4 min read


Why Do Golden Retrievers Love Mud



4 min read


Why Do Golden Retrievers Love Mud




Did your Golden Retriever just roll around in the mud after you gave him a bath? This is a common scenario many pet parents experience. Dog owners often wonder if their dog is doing it on purpose just to make their pet parents get mad. Your dog isn’t purposely making you angry by rolling around in the mud, but they are using their natural instinct. In the past, your dog’s ancestors lived in the wild and had a set of survival skills that have been embedded in their DNA. Rolling around in the mud or other stinky items is a natural and common behavior for dogs. The information below will reveal the reason your dog rolls in the mud or stinky substances.

The Root of the Behavior

Your Golden Retriever's ancestors lived in the wild and hunted for their food. This skill was essential to their survival. They had to be observant and surprise their prey. Their prey was often able to escape their capture by smelling the scent of a wild canine. Dogs would hide their natural scent by rolling around in mud or anything that had another odor so they can sneak up on their prey and capture them easily. The tactic of rolling around in the mud gave dogs an advantage while hunting. It also helped them disguise themselves from their own predators hunting for them in the wild. Another common reason experts think dogs rolled in the mud while living in the wild was to smother insects that were living on their coat at the time. Dogs were exposed to a variety of different insects and small animals that would sometimes hitch a ride on dog fur. Rolling around in the mud would often scare the insects away or smother them until they were no longer alive. 

Dogs that have a thick coat like Golden Retrievers often get hot. If your dog tends to roll around in the mud during hot summer days, there’s a chance he is just trying to cool off and the mud provides that relief. Golden Retrievers living in today’s world are domesticated dogs that live in a safe, healthy environment. They don’t necessarily need to use the skills they inherited from their ancestors. However, it is deeply rooted in their DNA. Your dog has instincts that help him live in the wild, which could be helpful on camping trips or if you ever get lost in the woods. Your trusty Golden Retriever will know how to survive on his own, which leaves you to your own defenses and skills. Don't worry, you won't have to roll around on your back in the mud to survive. 

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Encouraging the Behavior

This natural harmless behavior doesn’t need to be encouraged or discouraged by pet parents. Your domesticated lovable Golden Retriever enjoys his luxurious lifestyle now. Chances are he enjoys experiencing baths that help keep his coat clean. A common issue after the bath is that he runs and jumps in the mud. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and chances are the scent of the doggie shampoo and conditioner you use isn’t his favorite. He probably runs and jumps in the mud to dull the smell of the shampoo. If this is a common scenario for you and your dog, changing shampoos or using an unscented shampoo can help solve the problem. 

If you want to stop the situation from happening, you can bathe your dog in the bathtub instead of outdoors where water can form puddles and mud. Sometimes dogs just enjoy rolling around in nature. It is their natural habitat, after all. They might be feeling happy and decide to celebrate by rolling around in a nice juicy mud puddle. You can prevent this by limiting your dog’s exposure to mud or walking him on a leash to keep him away from muddy areas. If you have mud in your yard, you can section that area off to keep your dog away. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

Since rolling around in the mud is a natural behavior, it won’t be easy to stop your dog from continuing to roll around in the mud. It’s part of who he is and that’s something that can’t be removed. However, you can lessen your dog’s exposure to mud to help lessen the risk of the situation happening again. You can also discuss the issue with a professional dog trainer if the situation becomes uncontrollable. Dogs that enjoy rolling around in the mud also like any other stinky substance. Some dogs will roll around in poop, decomposed fish or any area on the ground that tends to have a strong scent. 


If you don’t want your dog walking around smelling awful and looking as if he was hiding in the jungle, prevent him from having access to mud and other stinky objects and areas. Covering the area with patches of grass or blocking the area in the yard that has mud will help. Discussing the issue with a professional dog trainer is also helpful. They are able to provide valuable tips for helping you cope with your dog’s love for mud.

By a Cocker Spaniel lover Shellie Sutera

Published: 05/17/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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