Super Smiley’s Top 3 on Why We Roll in Things That Stink!

Super Smiley, blog dog here reminding humans to stop and smell the roses…or maybe something a little stronger. We dogs just seem compelled to roll in things that stink! To us it’s like perfuming up with the most lavish smells around! What fuels this strong drive? This behavior is so deep within us that most dogs, even the fanciest most pampered pooches, have it.

  1. Today our people take care of us and feed us, but a long time ago as we dogs were evolving from the wolf and we were pack hunters. So, it might be that way back then, a lone dog scout would roll on a kill to take the message of what he found back to his pack. Kind of like a person taking a picture of a great find and then taking it back to show their family. Look what we found! We are proud of the way we smell! And, back then, that smell might have contained important life-saving information.
  2. Or, it could have been a way to disguise our own scent so other predators and prey didn’t smell or sense us as we traveled and hunted. A clever disguise! And another smart survival tactic!
  3. Or, it simply might be that smell is such a powerful sense for us that we just enjoy reveling in it! Like people love perfume and flowers, we love scents. And if we find a “good” one, we love to perfume up and show it off!

In any of these cases, the bottom line is we love being dogs and this is just part of what makes us who we are…Dogs!

Megan here now, and Super Smiley, good job! According to Pat Goodmann, research associate and curator of Wolf Park in Indiana, scent-rolling is a phenomenon that does seem to be a form of canine communication. Goodmann observed, “When a wolf encounters a novel odor, it first sniffs and then rolls in it, getting the scent on its body, especially around the face and neck. Upon its return, the pack greets it and during the greeting investigates the scent thoroughly. At Wolf Park, we’ve observed several instances where one or more pack members then followed the scent directly back to its origin.”

30 V2As dog stewards, we all know our dogs love to sniff. This is how they greet each other and how they greet us when we first come home. When we first walk in the door, it’s like they are smelling where we were, who we saw, or who we petted. So, maybe when they encounter something that is just off the charts smelly, they literally are compelled to throw themselves into it.

Even though this is a natural behavior, it isn’t the most sanitary or pleasant for human pack mates, and it may put your dog at risk. The best way to keep your dog from rolling in poop or dead animals is to keep his yard clean and to keep him on a short leash when walking. If he begins to actually eat poop, this is not normal behavior and may be a sign of a medical issue. Consult your veterinarian if this behavior occurs.

If your dog runs straight to roll in the stinkiest thing right after his shampoo, he may be telling you he doesn’t like that fragrance and is taking charge to change it. This is easily remedied by making a different shampoo choice.

So, with all this theorizing based on observed dog and wolf behavior and knowledge of canine evolutionary instinct, what I’m taking home from this dog lesson is:

  1. Dogs will be dogs.
  2. It’s our job to keep them clean and safe.
  3. And, let’s all remember to stop and smell the roses!

Until next time,
Woof and Super Smiles from,
Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®

Do you worry that your dog that just rolled in stinky stuff will never smell sweet again? To the rescue: try Whiff Odor Control shampoo. It’s designed to even neutralize skunk odor!

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