So September has arrived and so has the cooler weather. If my 13 1/2 year old Chocolate Lab Marley could talk I am almost certain she would say that FALL is her favorite time of year. Sunny but cooler weather made for walking or just rolling around in the backyard grass. Last Sunday, while folding the laundry, I witnessed her on her back, legs in the air, rolling in some rabbit droppings. I tapped on the window for her to stop, she gave me a look as if to say “aw mom why are you always ruining my fun” and then I decided to look up why it is she so enjoys rolling in a STINKY smell.
According to my research, there are a variety of reasons why a dog will roll in something that smells bad. But first of all, you must realize that what smells bad to humans may not smell so bad to a dog.
1. Cover up perfume
Sometimes dogs will roll in the grass or in something smelly right after getting a bath. Some dog shampoos have perfumes that may be pleasant to humans but smell awful to the animal. It is just an effort to mask the unpleasant and un-dog-like odor.
2. Mask own scent for hunting
The major theory why dogs will roll in smelly material is based on the relationship of domesticated canines to wolves.
Wolves will often roll in decomposing carcasses or the feces of plant eating animals or herbivores. This would mask their own scent and enable them to sneak up on their prey without detection. It could even fool members of the other species into accepting it as one of their own. This ancient instinct may have carried over to domesticated dogs.
Working and hunting dogs tend to roll in smelly stuff more often than other breeds. Perhaps this is because they are more closely related to wolves.
3. Advertise to the pack
Another school for thought is that dogs may roll in feces or a dead animal’s remains to “advertise” what they have found to other members of the pack. Rolling in the material is a way for your dog to let you know that it found something interesting.
4. Calling card
Male dogs will urinate on a tree or post and females will urinate near the object. They do this as either to mark their territory or as a way to communicate concerning who has been there. Likewise, one theory is that the dog is claiming a carcass or remains as its own by rolling on it and imparting its own scent onto the object.
5. ATTENTION SEEKING
Dogs that roll in dog feces or their own may be seeking more attention and just doing something like that to get some sort of attention.
Happy (STINKY) Fall! WOOF! WOOF!