A nice hike in the woods is just the best, right?
Sun is out, your fur baby is beside you…
Or is he?
Yeah, uhmmm, no. They’re having the time of their life rolling in fox poo.
Your dog might as well whip out some speakers and blast Chamillionaire’s song, Riding Dirty.
Cue intro: “They see me rollin’, they hatin’”
And now he’s all dirty, but still has a cute and wonderful smile across his smelly face.
You go home and while washing them you let out a sigh that can be heard from Mars.
And you’re left wondering, “Why on Earth would you roll in fox poo, babyboo?”
Unlock the answers and learn about:
- 13 weird reasons why dogs roll in fox poo.
- How this behavior can help them survive in the wild.
- 3 tips to stop them from rolling fox poo and save yourself a smelly bath session.
- And so much more…
Table of contents
Why do dogs roll in fox poo?
Dogs roll in fox poo because they’re trying to mask their scent with smelly objects. It’s a part of their instincts to protect themselves from predators. Through this, they can also hide from their prey who won’t smell them. It’s also a way to tell their pack that their hunt was successful.
15 reasons why dogs roll in fox poo
#1: It’s part of their DNA
It’s a known fact that dogs are distant relatives of wolves.
A study conducted between 58 canids including 12 wolves shows that dogs share genetic similarities.
In the study, they found out that the dogs that are closest to wolves are those found in Southern East Asia.
Researchers discovered that modern domestic dogs originated in Southern East Asia around 33,000 years ago. Then moved to the Middle East and Africa around 15,000 years ago.
Then your dog’s ancestors finally arrived in Europe around 10,000 years ago.
Who knew our fur baby’s predecessors traveled so much, right?
And along with the travelling, they brought with them the DNA of wolves.
That’s why it makes perfect sense that your fur baby shares a lot of their behavior and mindset with them.
Rolling in poop and other smelly objects have also been observed in wolves.
They do this to dead bodies of animals that are prey. And roll in poop of plant-eating animals.
Because of the connection between wolves and dogs, it won’t be a surprise if they share similarities in their activities.
Good thing your pooch turned out to be cuter than their wolf counterparts.
Don’t get me wrong.
Wolves are majestic. But nothing can beat that puppy eye gazes your pooch gives you!
#2: To be better hunters
Since dog ancestors lived in the wild, they were used to hunting.
They have omnivorous diets despite belonging to the scientific order Carnivora.
Because of this, dogs are compelled to eat meat and look for them in the wild.
They don’t have the luxury of annoying a hooman for treats when they get hungry.
Your pooch is just so lucky to have you, right?
They don’t have to starve for days and try hard to catch their meal for the day.
However, they still carry in their DNA the skills in hunting.
This includes the techniques ancient dogs used to catch their prey.
One of these techniques is covering their scent.
And rolling in fox poo is a good way to do this.
When they weave through the forest floors in search of their food, they need to be stealthy.
Unlike humans who can build traps, weapons, and other tools to help them find food, dogs only rely on their stealthiness, speed, and teamwork.
If their prey can’t hear, see, or smell them approaching, there is a higher chance of them catching it.
“I feed my dog regularly. Why do they still roll in fox poo?”
This is because of the presence of prey drive in your fur baby.
Prey drive is any behavior that projects hunting instincts. Examples of these are:
- Searching for things.
- Biting to grab an object.
The aforementioned behaviors are more prominent in working dog breeds. Especially those that are trained to herd or hunt such as German Shepherds.
Predatory behavior sometimes comes naturally to your pooch.
It’s normal, don’t worry.
#3: Protection from predators
Animals in the wild can both be predators and prey.
And this is true for your fur baby’s ancestors, too.
There’s bound to be an animal bigger and stronger, faster, and more aggressive than them.
That’s why they need to protect themselves from these predators.
Dogs didn’t have self-defense lessons back then to help them ward off enemies.
But it’d be cool if they did, right? Imagine Bruce Lee but furry and cute.
Let’s call them “Fur Lee”. Clad in yellow tights and armed with martial art skills.
It’s funny to think about it, but unfortunately, our dogs and their ancestors can’t do this.
The closest thing they can get to actual protection is to hide their scent.
Through this, they won’t be detected from miles away.
Even if they’re moving in groups.
Their natural predators won’t know that there are dogs nearby.
If the dogs cover their scent with dead carcasses of other predators, they will seem invisible.
Your fur baby then carries this skill in their minds.
And that’s why they sometimes try to roll in fox poo and cover themselves with it.
#4: Showing off to other dogs their hunting skills
Well, your modern-day fur baby probably doesn’t have a pack that needs their hunting skills to survive.
But as we’ve established, there are still some predator behaviors that can manifest today.
Despite them being domesticated pets and well-taken care of.
They even sometimes go with us to fancy hotels and vacations.
According to the AKC, it has been theorized that dogs roll on smelly objects to show them off to other dogs.
Just like how humans would take photos or show their tanned skin to show others where they went for the summer vacation.
Your dog can’t go on Instagram and post fox poo photos so they roll in it and let their friends smell.
It’s widely known that dogs communicate and learn about their environment through scents.
Back in the wild, dogs might roll on dead carcasses and other edible items.
But since these days dogs don’t have access to dead animal carcasses, they might find fox poo as an alternative.
When other dogs smell the odor on your pooch, they might think, “Yooo, that’s awesome!”
#5: To let the pack know there’s food available somewhere
As pack animals, dogs are inclined to share resources with other members.
They let the weaker and younger members feed first so the whole pack survives and nobody is left behind.
In relation to this behavior, wolves also bring information back to other members of their family according to Pat Goodmann’s research on these animals.
Aside from howling to communicate, they just roll in the smelly food they found and bring the message back home.
Especially if they are scouring a wide landscape for something to eat.
This behavior may have been passed down to modern-day dogs.
That’s why when they find fox poo, even though they might not think of it as food (or maybe they do), they let their pack know.
Your fur baby could also just be trying to look out for you through this gesture.
It’s freakin’ stinkin’ cute.
#6: They like the scent
Scents are very attractive to dogs.
They fascinate doggos in ways that we humans just won’t understand.
Smells are how dogs discover the world around them and it excites them when they find something new or interesting.
However, in their case, these things can mean fox poo and other objects with foul (to humans) odor.
You may even have noticed that your dog follows you to the bathroom even if you’re making a million-dollar “deposit” there.
They just don’t think it smells bad.
It’s not that they don’t smell it. Oh no, no, no.
Quite the contrary.
According to Lynn Buzhardt, dogs have 100 million sensory receptor sites.
Humans’ noses pale in comparison to canines which only have 6 million.
If people’s noses had half the smelling abilities of a canine’s, we’d be smelling McDonald’s from miles away.
Midnight cravings would just skyrocket. Not to mention the sales of fast-food restaurants.
#7: To wear as a “uniform”
Do you have an office uniform?
Or maybe have joined an athletic team before?
Especially in sports that require a number of players per side, uniforms are important.
Imagine playing basketball without uniforms.
You might accidentally pass the ball to an opponent.
But with uniforms, you can easily differentiate your teammates.
Canines are the same.
Research shows that wild dogs roll in their packmates’ urine as a way to distinguish themselves from other packs.
Scents contain a lot of information for dogs and it may just be used as a method for them to “belong” to a group.
#8: Older dogs taught them
Dogs pass down skills and techniques from generation to generation.
They can do this through their DNA.
Just like how working dogs have the physical strength, intelligence, and expertise in helping their hoomans.
I mean, who taught a young Bloodhound to have incredibly excellent noses?
Their DNA structures did.
In the same way, skills that aren’t passed down through their genes may be done so by example.
Just look at this dog teach their pup how to go down the stairs:
It’s training moments like these that certain behaviors can be passed down from a canine to their kids.
According to research, interactions between a puppy and their doggy mom help shape their behavior.
Mommy dogs also discipline their pups by communicating to them that an action is not desirable.
In the same way, rolling in fox poo may have been a behavior that was taught by older dogs to your pups.
It’s also a good bonding activity for older dogs to teach and pass on knowledge to pups.
This, too, can be a dog’s way of trying to protect the pack – by teaching survival skills to the younger generation.
#9: Lack of training to alter behavior
Doggy training is important in keeping a safe and tidy home.
Imagine if dogs can’t be trained that chewing on things is bad.
You’ll end up with shoes with bite marks all over or a couch that has been ripped open.
Well, if you’re still a student, you can at least reason out that your dog ate your written homework if you forgot to do them.
Our fur babies are cute but, man, it can be chaos in our house sometimes – if training is absent.
And like most canine behavior, rolling in fox poo can be altered.
You can teach them to stop doing it or at least lessen the frequency and the urge to spray themselves with Chanel No. 5. “Exotic Edition” a.k.a. fox poo.
#10: Marking their belongings
As mentioned earlier, scents are important to dogs.
So much so that they also use it to claim things.
Your dog might even try to mark you with their scent by rubbing their bodies on you.
Yep, if they think you are a part of their pack, you’ll be marked “owned by Poochie” with their smell.
Dogs do this to things they own, too.
Canines even go as far as peeing in areas they want to claim as part of their territories.
Now, when they find something they like, fox poo, for example, it is natural for them to want to mark it as their own.
This is why they sometimes roll on it.
It’s their method of putting their scent in the pile of fox poo to let other dogs know that they need to stay away.
Your furry baby may be cute, but they can leave you wondering sometimes.
You may even ask yourself, “Who else would want something as smelly as fox poo?”
#11: To help their pack follow them home
This is another ancient dog behavior passed down to your modern-day pooch.
Since canines travel, hunt, and survive in the wild together, it is important for them to stay close.
When they go from one place to another, there might be some problems along the way.
Some members of the pack might walk slowly.
Others could suffer from an injury while traveling.
When these things happen, it’s best if they have a trail of scent to follow.
One member of the pack might wander off to investigate something in their territory.
They will then trace the pack’s scent so they can come back home.
It’s like having their own Google Maps but with smells.
#12: To get your attention
Dogs love being in the center of attention.
And they’d do anything just to get it.
Especially if you give them petting, treats, and other seemingly rewarding actions.
You see, when your dogs consider your attention a “prize”, they will do things that make you give it to them.
And when you finally succumb to their wishes, they remember the behavior that they did.
They then will try to do it again.
Rolling in poo? Oh, it will definitely grab your attention.
This may even be the fastest way they can get you to look at them.
You might even run as fast as a Formula 1 race car just to keep them away from it.
I don’t blame you, though. Even I would go crazy just to get them off the fox poo.
In some ways, you may have accidentally “trained” your pooch to do this.
#13: To cover other smells they don’t like
Dogs have very sensitive noses and they value it highly.
Rightfully so. After all, it’s one of the main senses they use to learn about the world around them.
Since dogs and humans perceive smell differently, there may be some scents that you like that they don’t.
And vice versa.
One of these scents is your perfume.
“Oh, really? Tell me more.”
Yep, your expensive and rare perfume might be pungent to your fur baby.
It can be too strong for them and will elicit negative reactions from them such as staying away from the source of the scent.
If only your dogs can speak, they’d probably say, “Ugh… hooman, why u mask ur natural scent with icky perfume?”
According to the Insider, these are other scents that your pooch will hate:
- Chili pepper.
- Cleaning products that have ammonia.
If it is necessary to have these in your home, make sure you apply them while they’re away.
If you’re doing general cleaning in your home and must use strong cleaning products, you can have a dog walker take your dogs away for a while.
Take them out for a nice walk in the park instead of hurting their cute little noses.
How do I stop my dog rolling in fox poo? 3 tips
#1: Always look out for rolling cues
The best way to make them stop is to learn their behavior when they’re about to roll in fox poo.
It’s like nipping the behavior in the bud before you’re at home scrubbing them down regretting why you went on a hike.
Typical doggy behavior, when they find something interesting, are as follows:
- Circling the pile of fox poo.
- Investigating by sniffing around.
- Lowering their body to get closer to it.
If you notice these actions when you’re out on a walk, make sure you stop them immediately.
You can try shouting their name or clapping.
Loud noises usually distract dogs from whatever activity they’re doing.
#2: Bring items to distract them
Another way you can stop your dog from rolling in fox poo is to divert their attention with objects.
It may be a hassle to bring extra stuff while you’re out, but I bet you’d wish you brought it when your fur baby is already smelling like poo.
Here are objects you can bring:
- Tennis balls.
- A stuffed toy.
- Their favorite blanket.
You can dangle the abovementioned things to keep their attention focused on you.
Getting them to play with you may also be helpful institutions like these.
#3: Train them
“Come on, this is easier said than done.”
Yes, training your dog can be time-consuming, but imagine getting them to stop rolling in fox poo…
It’s way better than having to wash them every time they bathe in poop, right?
Here are a few simple steps you can take to train your pooch:
- Take with you a bag of treats and bring them to the areas where they typically roll in fox poop. This can be a favorite hiking trail.
- When you find them noticing a pile of fox poo, try to distract them by calling them back to you.
- You can use verbal cues such as “stop it” or “leave it”.
- If they leave the fox poo give them a reward.
- Repeat until they become more obedient to your cues.
Soon, your dog will be able to ignore fox poo and control the urge to roll in it.
What to do if your dog rolled in fox poo
“These are good, but how about if my dog has already rolled in fox poo?”
It can be frustrating to clean up after your dog.
Not only that, if you brought your car with you, the smell can even transfer to your upholstery.
Aside from these issues, the scent of fox poo can also linger in your house if you have to wash them there.
However, there are several cleaning products you can use to ash your dog that are safe and highly effective.
You can use dog shampoo specifically made to remove the fox poo smell.
Also, make sure you wash their collar and other clothing that they wore when they rolled in fox poo.