Why Do Dogs Roll in Poop?

dog pooped on a grass 1

Dogs are known for engaging in all manner of disgusting behaviors, including rolling around in poop. 

Despite what you might think, this isn’t something only pigs do. There are actually some interesting reasons behind this not-so-charming habit that your dog seems to adore.

Your Dog’s Sense of Smell

Some dogs have a stronger sense of smell than others, but all of these animals can pick up on scents that humans cannot. This plays a major part in why your dog might occasionally roll around in poop and other smelly things.

Reasons Dogs Roll in Poop

There are actually multiple reasons that a dog might roll around in poop that you’ll want to be aware of. This information will help you to understand your pet a little better.

1. They Are Trying to Disguise Their Scent

It is possible that your dog is rolling in poop because it is trying to disguise its own scent. This likely comes from their natural hunting instinct. Before dogs were domesticated, they used to do this to make catching their pretty much easier. The animals they hunted wouldn’t be able to smell them because they were covered in poop or something else that hid their natural scent.

2. Signaling to Other Pack Members

Another reason that dogs roll in poop is that they are essentially trying to tell other dogs in the area that they found something interesting. This too is an old instinct that still manifests in a lot of dogs today. It is very possible that this is what your dog is doing if you have other dogs in the household.

3. They are Marking Their Territory

You’d think that defecating on a certain spot would be enough to satisfy a dog’s territorial instincts, but you’d be wrong. Sometimes a dog will roll around in its own poop as a way of ensuring that other animals know that it is their domain.

Territorial behavior is still very much present in modern dogs, and it can manifest in a number of ways. This could be their way of saying “I was here”, and it happens more often than you might think. Your dog might do this in the backyard or at a dog park.

white dog rolls in a grass

Health Risks

There are some potential health risks of your dog rolling around in poop, especially when it is not it’s own. Your dog could contract a bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection this way. While this is a natural behavior, it could end up getting your pet sick. There is no telling what is in the poop they are rolling in.

How to Keep Your Dog from Rolling in Poop

If you want to keep your dog from rolling in poop, there are a number of methods that can be quite effective. It is a good idea to do everything possible to get your dog to stop doing this, as it can put their overall health and wellbeing at risk.

1. Pick Up Their Droppings

One of the best ways to ensure that your dog doesn’t roll around in its own poop is to simply pick up after them. Whether you are going for a walk or let them out in the backyard, it is important to do this. This will also keep them from eating their own feces, which is equally as unhealthy.

2. Keep Them On a Short Leash

It’s also a good idea to keep your dog on a short leash when you take them for a walk. This will make it easier to control them. You will most likely be able to stop your dog before it even has the opportunity to roll in any poop. It will also teach your dog not to pull you when going for walks, which is always a good thing.

bulldog rolls in a shit

3. Startle Your Dog

When you notice your dog start to roll in the poop, you’ll want to get their attention by yelling, clapping loudly, or even spraying them with some water. You can also try distracting your dog with a fun toy. There is a good chance that they’ll want to chew on the toy instead of rolling in the poop. While this method doesn’t always work, it is certainly worth trying.

4. Train Your Dog Properly

You will most likely be able to train your dog not to roll in poop with some simple commands and positive reinforcement. This means giving your dog verbal praise and maybe a tasty treat whenever it refrains from doing this.

Positive reinforcement is definitely the way to do when you are trying to train your dog to do anything. You should avoid punishing them for rolling in poop, as this is not an effective method of getting them to stop.

Get Your Dog Clean

It is important that you get your dog nice and clean after it has rolled around in poop. Make sure that you give your dog a bath immediately after. This will minimize the risk of parasites or bacterial infection. It is a good idea to bathe your dog at least once every couple of weeks even after you get them to stop doing this.


  • It is ultimately your dog’s powerful sense of smell that drives it to roll around in poop and other disgusting things.
  • Your dog might be doing this to cover up their scent, which comes from an old instinct that helped these animals catch their prey.
  • It’s also possible that your pooch is trying to signal to other dogs in the area that they found something of interest. This is likely the case if you have multiple dogs in the same household.
  • Sometimes a dog will roll around in poop due to their natural territorial instincts. This is essentially their way of marketing their territory.
  • If you want to get your dog to stop doing this, make sure you pick up after them.
  • Keep your dog on a short leash when going for walks so they are easier to control.
  • If you’re going to train your dog to stop rolling in poop, make sure that you use short but direct commands and positive reinforcement (treats and verbal praise).
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