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My dog is rolling in faeces: What to do?

During a walk, your four-legged friend runs freely across the fields. Suddenly he stops, sniffs extensively and intently at a spot, drops onto his back and rolls around. You can tell immediately by the stench: a dead animal or excrement has aroused his desire! What seems disgusting to you as a dog owner is a fragrant activity for your pelt-nose. But why do dogs love to roll around in the droppings of their fellow dogs and other animals, and what is it about carrion that attracts them? We explain the possible reasons and how you can influence his preference for unpleasant smells.

5 reasons why your dog rolls in faeces

Dogs instinctively like to roll in the grass, mud or dirt - or even in faeces or carrion. The reasons for this are:

  1. Imposing: In this case it has a sexual background. Your four-legged friend arouses the curiosity of his fellow dogs through natural smells. If he rolls in excrement or carrion, he is sure to attract the interest of other dogs.
  2. Attract attention: The scent of carrion and faeces always triggers a reaction in the dog owner. Your dog is always happy to get attention, even if you are reprimanding.
  3. Camouflage: Especially dogs with a strong hunting instinct roll in carrion and stinky piles of prey, masking their predator scent. This way, potential prey will only notice your dog from a short distance.
  4. Marking: Some dogs roll over possible food to mark it with their own scent. This is how they show their ownership to rivals.
  5. Well-being: Basically, dogs express their well-being by rolling around. They really enjoy scrubbing their fur and picking up interesting smells along the way.

Our tip: Your dog not only likes to roll around in faeces, but also eats it regularly? Possible reasons for this, how dangerous it is to eat faeces and how you can prevent it, can be found in our article "My dog eats faeces: What can I do?".

Rolled in faeces: How to remove the smell

New day, new scent! Your four-legged friend rolls around in different smells every day, possibly polluting your nose. Showering your dog with dog shampoo every day is not advisable, however, because your dog's coat and skin lose their natural oil content and itchy dandruff quickly forms. Also, the skin is no longer sufficiently protected from environmental influences such as rain and strong sunlight. Your dog may also roll around more because he wants to get rid of the soap smell. You can break this vicious circle with these 3 simple tips:

  1. Home remedy: For particularly stubborn dirt and strong odours, dilute a little apple cider vinegar with lukewarm water. Shower your dog briefly in the bath, then apply the apple cider vinegar/water mixture to the coat and massage it in well down to the roots. To protect your hands, we recommend that you wear grooming gloves.
  2. Brushing out: If your four-legged friend has rolled in horse droppings, simply let the affected coat dry and brush out the droppings thoroughly.
  3. Perfume: For moderate odours without visible soiling, you can spray your dog with a natural dog perfume. Ingredients such as aloe, coconut oil or lavender are particularly suitable. Avoid chemical additives as well as deodorants or perfumes for humans, because if your dog licks its coat, it could ingest chemical additives and swallow them.

How can I break my dog's habit of rolling in faeces?

If you want to avoid your pet rolling around in excrement or carrion in the long term, you can try these training rules:

  • Correct timing: Act on your dog already at the idea of rolling. If his front legs are already buckling and he is already rolling his neck to the side, it is too late! If you talk to your four-legged friend or grab his collar, he will no longer relate this to a misbehaviour, but your attention will at worst encourage him in his actions.
  • Differentiate: Rolling in dirt and grass is part of a species-appropriate husbandry. Therefore, at best, only prevent your dog from rolling in smelly things like carrion and piles, but allow him extensive grass and mud baths.
  • Train: So that your dog learns what is allowed and what is not, go for a walk with a long leash for the first time (preferably with a tracking leash). This way your dog can sniff around and run relatively freely, but you are close enough and can tell early on whether he is allowed to roll around or not. As soon as your dog is allowed to run around off-leash again, observe his behaviour closely: If he fixates on a spot with excrement or carrion and starts to roll, direct his attention to you, e.g. with the command "No!" If his attention now remains with you, praise your four-legged friend profusely.

Conclusion: If your dog rolls in faeces, don't punish him for it - after all, it's his natural instinct. With targeted training and mutual understanding, a compromise can be reached that satisfies both sides. How have you experienced such situations so far? We look forward to hearing your stories and tips!

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