Dog rolling in feces

Posted by carol-dolgins
Apr 8, 2010
We have a 10 month standard schnauzer and he started rolling in feces about 2 months ago. We've tried various things to get him to stop, but most of the time we aren't around when he does it (we have a large yard and let him out with our other dog). He also does this when he goes to a doggy camp and they are puzzled as to how to stop this behavior. Right now they are seeing hin do this and then putting him down in a subservient way much like the dog whisperer does for aggression. I don't know if this is a good way to treat this or not, but I am at a loss as to what to do.

Please help with some ideas! THANKS!

Posted by KOPsRobyn
Apr 8, 2010
Hi Carol,

Unfortunately, rolling in foul-smelling things just tends to be something that some dogs really like, and often the worse the smell, the more they seem to like it! It may be quite convince your dog to do otherwise, although it is good that you have caught it early whilst he is still young, because you will have a much higher chance of success than if you were dealing with an older dog that had the habit well established.

You will have to let him know that rolling in feces is not allowed and that he will be punished if he does so. If you catch him in the act (though as you say this may be quite hard because he tends to do it when you are not around), tell him NO in a loud voice, grab him by his collar and take him away. You should put him in a 'time-out zone', a place quiet and free of all other distractions, for about 5 minutes so that he realizes that he has misbehaved. Put him back into the yard afterwards and if he goes to roll again, take him straight back to time out. You may have to repeat this a few times initially but Schnauzers are very smart dogs and it won't take him long to figure out that you don't like him doing this.

If he is being sneaky about rolling especially when you aren't around, you may have to keep an eye on him without him knowing that you are there. Once he goes to roll, you could again say NO loudly or rattle a can of coins, followed by a command to come to you when he looks up at you. If he comes straightaway and doesn't stop to roll, you must give him lots of praise and a big reward so that he has an incentive to come to you again next time you call.

Another idea would be a more extreme form of aversion training, where he associates something negative with the rolling. You could try squirting him with a hose each time he goes to roll, and soon you will find that he won't be rolling at all for fear of getting drenched. Although effective, this is quite hard to carry out in practice as he must not know that you are on the end of the hose, otherwise he may make the connection that he only gets wet when you are around, so he may just end up rolling when you aren't there. Therefore you may actually have to be very subtle and have to hide from him when using this technique. Although it appears very time consuming and tedious at the start, thankfully it shouldn't take him long to catch on and decide it isn't worth getting soaked simply for a roll.

If nothing else seems to work, you may find that the simplest way of avoiding a smelly dog is to increase the number of times you clean out the yard, so that you don't leave him anything to roll in.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training!