Ah, another one of those typical dog behaviors that us humans just can’t understand and our dogs just can’t get enough of! If you have a working or hunting dog such as a Beagle, Australian Shepherd, Hound or Border Collie, you may have caught them many o’ times rolling around in the grass only to come over for a kiss smelling like road kill. Believe it or not, there is method to their madness!
All dogs (yes, all) are descendants of wolves and have many of their instincts firmly locked into their brains. It is thought that wolves would roll in carcasses of their prey to mask their own scent, therefore making lunch a much easier catch than normal. Since their prey could not detect their “wolf smell” under the smell of rotting flesh, they took very little mind to their presence. And then they were food for the non-wolf-smelling wolf. Just like anything else, the wolves thought. “If it works, keep using it!” And your dog has the same instincts, even if hunting for food means lying under the kitchen table waiting for someone to miss their mouth.
Hunting and working dogs are the most common rollers of death as they were originally bred for…well, hunting and working, much like their wolf relative. It is not as common to find your dainty Yorkie searching for piles of rotten grass to moisturize their fur with. Your Beagle, on the other hand, finds that same pile of rotten grass a pile of pure heaven and the perfect trick to masking his nice, clean, shampooed smell.
Here at PuppyMatch4You, we always like to give a little solution after our ingenious explanation and here comes another.
Just as tricks are taught with positive reinforcement, bad behavior is stopped with negative reinforcement. This does not mean, however, that you must inflict pain. The trick is to catch your dog in the act – not a few seconds after or before, right in the moment. Use a loud, sharp “NO” or a clap, a spray of water or even a loud horn – anything that will distract your dog from his current bath of stench. Firmly tell your dog “NO” again and lead him away from whatever was so intriguing to his nostrils in the first place. When he follows, you praise. Repeat this each time you catch him in the act and sooner or later, he will catch on and you will have a good-smelling pup for a much longer period of time.