Why Do Dogs Roll in Poop? The Surprising Science Behind This Weird Behavior


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There's something about rolling in poop that just seems to appeal to dogs. Why do they do it? What is the science behind this weird behavior? In this blog post, we will explore the surprising reasons why dogs roll in poop!

Dogs roll in poop because they like the smell

Unsurprisingly, they might just like the smell.

The smell of poop is actually a result of bacteria breaking down the fecal matter.

These bacteria produce certain acids that have a strong odor. Dogs find this smell appealing, and they will roll in it to coat their fur with the scent.

Remember that dogs generally use their nose to navigate around in life. So, naturally, the stronger the scent, the more attracted they are to it.

The worst part is - while they can recognize the scent of other dogs' poop, they'll basically roll around in ANY animal's poop that they find appealing.


Dogs roll in poop to mask their own scent

Another interesting reason is that they have a natural instinct to hide their scent from predators.

By rolling in poop, they are essentially masking their own scent with the smell of feces. This can help them to avoid being detected by potential threats.

Dogs communicate via poop

Dogs also roll in poop to communicate with other dogs. When dogs roll in poop, it sends a signal to other dogs that says "I'm here."

This is why you may see dogs rolling around in each others' feces - it's a way of communicating and marking their territory.

It also tells other dogs where they've been - essentially, dogs bring back the smells and food of where they visited (i.e. the beach, or the park, etc).

This allows other dogs, or their own pack members to follow that smell back to that location. In the past, this would help wild dogs find a food source from a distance away.

Essentially, think of their poop like a really stinky calling card.

Dogs roll in poop to show dominance over other dogs

Some dogs will roll in poop to show dominance over other dogs in their pack.

By marking their territory with the smell of feces, they are sending a message that they are in charge.

In the wild, a wolf or dog would roll on the poop to also override the scent, essentially marking territory and showing dominance - by have more 'land' that they cover.

It's not fully accurate, as this behavior generally is seen more in wild wolves. However, since modern dogs probably came from ancient wolves, it may answer that question somewhat.

Dogs roll in poop because it's a natural behavior

As seen above, much of their behavior is natural from the wolves' point of view, and many of those traits passed on to our modern dogs.

Dogs have been rolling in poop for years, and it's a behavior that is ingrained in their DNA.

There is no one specific reason why dogs do this - it's simply something that they enjoy doing.

It's an attention seeking behavior

Dogs roll in poop to get attention from their owners. They know that when they cover themselves in feces, their owners will come over and clean them up.

This is a way of getting some extra love and attention from their human companions.

This can be seen as a bad thing - essentially whenever they want something, they'll do this to get it.

If you suspect this is happening, see below on how to stop a dog from rolling in poop.

They're just bored.

Lastly, another reason why dogs roll in poop could be because they're bored.

If a dog has nothing else to do, they may resort to rolling in feces as a way of entertaining themselves.

This is generally seen more in puppies and younger dogs, who may not have learned any better ways to entertain themselves.

This usually happens more for puppies that are under stimulated and have nothing to do.

If you think this is happening because they're bored, you could spend more time with them and come up with harder trainings or play sessions to keep them stimulated and occupied.

how to stop a dog from rolling in poop?

This is probably the question you're most interested in, especially if your dog has taken to rolling in poop as a regular pastime.

There are a few things you can do to discourage this behavior:

- Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise.

If they're bored, they may be more likely to roll in poop out of boredom. A tired dog is less likely to engage in this type of behavior.

- Provide plenty of toys and playtime for your dog - this will keep them occupied and entertained.

- Clean up any animal feces that you see immediately - don't give your dog the opportunity to roll in it.

- Whenever you're walking your dog near a poop hotspot, either guide your dog away, or train your dog to recall to you. This will involve some amount of dog training, however.

- If all else fails, use a deterrent like bitter apple spray (available at pet stores)


So, to conclude: dogs roll in poop for many reasons, but the most common reason is to disguise their scent from predators or prey.

By rolling in feces, dogs are able to mask their own smell and make themselves less visible to potential threats.

This behavior is instinctual and largely determined by a dog’s genes.

Also sometimes, your dog rolls in poop just because he likes it, or likes the smell of it.

So next time your pooch comes bounding back into the house covered in mud and excrement, remember that he’s just doing what comes natural to him.

So there you have it - you have seven reasons why dogs roll in poop.

about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.

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