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Why do dogs roll in poo? .. and other stinky stuff..


Dogs .. don't you just love them?!

I think you can tell from the title of this post how my week is going .. 

Considering dogs are supposed to have this amazing sense of smell, I don’t think much of their choice of poo-fume.  It’s certainly not on my wish list!

It won’t come as a surprise that Thai is the offender .. again .. That’s twice in two days!  I actually managed to steer her clear this morning from a pile of goose poo she found yesterday (I thought I was on the ball!).  However, of course she managed to seek out another area under a shrub.  She took great delight in covering herself with her “prize”.   

As she’s not keen on showers and baths, I’m hoping it’s third time lucky and she learns from it (although I doubt it ..)

Thai is obviously much closer to nature than Simba who has been “hoomanised” during her time with us.  Unfortunately, Thai continues to take great delight in seeking out pongy stuff to role around in. 

Why do dogs roll in poo and other stinky stuff?

It’s a good question .. why the heck would you want to?   It’s actually quite common and natural behaviour (if you’re a dog!).  

Unfortunately behaviourists and scientists are not actually quite sure as to the exact reason behind it.  However, there are a few theories.

They are trying to hide their own smell

Going back to their instinct, ancestors of our current dogs had to hunt for their food.  By covering themselves in another smell that’s not their own, they could creep up on their prey without scaring it away.  Unfortunately they’re clearly not that bothered about scaring away their owner .. 


They are trying to communicate with their “pack”

 It could be a way of telling other members of the pack about their amazing “find” (Well, aren’t we just privileged?!..). This could explain the reason for rolling around in a dead animal that is up for grabs for dinner time, but poo? … seriously? 

They are marking their own scent 

It may be that your dog is trying to leave behind their own scent, rather than trying to cover it up.  Potentially they are leaving a sign to other dogs to mark that they’ve been there to investigate the stinky stuff. 

So how do you cope with it?

As it’s instinctive (with the emphasis on STINK!!) behaviour, it’s unlikely you’re going to prevent them from doing it completely.  Making a loud sound, or squirting them with water may go somewhat to persuading them to give up the activity.  

If your dog has a habit of rolling around in their own poo, the best thing is to be vigilant and clear it up as soon as they’ve finished.  

Keeping them on a short leash when you’re taking them for a walk, so you can keep them under control when they’ve spotted an opportunity is another way. 

Let it go!

Sure, you can keep an eye out for dead animals and avoid any known areas.  However, when your dog is off lead and exploring at a distance, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get there in time to intervene.    

I suppose the shampoo will have to remain on standby, just in case. 


There are products on the market that claim to resolve the issue,  such as a remote controlled citronella dog collar which has some good results in curbing the behaviour.  However, opinions amongst dog owners are divided as to whether they feel comfortable using it on their pet.

Depending on the severity of the issue and how much of a problem this is causing, perhaps sometimes we’re just going to have to accept that they are just, well, … being a dog.

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