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Does your pup like to roll in what seems to be every pile of poop he comes across? There is nothing like having your pup come running up to you covered in what looks like mud only to find out it's something completely different and far smellier. There are several theories as to why dogs do this, from masking their own scent to carrying this new scent back to their "pack". Maybe it could simply be that dogs like smelly things like dirty socks, shoes, and, of course, poop.
One thing to keep in mind, it is not going to be easy to train your dog not to roll in poop, especially if you have a large yard or allow your furry friend to go wandering off his leash. Part of the problem lies in the fact that you may not see the poop, so it may not be easy to know when your dog is getting ready to stop, drop, and roll.
However, if you watch your dog over a short period of time, you should be able to see his "tell signs." These are subtle actions or body movements your dog makes every time he gets ready to drop and roll. The first step in getting him to stop this nasty habit is knowing when it is about to happen so that you can put a stop to it before it happens.
You should teach your dog a command of your choice that accompanies stopping him from rolling in the poop. You can choose to create a specific command such as "no poop!" or use the same "leave it!" command you use to get him to stop doing many other things. Since this is a natural behavior for all members of the canine family, it is not going to be easy to teach your dog not to roll in poop.
Putting an end to this disgusting behavior is good for your dog's health, along with everyone in your family. It also cuts down on the constant baths, which are also not good for your dog’s skin. Not to mention no longer having to deal with all the muck and stink on a regular basis. The two key elements you’ll need to complete training are plenty of treats and patience.
The Poop Pile Method
Set up a practice area
For this method, you will need to create a sectioned off training area in your yard with a gate. Exercise pens are a great way to do this as they are lightweight and easy to work with.
Check things out
Put your dog on a long leash and let him roam around the pen
When he gets too close to the pile of manure give him the ‘leave it’ command and call him back to you.
Reward 'leaving it'
When he comes back give him a treat and heap on the praise.
Lose the leash
Once he does this regularly on the leash, take him off the leash and use the ‘leave it’ command until he stops paying any attention to the pile of poop at all.
Like any type of training, this will take a little time and patience, but the payoff is having a furry friend that no longer needs a bath every time you turn around.
The Clicker Method
Take a stroll
Take your dog for a walk in areas where he normally seems to find his favorite poop to roll in.
Observe and intervene
When your dog approaches a pile of poop or looks like he might have found one to roll in, distract or call him away.
If he leaves the poop, click and treat and let him go walking again.
Keep it up
Watch for his signs and interrupt him with a distraction or a command, such as ‘leave it’. Click and treat if he responds positively.
Repeat this process until your pup simply ignores any pile of poop he might have once been tempted by.
The Hidden Treat Method
Understanding ‘leave it’
Long before you can teach your dog that the command "leave it" also applies to his delightful habit of rolling in poop, he has to be taught what this command really means.
Set a lure
Start with a treat hidden in one hand
Wait him out
Each time your pup noses your hand, ignore it until he backs off, this might take several attempts.
Once he starts backing off add in the command "leave it."
When you can tell him to ‘leave it’ with your hand closed and he backs off, give him a treat and praise him.
Take the command to the field
Now that your pup understands the command ‘leave it’, take him out for a walk and use it when he starts to make like he wants to roll around in poop.
Reward 'leaving it'
When he does what he is told, be sure to reward him and praise him.
Training him this way may take longer if you haven't already taught him the "leave it" command. But if you have, then it shouldn’t take long at all. Just be patient your dog is smarter than you think.
By Amy Caldwell
Published: 10/24/2017, edited: 01/08/2021