Top 5 Theories Why Your Dog Rolls in Stinky Stuff

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My dog Carl’s cuteness knows no bounds.

My pup Carl loves to snuggle with me on the couch and in bed.

But, his affection comes with a price.

Sometimes when he tries to snuggle, I get a whiff of something stinky.

What did you roll in, Carl?!

Why does my dog roll in stinky stuff?

Stinky Stuff Theory #1 – Your Pup Covers New Smells with His Scent

Dogs often roll around on a new toy or bed to deposit their scent.

Animal psychologists suggest dogs rub against people to mark the person as a member of the pack and to leave their scent.

Cats also engage in the behavior when they rub against people.

Stinky Stuff Theory #2 – Your Pup Sends Messages to Other Members of the Pack

Believers think their pup is communicating with other pets in the home

Theoretically, by rolling in something smelly, they communicate with their pack something might be good to eat nearby.

However, if dogs were behaving as such, pack members would try and find the site of the smell after“communicating” with the original pup.

Science has debunked the theory.

Another interpretation is your pup sharing his“adventures with the pack.

He’s saying, “Hey! Look where I’ve been!”

Stinky Stuff Theory #3 – Your Pup Wants to Prevent Parasites

Theory #3 holds the least water.

Factually inaccurate, the theory suggests bad smells deter parasitic insects, such as fleas.

However, bad smells attract most insects, as they signify decomposing organic matter.

Stinky Stuff Theory #4 – Your Pup Acts on His Wolf Instincts

One of the best theories suggests your pup acts out his wolf instincts.

Before wild dogs became domestic, they hunted for survival. If a prey animal smelled a dog nearby, it would run away.

Dogs would roll in the droppings of their prey to keep them from running.

If prey smells its own droppings, it’s less likely to run from the dog.

Therefore, your pup may roll in smelly stuff to engage their urge to hunt. 

Stinky Stuff Theory #5 – Your Pup is Exercising His Sense of Smell

A human being’s dominant sense is vision.

Dogs’ dominant sense is the smell. Dogs have millions of scent receptors humans don’t.

Like people, dogs enjoy sensory stimulation.

Therefore, your pup may be expressing his sense of smell by rolling in smelly organic matter.

What can you do?

First, remember the behavior is natural.

Second, you don’t have to live with a stinky dog.

Stop Your Pup From Continuing His Behavior

  • Annoy your pup when he rolls in something smelly. Spray him with a water bottle, or make a sound he doesn’t like.
  • Keep your pup on a short leash during walks.
  • Clean up messes in your yard.
  • Immediately hose off your pup when he gets in something stinky.

If your pup associates rolling around in stinky stuff with an unpleasant experience, his behavior will stop. 

Does your pup roll around in stinky stuff? What have you done to deter him? Share your story below!

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