Why Do Dogs Roll In Dead Animals & How To Stop It

Why Do Dogs Roll In Dead Animals

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Have you ever seen your dog roll around in something stinky and wondered what on earth they were doing? While it may seem gross to us, for dogs, rolling in dead animals is actually perfectly normal behavior.

But why do they do it?

As dogs are attracted to the intense scent of dead animals, they often resort to the ancestral behavior of “scent rolling.” This is the act of rolling in the terribly pungent odor of animal remains in order to mask their own smell, just as wolves do when on a hunt. 

It is simply a natural instinct for dogs. So the next time you see your dog rolling in poop, don’t be too quick to judge them – they’re just following their nose.

Here we will explore the reasons behind this strange behavior and provide some tips on how to stop your dog from rolling in dead animals.


Reasons Why Dogs Roll In Dead Animals

Why Do Dogs Roll In Dead Animals

There are a few different reasons why your dog may roll on dead animals:


Dogs have been domesticated for centuries, but their wild instincts still remain. One of these instincts is the urge to roll in dead animals. The reason for this behavior is likely due to genetics. 

Dogs are descended from predators, such as wolves, who used to roll in carcasses to hide their scent. This would allow them to sneak up on their prey more effectively.

Scent rolling is a behavior that has been passed down from wolves to dogs. When a dog rolls in a dead animal, its natural scent is masked by the scent of the animal. This camouflaging of their own scent allows your dog to go unnoticed and makes them more stealthy. Domestic dogs do not hunt, but covering their scent is still an innate behavior of theirs.

While this behavior may seem gross to us, it is perfectly natural for dogs. 

Marking Territory

Why Do Dogs Roll In Dead Animals

Dogs produce a natural scent, so when your dog rubs their body or head against the dead creature, they are transferring their own scent onto it. This theory makes some sense, as dogs are constantly marking territory through their urine and anal glands.

But, why do dogs roll in poop and dead things?

Rolling in dead animals could simply be another form of scent marking. Another theory is that dogs roll in dead animals because they enjoy the smell. Seeing something like this may seem disgusting to us, but remember that dogs have a much better sense of smell than we do. 

They can probably smell things that we can’t even imagine. So, while the smell of a dead animal might be repulsive to us, it could be quite appealing to a dog. 

Illness Indication

There is some logic to the theory that your dog might roll in a dead animal if they are suffering from a hidden illness or stress. However, it is impossible to make a correlation between the activity and any possible illness or stress. 

It is important to remember that dogs are very curious creatures, and they may simply be investigating something that has caught their attention. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian.

For Fun

As we’ve established, dogs roll in dead things for a variety of reasons. But why do they seem to enjoy it so much?

Rolling around in a dead animal might be just plain fun for some dogs. They get to play in something smelly and gross, and they love every minute of it. So, if you see your dog rolling in a dead animal- he’s just enjoying himself.

Tips For Stopping Your Dog From Rolling In Dead Animals

Why Do Dogs Roll In Dead Animals

Even though it is a perfectly natural behavior for dogs, you may not want your dog to roll in dead animals. If this is the case, there are a few things you can do to stop your dog from rolling in dead animals:

Keep Them On A Leash

This is the easiest way to prevent your dog from rolling in dead animals. If they are on a leash, they will not be able to reach any nastiness. You can also use this method to train your dog not to roll in dead animals. 

Every time they want to initiate a roll, simply give a sharp tug on the leash and say “no.” With enough training, they will eventually get the message.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can be an excellent trick to handle the situation. If you catch your dog before they start rolling, praise them and give them a treat. This will show them that good things happen when they don’t roll in dead animals. Over time, they will learn to associate not rolling with getting rewards, and they will be less likely to do it.

Use Your Dog’s Name

If you’re finding that your dog is attracted to dead animals, one way to combat this behavior is to use your dog’s name. Training your dog to come back to you when you call their name can be extremely helpful in a variety of situations.

For example, if your animal is about to roll in a dead creature, simply calling its name can cause them to forget about the dead creature and return to your side. 

Of course, this is easier said than done if your dog isn’t well-trained. However, with some patience and practice, you can help your dog learn this valuable command.

Final Words:

Now that you know some of the reasons your dog may roll in dead animals, you can take steps to help prevent this undesirable behavior. If dog rolling in dead animals is something your dog does frequently, it’s best to consult with a professional trainer or behaviorist to come up with a behavior modification plan tailored specifically for your pup. 

With patience and persistence, you can help your dog kick this smelly habit for good.

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