4 min read


Why Do Dogs Play In Poop



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Play In Poop




In order to entertain themselves and use their pent-up energy, dogs often play with a lot of things. Toys, slippers, the remote control, the cushion, you name it, they will use it to amuse themselves; they may even resort to playing in poop sometimes. Nasty, yes and not something that a dog owner will like. However, we have to face the occasional dogs rolling in poop scenario. It does happen and if it hasn’t yet, there is a big chance that it will. 

So, what is the reason for this appalling sight? Why do dogs find it such an entertainment when they play with nasty and smelly poop? If you are scratching your head, you are not alone so let us clear the air.

The Root of the Behavior

Just because dogs have a very strong sense of smell and more than 20 times as many olfactory receptors compared to humans does not necessarily equate to a superior idea of what smells good. Feces, one of the most unpleasant things known to man, is clearly something that dogs relish. They just seem to have a knack for the smell of poop.

Although our canine friends cannot really understand why we wince in disgust and scream when they come home smelling like they just got out of the sewer, there may be some biological logic for this repulsive but rather common behavior.

It has been suggested by experts that dogs may be inclined to this behavior because they want to mask their own scent. In the wild, this is something very important because it means safety and survival. By masking their own scent, they can throw predators off their trail and they can confuse prey off their game and make it easier to catch them. Although your dog is not a wild animal, he still retains the traits of his ancestors. 

Another related theory is that pre-domesticated canines used to roll around in smelly things, including feces, to “tell” other dogs where they have been and what they have encountered in their wild adventures. It is their way of SMS-ing other dogs that “Hey, smell where I have been! I have been out discovering plenty of stuff!”

However, the simplest explanation is often the most correct and that is dogs often start playing with their poop out of boredom. When your dog is often left alone for long periods of time without any toy to play with, he will likely start playing with his poop for lack of a better thing to do. After all, you must make do with what you have. The same goes for canines too.

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Encouraging the Behavior

As much as possible, you would not want to come home to a dog that smells and looks like poop with four legs. In order to combat this problem, you must determine the possible reasons to take the right course of action.

Dogs that play with their poop out of boredom should be left with toys that they can play with. Furthermore, as an owner, you must spend enough time with your dog, and most importantly exercise him more. When your dog has spent his energy running around and playing with proper toys, it is less likely that he will have the time and energy to play with his poop.

If you have to leave for work during the day, make sure that you take your dog out for a walk or even a jog. A dog that is tired is less likely to get into trouble. Crate train your dog when you are away and put toys in there with him.

By making sure that there is no feces lying around, enough exercise to alleviate boredom, and crate training, you can say goodbye to your poop problem in a few weeks. You can come home to a pleasant-smelling dog and a clean house. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

It has been said that providing your dog with toys will make it less likely for you to come home to him playing in poop. Yes, this is true but as an owner, you must be responsible for choosing the toys you give your dog. Numerous factors contribute to your dog’s safety and a great number depend on the size of your dog, his level of activity, and preferences. 

Keep in mind that the things that are usually the most attractive to canines are often the most dangerous. Buy only toys that are of suitable size for your dog. Toys that are too tiny can easily be swallowed and can become choking hazards. 


Coming home to a smelly dog with poop all over is a very serious possibility but there are steps you can take to prevent this from ever happening or from happening again. The solution lies in providing him plenty of exercise, crate training him and giving him appropriate toys so that he does not even have time to think of poop, much less play in it. 

Written by a Chow Chow lover Jhoana Carla de Toro

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 03/01/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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