Why do dogs roll in feces?

April 13, 2012

Poop is abhorrent to humans. We don’t even want to step on these smelly things nor would we want to get a whiff of the gagging smell. This would make one wonder at the dog’s perplexing habit of not only rolling in feces but in eating these excrements as well. Dogs are supposed to have ultrasensitive scenting ability that is much more sensitive than what we humans have. If this is so then these animals should hate feces more than we do. Feces to us humans are horrible but to our four legged friends finding one is similar to finding a treasure. To us, poop is gross but to a dog it is yummy. Dogs are affectionate and loyal companions. But they do have some very obnoxious habits. Should we take the pet to an animal shelter or should we find ways to bridge the gap?

Fortunately the dog’s habit of rolling in feces can be stopped. The dog owner simply has to understand why the dog has developed the habit so that necessary steps can be made to address the problem. Of course the habit of rolling in feces was rooted from the habits of the wolves, the dog’s ancestors. Wolves have to survive the harsh conditions of the wild. Wolves have to hunt to be able to eat. These animals have to be smart and alert to be able to get away from predators that would want to have them for dinner. Rolling in feces is done by wolves to survive. Because the natural canine scent is masked by the scent of feces wolves can easily sneak up to their prey. Because of the unfamiliar smell, wolves can evade their predators too.

Domesticated dogs have different reasons why they roll in feces. The habit is basically done to mark territory. This habit is also used by the dog to communicate with other dogs and with their human family. Rolling in feces is the dog’s way of telling other dogs that it has found a treasure, a yummy interesting thing. The habit is also the dog’s way of gaining the attention of the master. Obviously, the best thing to do to stop the habit is to remove the feces from the dog’s immediate environment. Remove the solid excrements as soon as the dog has done its business. Keep the dog leashed when it is taken for a walk so that it will not have the chance to practice the habit even if the opportunity to do so is present. More importantly, devote some time to bond with the pet. The dog may be manifesting the habit because it misses you.

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