What is it with dogs rolling in dead things?


What is it with dogs rolling in dead things!

My kids washed Jazz and Sheba the other day. Nice, clean labradoodles emerge dripping with water. They both do the doggy shake, water flying in all directions. Kids emerge as wet as the dogs.

Happy days πŸ™‚

Dogs get towel-dried and the front door is opened so they can go crazy outside. Dogs run around like demented rabbits for a few minutes.

Then Sheba proceeds to roll on smelly dead toad!


A stream of invective emerges from my usually clean mouth 😦


I like to think of it as a metaphor for what has just happened.

This is not a one off and dog owners everywhere will be nodding their heads in knowingness.

We’ve had the dead possum roll, the dead fish roll, the dead shark roll. Anything in a state of decomposition and suitable smelly will do.

Theories abound for why dogs roll in smelly, dead stuff, but I like to think they do it just to piss me off.


28 thoughts on “What is it with dogs rolling in dead things?

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  1. We call it doggy perfume. They don’t like our perfume, we don’t like theirs. They don’t understand that we don’t like what they like. Simple as that.


  2. it seems they know just how to push the button, doesnt it. so maybe its to get some of the clean smell out. knowing of course it will piss us off too, all fun and games. argh!

  3. According to a little know chapter in the Book of the Dead (the ancient Egyptian funerary text) all dogs must roll in dead things…I believe that chapter was written by a cat. πŸ™‚

  4. I’d like to know what the madcap run round the house and garden immediately after a bath is all about. The wife has tried persuading me not to do it but I think it’s genetic.

  5. I think it’s the cavedog thing. ‘Me big tough dog. Me no like perfumey thingy. Me roll in dead stuff to show I am de top dog and I kill things. Even if I didn’t kill de thing me still roll in it to convince other dogs I killed it. Den dey give me de respect and me be original gangsta dog.’

    My dogs used to do it all the time. It was both frustrating and funny. My son used to do it too as a toddler. Literally seconds after having his bath he was either covered in jam, paint or snot. I think dogs are quite like children – constantly taunting the person in charge of carrying out bathing procedures. Hahaha.

  6. Bwhahahahaha, indeed! πŸ˜€ – dogs will be dogs (your quote of the moment is perfect)

    “dead possum roll, the dead fish roll, the dead shark roll” – sound like some new dance crazes

  7. and if they don’t roll in it, they want to eat the dead smelly thing… just the other day my 16yr old corgi tried to poo and eat a dead lorikeet at the same time… age hasn’t slowed him!

  8. Hello! I’ve often wondered why dogs roll around in the grossest things … perhaps they just hate being clean? … These days my dog is more inside than out most of the time, so he manages to stay relatively clean … as far as I know anyway!?!

    Sorry for my absence of late, it’s lovely to catch up on all your wonderful words and photos. Take care. xx

    1. Hello Tracey πŸ™‚ You do not have to apologise (BWO – blogging without obligation πŸ˜‰ ) – hope you enjoyed your overseas travels (thanks twitter – haha). I think dogs don’t like the clean smell (esp, shampoo) – after all they do have super sonic noses – though this does not explain why they go for the really smelly stuff – you think if they are so sensitive to smell that they would avoid the cadavers – haha. Happy Christmas Tracey for you and yours and lets hope 2012 is uneventful (ie., no cyclones, no floods …)

    1. She is Tilly – a really wonderful temperament – when we have visitors, she goes up to them and leans against their legs waits to get her head massaged πŸ˜‰ She has some negatives but why tell the whole world – hahahaha

  9. Bwahaha, thanks for all the laughs! And your dog in the photo looks just like she’s laughing too! Lovely post – what a hoot – thanks, Gabe.

    Seriously, I believe rolling in smelly things is a hang over from the days of yore when dogs hunted for their supper and they didn’t want their dog-smell getting to their prey on the wind, so they covered it with another smell. Believe it, or not!

  10. I have a co-worker that has a dog that looks just like yours and calls him Oliver. She, too, says if she lets him out too soon the whole bath process is ‘awash’…so to speak. I use to have a dog that was nearly all white and after bath time she went straight away to roll in something. Love this post! LOL

  11. Evidently the dog schnoz is very sensitive, and they just sense the world, smell-wise, in ways that we humans cannot comprehend.

    And thank goodness for that, too! (Don’t want to understand the beauty of the dead frog thing, no I don’t ….)

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