You’ve just spent an hour grooming the dog. The bath water turned brown with grime. The ears are cleaned and the hair is trimmed. Fido’s nails are clipped. You have applied the flea and tick repellent. The dog is clean and shiny and you are glad the work is finished. It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a fresh smelling dog.
Most dog owners know that this scenario can turn bad in a heartbeat. One of the children leaves Fido out the door before he is completely dry and the ornery canine heads off to the fields. Upon his return, there is brown yucky stuff all over his back. He smells terrible and no one wants to pet him in fear of getting what looks and smells like dead animal on their hands. Another deep cleansing is needed before the dog can go indoors again.
After you finish round two of bathing, you shake your head in disgust and wonder why Fido chose to roll in stinky dead things. Unfortunately, no one knows the answer for sure, but there are a few common theories on why dogs like to roll in feces and other smelly things.
One theory is that dogs roll in smelly substances so that they mask their own doggie smell. This stems from the days when dogs had to hunt for their food. Taking on another scent kept prey from realizing the smell emanated from a dog, thus disguising the hunter as a predator.
Another theory is that Fido chooses to roll in organic rotting things such as dung or dead animals as a means of showing the rest of the pack what sources of food are available nearby.
Another theory why Fido insists on covering himself with disgusting slime is that he is trying to cover the smell with his own scent. This may be why dogs like to rub against peoples’ legs. The dogs are marking them with their odors, making the people part of the pack.
Some experts believe that dogs roll in things that smell bad so that they cover up the odor of the shampoo and/or conditioner used to bathe them. While you may think your clean dog smells great because you used an expensive shampoo recommended by the dog’s vet, he or she doesn’t necessarily agree with you. That’s why they head outdoors to roll in the yard or take off to find the most disgusting odor around.
Unfortunately, your idea and your dog’s idea of perfume are far from being the same. What Fido thinks smells good can send you running and gasping for fresh air. Keep in mind that Fido doesn’t understand that his rotten and disgusting smell is a bad thing. He thinks he smells great, so he’s easily confused when you refuse to pet him or allow him to enter the house.
It does very little good to yell and scold Fido for trying to change his smell. He’s doing what he instinctively thinks he should do. He didn’t set out on this reckless path to make you angry.
The best thing you can do is to keep a watchful eye after bath time. Don’t allow Fido free reign to search for the smelliest stuff he can find.