Why does your dog roll in poop? It’s a question that has baffled avid pet owners for millennia. Is it because your dog is angry with you? Does the poop remind them of something? Do dogs just enjoy the smell of feces? Well, as it turns out, there are a few reasons why dogs engage in this behavior—and none of them are as nefarious or strange as you might think. So sit back and relax while we explore how your adorable little friend becomes smelly along the way.
Dogs have complex inner lives and sometimes they do things we don’t understand.
Dogs are complex animals. They have a rich internal life, which means that they experience the world in ways similar to humans. But they are not human. Their behavior can sometimes be hard to understand but it’s important that we try our best to understand them because dogs have feelings too!
The dog’s inner world is comprised of thoughts and feelings just like yours or mine, but their way of communicating these things are very different from ours. This makes dog psychology a fascinating subject for study because we can learn so much about ourselves by studying how dogs think and feel about the world around them.
They’re marking their territory.
Dogs have a sense of smell that is 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours. They use this ability to communicate with other dogs and also with us and the world around them. Dogs can detect smells we can’t even detect when they’re present at extremely low concentrations (e.g., your dog might be able to smell the remnants of the garbage you threw out yesterday).
When your dog rolls in poop, he or she is marking its territory with their own personal scent. If you see your dog do this outside, it’s not necessarily because they wanted to roll in something smelly—they might just have wanted to mark their territory!
They’re trying to get attention.
Dogs roll in poop for a few reasons. The most obvious one is that, well, they smell really stinky after all that rolling around in something so gross. But there are other motivations behind this behavior as well.
Dogs will roll in poop because they want attention from you and/or other dogs. They also do it to get attention from other animals (and sometimes people) nearby, just to let them know they’re there and ready to play—or maybe even fight! If a dog wants their owners’ attention but the owners aren’t paying any mind and continue doing whatever it was they were doing before the dog rolled around in some poopy goodness and now smells like crap…well then that’s definitely going to get someone’s attention!
They have an itchy skin condition.
Some poopy-rolling dogs have an itchy skin condition. If your dog is constantly itching and licking themselves, they may be suffering from an allergy or condition that causes their skin to become dry and irritated. Food allergies can cause allergic reactions in the gastrointestinal tract, while environmental allergens like pollen and dust mites can affect your dog’s respiratory system.
It’s a sign their environment is too sterile.
The smell of poop and other stinky things is a sign that your dog’s environment is too sterile—in other words, he needs to smell like his pack members. Dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell, so if they’re in an environment with little to no scent from their pack members, they’ll roll in something smelly to get the scents on them.
Dog noses don’t just help them find food or detect danger; they also help dogs feel more secure. Since dogs get most of their information via their noses rather than sight or sound, it makes sense that this would be one way they can tell if they’re safe at home or not!
Either way, this shouldn’t make you feel bad or worried about your pet. Instead of scolding them, remember that they are a dog and they are doing what dogs do. Let them get their fill of mud and grass before hosing them down. It’s not worth the trouble to try to stop them from smelling the roses; just set your expectations accordingly.