Why do dogs roll in poop and other strong odours?

Essence-de-fox not your favourite scent? Ever wonder why certain dogs seem to have a disturbing propensity for rolling around in poop and other charmingly smelly things?

Apparently there isn't a definitive answer as to why some dogs are attracted to certain stinky smells and feel moved to drop and roll at every opportunity.  There are a few suggested reasons which kind of make sense:

As hard as it may be for us to understand -some dogs just like the smell.  There is no accounting for taste and just like humans and their choice of perfume, for some, the stronger the scent, the better. They seek out, and are attracted to strong odours.  Poo and wee interest them, and are like social media posts -who's been around here and what have they been up to?

Territory marking - Dogs are extremely territorial.  If they come across something else's poop they might fear another alpha on their patch.  By mixing and imprinting in their own smells they are saying to others 'I'm here too'.

Hunting tactic - Covering themselves in another animal's scent is good camouflage.  Dogs originally bred for hunting may do this to disguise themselves from potential prey and feel it gives a tactical advantage.

Communicating - When a dog returns home, they bring the smells of where they have been with them.  If they roll in a dead carcass, other members of the pack can find the trail and lead them back to an exciting place with a good source of food nearby.  The canine version of a social media post!

Boredom - Perhaps an abundance of energy might be the reason that your dog just wants to do something different.

How do you stop this unwanted behaviour? If you don't want to keep your dog on a lead firstly, try to figure out the cues.  Pay close attention to your dog when you walk - is an intensive sniff, bow or shake of the head, twisting the face to one side with a shoulder drop the indication of incoming trouble?    

Use the 'Leave it' command.  This is a command all dogs should learn from a young age.  It is very useful and also an important protection.  A firm, sharp 'leave it' just as they're about to dive in works well for many pups.

Distract your dog.  Carry high value rewards on your walk.  These may be treats that your dog particularly loves, or certain toys that will engage them and stimulate them.

Dogs have over 300 million scent receptors in their nose compared to 6 million in humans.  The part of their brain devoted to analysing scents is 40 times bigger than ours.  It is therefore believed that a dog's sense of smell is 10,000 times better than our own.  Your canine's nose is the centre of their world.

If your choice of fragrance differs from that of your pet, and some intervention is necessary then Leather Noses: High quality accessories, toys and treats for dogs – www.leathernoses.co.uk offers a variety of products to help eliminate any unwanted smells.

We suggest carrying wipes in your car for the occasions where a car ride is needed to get home.

 If a full-on wash is needed back at the house, we suggest a shampoo and towel are always kept ready.  For the particularly scent conscious among you finish with a coat conditioning cologne.  Ranges such as Be:Loved – www.leathernoses.co.uk and Sniffe & Likkit – Tagged "Grooming"– www.leathernoses.co.uk have been chosen by us not only for their gorgeous fragrance, but also the grooming benefits they offer.

Sniffe and Likkit worked with aromatherapists to create 100% natural essential oil blends that not only smell amazing to humans, but delight our dogs too.  You might be swapping their choice of fragrance for your own - but they certainly won't complain about the affection it will get them afterwards!


Dog wash using shower in a bath