Understanding Dogs: Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop?

Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop
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Petting a dog is all fun and games until you take them out for a walk—leave their leash and you see them directly running towards a pile of mud. You are simply enjoying their playful nature until they come running towards you, and you realize it was not mud but a pile of animal excrement or his poop in which your dog just rolled in.

We understand the kind of pain it gives you, especially when you just bathed your pup right before the walk. While every dog enjoys rolling in poop, the question is, why do dogs roll in poop in the first place? We are here to answer that question for you and suggest ways through which you can eliminate this behavior.

While there is not much evidence provided that gives a solid reason why dog enjoys rolling in poop, several different theories are trying to give a rationale behind this behavior. Let’s unfold why do dogs roll in poop.

Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop?

The most famous theory of all is that dogs roll in poop and other bad-smelling material to mask their scent like their ancestors.

By masking their scent with the smell of poop, the ancestors had an easier time hunting their prey. Where different dog behaviorists can tell why your dog has certain behaviors, the habit of dogs rolling themselves in stinky substances leaves the experts scratching their heads.

Another reason for dogs rolling themselves in poop could be that they simply like the stench. They are fascinated by things human beings find disgusting, including urine, feces, trash cans, and poop. To better understand this behavior, let us have an in-depth look at all the possible reasons behind this act of your dog.

Your Dog Masks Its Scent

Although the dogs we own are pet dogs, their ancestors lived differently. They were not fortunate enough to get food twice a day. Rather, they hunted to survive. For that, they had to mask their scents so they could reach their meal without scaring it away.

Their ancestors would roll themselves in different unpleasant-smelling materials to camouflage. This behavior is inherited from wolves, especially as they didn’t want their potential prey like deer to smell them coming, or else they would run away, and hunting would be a lot more difficult.

Even modern wolves opt for this practice to make hunting the prey easier. They would roll themselves up in poop or urine. So generally, in this case, your dog may inherit this behavior as it is a genetic thing.  

Your Dog Tries to Communicate with Its “Pack”

Wolves are dogs’ close relatives and come from their ancestry. In the past, wolves were often observed rolling themselves in different smells of food and poop. This was done to communicate with the rest of the pack and make them aware of the presence of food nearby. The wolves followed back the scent to its origin that helped them find their prey. Remember, dogs have a great sense of smell, and it can play a very evident role in their social interactions and communication.

Your Dog Tries To Leave His Scent Behind

This behavior of your dog can also be referred to as “marking.” Here, your dog covers himself in poop to leave his scent behind. They mark their territory with that scent. This instinct lies in the genes as it is inherited from their ancestry and wolves. This is exactly why you see your dog urinating on things that they like to mark their territory around. It allows your dog to communicate with other animals that it is his area and should not be violated. It is very common in territorial dogs. A wild dog might roll himself in poop to override another animal’s scent, leaving an intentional warning.

Maybe Your Dog Is Just Bored

Sometimes, the rolling of your dog in poop can be a result of boredom. When dogs are not given enough exercise or activity to keep themselves busy, they may develop destructive behaviors, such as chewing, digging, and even rolling in poop. It can be a sign that your dog wants your attention and time.

Your Dog Enjoys Unpleasant Odors

Your dog enjoys unpleasant smells. Where human beings enjoy scented candles and floral scents, dogs would simply enjoy other smells to play “detectives.” This is because dogs are capable of detecting every layer of scent. They enjoy investigating, and this is exactly why most of them are police dogs and military—they have a very strong sense of smell.

Can We Stop Our Dogs From Rolling In Poop?

No matter how badly you want to hear the desired answer, the truth is, no, you simply cannot stop them. There are certain ways through which you can prevent it, but you cannot completely eliminate this behavior of your furry friend.

How Can You Prevent Poop Rolling Behaviors In Your Dog?

There are luckily certain precautions you can take to eliminate this activity of your dog. Firstly, when you take your dog for a walk, never leave the leash in places where you feel like it may roll.

Keep your yards clean and pick up the poop immediately after your dog is done. Training a dog plays a very important role here. You need to teach your dog basic commands like “No,” “Leave it,” and “Stop.” This will help you develop positive behavior in your dog because their loyalty and obedience can never be questioned. Overall, you need to socialize and train your dog well to prevent him from rolling in poop.


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