It never fails--after giving your puppy a bath so he looks and smells lovely, he ends up rolling in poop or dead animals. We love them and enjoy cuddling with our pups, but the behavior can really make it a challenge to get up close and personal. Why do our dogs insist on seeking out the stinkiest stuff and eating poop or rolling in it?
Why Dogs Roll in Poop
Dogs and puppies live through their noses. Pungent scents prompt rolling behavior in some dogs. This scent ecstasy is similar to what cats experience when exposed to catnip. But when it comes to puppies, the doggy indulgence is a good bit more noxious, and tends toward offal.
When a dog finds what he considers an attractive odor, he rolls to rub his shoulders, back and neck into the offering. He spreads the scent over himself as though it's doggy cologne.
Nobody knows for sure why dogs roll in nasty things like rotting garbage, dead animals, or feces. I grew up next door to a river, and our dogs always considered dead fish to be particularly attractive--eww!
We know that our dog's sense of smell is many times more sensitive than our own. Maybe they detect subtle nuances that the human nose simply can't appreciate.
This may actually be an evolutionary trait that helped communicate with the family group when wild canids roamed the earth. "Perfuming" himself with such scents may allow the dog to carry the smelly message home, so other dogs can "read" all about the discovered food source.