Don’t you just love it when you catch your puppy rubbing their neck in something gross, like poop or a dead animal? It’s always right after you have given them a bath, too! You have to question their intelligence when they do that. Why would a puppy roll in poop? They have to know how gross that is, right? Well, maybe not. There are several factors coming in to play when your puppy is rolling around in something gross.
First, dogs are hunters. They’ve been used to hunt small game for many centuries, particularly because they’re really quick and nimble, but also because they have an excellent sense of smell. One of the tactics that dogs use when hunting their pray is masking their scent. A dog will either mask their scent by rolling around in mud or by rolling around in something gross, like poop or a dead animal. The small animals that a dog preys on are used to the scent of a dog and know to run and hide whenever they smell one coming. However, if they get a whiff of an animal that is normally not a threat to them, they’ll be slower to react. This gives the dog a huge advantage. It’s similar to how a human hunter will wear camouflage and won’t shower the day of the hunt. The more discreet they are, the lower the chance of the animal catching wind of their location and running off.
Second, dogs hate the smell of doggy shampoos. While we LOVE making our dogs smell like lavender and bubblegum, dogs actually hate it. This is because it rids them of their natural scent. So what do they do in order to get their scent back? They try and rub off the foreign scent that is on their body by rolling around in something gross. This is just a secondary function of the first reason mentioned above. However, one thing that you can do to prevent this reaction to shampoo is to use a non-scented option. The dog’s smell is going to rub off in the shower, but since they aren’t coming out smelling like roses, they’ll be less inclined to immediately roll around in something gross in order to mask the new smell.
Just remember, like anything else with your dog, proper training can lessen the odds that this action occurs. By instinct, your puppy will want to roll in poop. Positive reinforcement will usually do the trick, but always try and look for preventative means before resorting to negative reinforcement – such as always cleaning up after your dog and using non-scented shampoo.
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image source: dogbreedsinfo.euDISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.