Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop?

Most people would agree that one of the biggest horrors a dog parent can face is seeing their dog covered in poop! Upon investigation, you suddenly discover it was not a one-off incident, and your neighbors have the same complaint. You can’t help but wonder, “why do dogs roll in poop?”

Dogs roll in poop to mark their territories and hide their scents, among other reasons. While dog owners find this odd, this behavior is treated to be normal among dogs. Some measures, such as leashing and keeping a clean yard, goes a long way to keep this activity in check.

We know there is no way you would settle for your four-legged body to coat their bodies with poop under any pretense. Thankfully, this article studies why dogs roll in poop and different ways you can help them discontinue this habit. Let’s begin with finding out if there is anything wrong with this behavior in the first place.

Is It Normal For Dogs To Roll In Poop?

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Yes, it is normal for dogs to roll in poop. Behaviorists and vets believe it is, in fact, among the typical dog behavior to roll in poop.

Of course, the habit is gross, but knowing why your dog does so can be helpful when deciding on a suitable method to control this behavior. These reasons can include one or more of the following reasons:

  • Marking territory
  • Masking scent
  • Passing a message
  • The sheer love of the smell
  • Boredom

Let’s examine these points extensively for more clarity.

Marking Territory

Dogs are naturally territorial. When they come across the poop of another animal, they may find it as an act of intrusion onto their territory. To eradicate the scent, which they believe the intruder is spreading through the poop, they roll over it to leave their scent on it, marking their territory.

Passing A Message

Dogs share a common ancestry with wolves, so you can expect them to show similar traits to their close relatives. Dogs will occasionally connect with their ’wolfie’ sides and rub on fecal materials they come across while on a stroll or in the yard.

Wolves would roll in the poop of their prey and get back to the pack to draw their attention to the kill. The smell allows others to lock on the kill as they sniff their way while searching for it.

Masking Their Scents

Ancestors of domestic dogs are hunters, and now and then, your furry friend feels the instinct to hunt even when there is no prey in sight.

If your dog is among the breeds with great hunting instincts, you can notice it covering up in poop to camouflage its smells in preparation for a hunt. That’s typical predatory behavior.

Since prey can pick up the scent of a predator and escape before they are sighted, your furball may instinctively choose to smear up in poop as a smell screen to stealthily approach prey. Is there anything better to mask your dog’s scent than stinky poop?

They Like The Scent

Studies reveal that dogs prefer to put on their fur scents different from cosmetics. Our four-legged friends love intense, animal-derived smells like feces or carcasses.

Besides, dogs have a sense of smell more powerful than ours. Beneath the horrible smell we perceive from poop, our furry friends may be picking the odor of something pleasant from the poop, which we can never perceive.


What wouldn’t dogs do when they feel discontented or can’t find something to use their pent-up energy? Dogs can be destructive or mischievous when stressed or haven’t had enough exercise for the day. Unfortunately, rolling in poop may be another activity your canine friend finds thrilling enough to release their energy.

What Kind Of Poop Do Dogs Like To Roll In?

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Dogs can roll in any kind of poop, even though they are less likely to do so in theirs.

Generally, dogs are more likely to roll in fox poop, cowpats, and other dogs. Dogs would rub on any animal’s poop as long as it appeals to their mood at that instant.

Why Do Dogs Roll In Fox Poo?

Dogs roll in fox poo because it is pungent, and dogs are naturally attracted to such smells, whether healthy or not.

Fox poo looks much like your pooch’s poo, only that it is more intense, slightly darker, and has twisted pointy ends. Dogs show a preference for natural and pungent smells above cosmetic scents. That makes fox poop an attraction to any dog in the vicinity.

Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop And Dead Things?

Investigations show that dogs love to roll in poop and dead things because of the strong smell these things give off.

Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and when they find materials that give them lots of odor, they get excited. Other reasons include your dog’s wanting to catch fun, sheer interest in the scent of the fecal composition, and sending a message to the other pack members.

Why Does My Female Dog Roll In Poop?

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Your female dog is rolling in poop for no reason besides why other dogs do the same.

Both male and female dogs have similar properties, and there is no study to prove that female dogs are more susceptible to rolling in poop than their male counterparts.

Do Dogs Avoid Stepping In Poop?

Yes, dogs often avoid stepping on poop except when they wish to get into it intentionally.

Dogs can perceive poop from a distance and evade it while walking, even without gazing at it. If your dog has been trained to avoid poop, you’ll notice them walking past it without stepping on it.

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Rolling In Poop?

Stopping your dog from rolling in poop is possible using a combination of preventive and corrective methods.

Preventive methods include keeping your dog’s immediate environment clean and restricting your dog’s movement using a leash. Meanwhile, watching your furry friend’s behavior for those subtle signs that tell your furry companion is about to roll in poop works well too. Corrective methods include training your dog to heed commands to desist from rolling in poop.

Whichever method you will use, there is a need for close monitoring and persistence in disapproving of their behavior whenever they roll in poop.

Let’s examine the suggested ways to keep your dogs from rolling in poop.

Leash Your Dog

Dogs love to lead the way during a stroll, and often, they have their noses in the ground, sniffing out whatever they find interesting. If you notice your pooch runs ahead into poop and get it all over the body, introduce a leash whenever you are outdoors.

Putting a leash on your dog when on a stroll allows you to control your dog’s movement, as a gentle yank can cause the Fido to turn away from the poo on the floor.

Train Dogs To Obey Commands

Dogs with former training to obey basic commands, such as come, stop, and sit, can be taught to turn away from poop. However, giving commands to your dog to leave poop and not roll in it wouldn’t be as easy.

You can begin by staging your scenario or practice with manure or other stinky stuff that dogs love to get all over their body. Leash your dog and allow it to roam in the stink pile. When your furry friend is about to get in, order it to leave it and gently tug the leash.

With time, your dog will understand this command, and you can then try it without the leash. Ensure you reward your dog for obeying each time.

All in all, teaching your dog commands to leave the poop or stay away from it will require patience and your watchful presence at the scene.

Learn The Cues Of Dogs Wanting To Roll In Poop

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More often than not, dogs give signs when they are about to engage in nasty habits like rolling in poop. Signs to watch out for include prancing around the poop, lowering their shoulders while approaching the substance, sniffing and turning around in circles, and any other common behavior with your dog.

Keep A Clean Yard

If dogs do not see poop around, there would be no temptation to roll in it. Before letting your dog loose to play in the garden or yard, you can inspect it for poop. Foxes and other small animals can climb over the hedge and mess up the area. You want to ensure you’ve swept it clean of animal waste.

Give Your Dog Enough Activities

Boredom can cause your furry friend to do gross things, including rolling in poop. Many pet dogs do not get sufficient exercises and activities to spend their stored energy. Ensuring your dog is well-exercised can help them take their minds off sniffing around for poop and eventually rolling in it.

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Pete Decker