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Can someone please help me understand why my dog likes to…

Can someone please help me...
Can someone please help me understand why my dog likes to roll in his own poop? It’s really driving me crazy. I grew up on a farm so I’m gemeral I am not squeamish but I’m getting really tired of cleaning poop off him. It smells much worse to me than horse poop and is probably on par with cow poop.
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Answered in 1 hour by:
1/15/2018
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20,441
Experience: Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
Verified

Hi JaCustomer,

Welcome to Just Answer. My name is Jane. I have been involved professionally with dogs in the healthcare and behavioral fields for over 20 years. I’ve worked as a Vet Assistant and Behaviorist and have extensive experience in dog reproduction, as a breeder, for even longer than that.. Canine behavioral issues and training are also my specialties. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

I totally understand your aversion to dog feces smell. I'm a breeder and it can get incredibly smelly. On to your question though. It is believed that this behavior is rooted in the ancestry of the dog namely the wolf. In an attempt to hind their own scent, they would roll in feces, urine and dead things. This would help cover up the wolf scent and allow them to creep up closer to game. Of course, today not many dogs need to hunt for there own food, but the behavior still occurs in some dogs.

Keeping your dog on a leash and correcting your dog when your dog tries to do this should over time teach your dog that it is not acceptable behavior. If you let your dog out unleased in your own yard, you will have to daily patrol the yard and remove any feces or dead animals so your dog will not be tempted. I do recommend the leash method as that does TRAIN the dog to know you find it unacceptable behavior. Patrolling of any area you go to where the dog will be off leash will need to be done.

My dogs will roll in dead things. I've found that keeping scented wet ones and wiping immediately afterwards helps cut down on the odor. In your dog's case, you might need to make rolling in the feces unpleasant. Perhaps a squirt bottle with citronella in it or other strong odor like vinegar. If you can make it unpleasant for peppy when he rolls in it, you can at least let him know the behavior is unacceptable. Of course, this means being with your dog when he is outside all the time. There is no magic cure for this. You just have to continue working with him. Now you can speed training along by rewarding him with some hot dog slivers when he smells fecal matter or eliminates and DOES NOT roll in it. That type of treat is high value and if the dog realizes the connection, he will stop rolling in the feces in order to get the treat.

I wished there was more we could recommend. I have noticed that the more you bathe a dog, the more likely they are to go out and roll in feces and dead things. Now I did think of another thing you might try which is to get some predator scent such as fox urine or bear urine and put it in a spray bottle. Spray it on the feces. If it is rooted in covering their scent, they won't want to replace it with a predator's scent.

If you have any further questions concerning this matter or need clarification, please do not hesitate to respond. At the conclusion of our correspondence, your 5-star rating will be most appreciated, as this will enable me to continue to send quality answers to additional clients and receive recognition from the website for my assistance.

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20,441
Experience: Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
Verified
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you for your reply. Your answer makes a lot of sense because the xolo is a primitive breed and they definitely have some unusual habits. I think the poop rolling is one of them. The other thing this dog does which I have NEVER seen a dog do is to climb. He can scale most fences and he often climbs into the lower parts of trees when going after squirrels. I wish I knew this before getting one but his
personality does outweigh these negative things. I like the idea of making the feces unpleasant. The problem is that he poops on a poop pad over night and that is when he is rolling in it. Because he doesn’t have any hair I can’t let him out too long in the weather we have been having (below 25 degreesF). But I’m going to change his feeding time so he poops during the day so I can better monitor it. This is a video of a xolo climbing a fence- I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw my own dog do it. https://youtu.be/MHbdOEY287s

What a cutie. You can stop him climbing over in a few different ways. One way is to add extensions on to the top of the fence poles like they use for barbed wire tops but pointed inward. You can then run chicken wire on those extension which in effect would make him have to climb almost upside down in order to get out. The other thing that can be done is to install a roll bar on the fence top. It is basically a pole inside a pole with a heavy wire strung along the top of the fence. When the dog's paws hit the pole, he can not get a grip on it and falls back to the ground. See this here:

https://www.facebook.com/RSPCAAustralia/photos/a.89644227983.87764.25261457983/10151932271357984/?type=1&theater

This works. He is a clever little one.

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