If you have a poo roller then you really do have our sympathy, there are very few downsides to having a dog in your life but poo rolling really is right up there. If your dog loves nothing more than splashing on the Eau du fox then we’re sure you’ve wondered why on earth they do it. This might be soon after you’ve seen them coming out of some bushes smothered in something gross  – the filthy beasts!

So why do dogs roll in poop? Well, we’ll tell you in this article, along with tips to help your dog stop rolling in poop, and the best way to clean your dog after they roll in poop. Teaching a dog not to roll in poop will mean some positive reinforcement-based training, like we have in the Zigzag app. We’ll teach your puppy life skills, not just obedience, how to socialise them, and where to go to the toilet. Our puppy trainers are ready to answer all your dog and puppy-related questions too. You lucky things!

muddy dog out on walk
Photo by Andrew Whitham on Unsplash

Why Do Dogs Roll in Poop?

So it’s beyond gross we know.. But rolling in poop is actually fun for dogs, it’s also because they’ve evolved to want to mask their scent or leave their own! It could be cow or rabbit poop, but dogs frequently seek out and roll in fox poop. They appear to enjoy it tremendously. Yuk!

Here’s why dogs roll in poop

To cover up their scent

One theory as to why dogs roll in poop is to cover up their scent. Scent rolling is a behaviour they would have evolved to do as wolves. Many dogs haven’t lost this instinct, no matter how far removed they look from a wolf. I’m looking at your Pugs and Frenchies.

To leave their own scent behind

A dog’s scent is a bit like their calling card. They sometimes roll in poop to communicate to other dogs that they’ve been there.  Almost like ‘sorry I missed you’ or ‘Hi from the Beagle up the road’.

Rolling in poop is fun

Dogs seem to get a huge thrill from rolling in poop. The look on their faces of pure ecstasy when they’re rolling around in poop is a joy to see. Although of course, the clean-up comes soon after. No one needs that in their house! Many dogs also enjoy rolling in grass. Read our article on why does my dog roll in grass to learn more.

muddy curly-haired dog
Photo by Matt Higham on Unsplash

How can I stop my dog from rolling poop?

Dogs who roll in poop can be taught not to in a few different ways, all will require input from you and some positive reinforcement training. No scrolling on your phone for a while. Sorry, but it’ll be worth it.

  1. Keep an eye on your dog on walks – if you know where they are, you can take quick action if you see animal poop and avoid your dog rolling in poop.
  2. Look at their body language – dogs communicate via their body language. If you see a dog sniffing at a particular spot, or they scratch at a piece of grass the next step is often to put their head down, drop a shoulder slide and roll. 
  3. Practise your recalls – that way, the moment your dog orients on a scent or more likely a pile of poo you can call them away from it. 
  4. Keep them busy on walks – Have fun and play games when you’re out on walks to keep them focussed on you and wanting to be with you rather than going off and making their own fun by rolling in poop!

Want to know more? Follow our puppy training tips

muddy shih tzu lying down
Photo by Leon Rojas on Unsplash

How to clean my dog after they have rolled in poop

Depending on how much poop your dog has rolled in and their coat type, you can clean them up in a few different ways.

The wipe down

If your dog has only got a smear of poop on them, then you can probably get away with a wipe-down. 

Carrying pet wipes on walks is an easy way to wipe poop off your dog if it’s just a little bit. Or if you want to be a little more eco-friendly, you can carry a wet cloth or flannel from home in a bag – a handy tip if your dog is a menace for rolling in poop!

This is an easy way to clean short-haired breeds, who shouldn’t be bathed so often. If you have one of the poodle crosses like Cockapoos, Cavapoos, Labradoodles, or another long-haired breed, you might find that you need to do a bit more cleaning!

The on-the-go shower

There are several gadgets you can pack in the car now to shower your dog on the go. If you pack a thermos with hot water as well as some cold, it will be a comfortable temperature to wash your dog outside.

This isn’t only good for dogs who roll in poop, it’s also good if you have a long-haired dog who gets muddy, and is loved by dog walkers worldwide to clean their charges up before returning them home spotlessly clean. Clever!

The full bath

If you have a dog who has rolled in a lot of poop or is long-haired, you’ll want to give them a full bath.

Read our full article on how to give a puppy a bath to learn how, but also worth mentioning is to use some kind of enzyme shampoo or tomato ketchup as this will help eliminate the poop smell! 

We hope that’s given you some insight as to why do dogs roll in poop. It’s a pretty normal and instinctual thing for them to do, and with training, you can teach them to do it less. If they roll in poop, it’s not a huge deal. You can always bathe them and give them a nice groom when you get home.

If you’d like more dog hairdressing and husbandry tips, why not have a read of how to trim a puppy’s nails, or how to brush their teeth? Or perhaps you have a puppy who eats everything? We’ve got an article for that too! Just click the links. Download the Zigzag app today, and you’ll get access to a full puppy training programme designed around your puppy’s age and their breed because your breed is special, isn’t it? They all have their individual quirks, that’s for sure. We also have our team of professional dog trainers ready to talk to you on all matters dog and puppy related!