapproval: Your dog will always want to feel approved of and like it is doing good by its human. If your dog ever behaves in a naughty way (like rolling in poop, for example), show your disapproval clearly and strongly (but safely, of course).

Ultimately, there is not a lot you can do to totally discourage this behavior. You just need to consistently do a couple of the things listed above, have patience, and do your best. Good luck!

Things get messy when dogs roll in poop

There's nothing worse than having a dog that's obsessed with poop. It's about more than just the mess that ensues. Your dog will need to be bathed, your house will need to be cleaned, and steps will need to be taken to get rid of the smell. In other words: Dogs that roll in poop are an absolute nightmare!

In the end, it all comes down to training. You need to get your dog trained from an early age, and you need to be solid with your commands. If your dog is obedient and respects you, then it will be a lot easier to stop the plop.

Cover photo: Unsplash/Karsten Winegeart

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