Why Does My Dog Roll in Dirt?
It’s easy to think of our canine pals as humans wearing fur coats. That has never been more true than when they engage in behaviours that might not make a lot of sense to us. One such behaviour is rolling around in dirt. It’s a behaviour that has baffled pet owners since time immemorial.
Rolling around in dirt is an act that dates back to prehistoric times when wolves roamed the wild. It has been suggested that the practice is a way of camouflaging a wolf’s natural scent with the smell of the soil. This allows the wolf to get closer to its prey or to hide from predators.
The Scavenger Lifestyle
Dogs are descendants of wolves and, like their wild cousins, sometimes enjoy foraging for food. Even when food is provided for them, some dogs just can’t help but roll around in dirt to look for whatever tasty morsel they can find.
Rolling in dirt can also be a way in which a dog communicates its wellbeing to other members of its pack. The smell that results from rolling in dirt can be an olfactory signal that says:
- “Hey, don’t worry, I’m feeling great!”
At the end of the day, one of the main reasons why dogs roll in dirt is just pure joy. Finally free to run and explore, with their noses exploring all the amazing smells that our environments present to them, dogs seek out and roll around in the dirt because it just feels good!
So if you ever catch your pup rolling around in the dirt, it’s best to take it as them expressing their canine joy rather than trying to analyse why they are doing it. After all, our loyal four-legged friends should be allowed to act on their animal instincts once in a while.
2. How can I discourage my dog from rolling in dirt?
The best way to discourage any unwanted behaviors is to provide alternate methods for your dog to gain the desired effect. If your dog enjoys being outdoors, it’s likely that he or she is looking for the sensations that come from rolling in dirt for the joy of digging and digging. Instead of completely denying the dog access to dirt, provide the dog with their own digging area that is filled with sand or dirt, and make sure it is lined with rocks to prevent digging. Encourage the dog to dig in this area and reward them each time they do. You can also try to distract the dog by playing games such as fetch or a game of tug of war. Additionally, providing mental and physical stimulation can tire out your pup and prevent them from getting into mischievous activities like rolling in dirt.
5. Is rolling in dirt more common in certain breeds of dogs?
Yes. Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to roll in dirt than others. For example, breeds such as scent-hound breeds (Beagles, Basset Hounds, etc.), terriers, hunting/working breeds (Retrievers, Pointers, etc.), and some Spitz-type (Shiba Inu, Akita Inu, etc.) breeds tend to have more of a tendency to roll in dirt due to their instinctual drive to use scent to explore their environment.