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Why do dogs roll around in smelly stuff?

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Just out of curiosity, why do dogs roll around in disgusting, stinky things like dead animals or manure?
asked Jan 10, 2016 in Pets by MindyC
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Although nobody knows for sure why dogs like to roll in feces or dead animal carcasses, there are a couple of theories. Because dogs are descended from wolves, which are natural predators, it is thought that rolling in such foul-smelling substances helps a dog mask its own natural scent, thereby making him a more effective hunter. Another theory holds that this behavior serves as a form of communication, helping one dog let the others know where he has been. [1]



In addition, while we may like the sweet smell of a freshly bathed dog, the dogs are often not fond of the smell. It is quite common for dogs to engage in this rolling behavior directly following a bath, possibly in an effort to eliminate the perfume scent of the shampoo. [2]


To keep this rolling-in-poop behavior to a minimum, clean up your dog's excrement immediately, and keep him on a short leash when walking in areas where he may encounter other dogs' droppings. Discourage the rolling behavior by associating it with an unpleasant experience, such as a squirt from a water bottle or a loud noise. [2] You can also teach your dog the "leave it" command, which teaches him to stop paying attention to an environmental distraction. [1]



1. http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/What-s-with-dogs-rubbing-their-necks-in-feces-3228343.php

2. http://www.pedigree.com/all-things-dog/article-library/why-do-dogs-roll-in-smelly-things.aspx

answered Jan 10, 2016 by jems (19,790 points)

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