It never fails – no sooner does Fido return from the groomer looking clean and smelling fresh then he finds something gross and stinky to roll in.  You see him stop to sniff something for a little longer on a walk, and before you know it he has dropped his shoulder to the ground and is caking himself with some odiferous mystery substance.  Why do dogs insist on rolling in smelly stuff?

Experts aren’t entirely sure what the function of this behavior is, but the leading theory is that canids do this to collect information about the environment to then share with others.  Smells give information about where food may be located, what other animals are in the area, and where Fido has spent his day.  It is also likely that – distasteful as it is to humans – dogs likely just find this pleasurable.

To prevent lots of repeated baths, use positive reinforcement to teach your dog a very good response to their name, to come when called, and to check in with you regularly on walks so that you can get your dog’s attention away from the stinky spot.  Tips on teaching these skills can be found on our Behavior Help page.

Or check this out for more information about dog’s fascination with smells!


Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash