Why Do Dachshunds Roll in Poop?

Why do dachshunds love rolling in poo? And why do they feel the need to smear it all over their bodies and run straight back to us with their tails wagging like it’s the best thing in the world? Don’t worry – we’re going to answer all your questions about dachshunds and their poop-rolling habits!

Why do dachshunds roll in poop? This is why dachshunds roll in poop:

  • To disguise their own scent (for protection and to help with hunting)
  • To tell other dogs where they’ve been
  • For a bit of perfume
  • To make themselves look more important
  • They like the smell
  • It’s great fun!

Read on to find out how to stop your dachshund rolling in poop, what to do when he does it, and how you can teach him to leave it alone.

Why do dachshunds roll so much?

Dachshunds roll in poop because it’s a natural instinct that stems from the behaviour of wolves and wild dogs. They disguise their own scent with poop so they can creep up on their prey without being noticed and also protect themselves from bigger predators.

All dogs can be a bit gross sometimes. They have so many disgusting habits we can’t get our heads around. Things like sniffing each other’s bums, eating poop and snaffling the most revolting-smelling foods. So we shouldn’t be surprised, when they see a big pile of poop, they just have to roll in it. And its not just dog, cat, fox, bird and cow poo either – dogs love rolling in all sorts of horrible stinky things!

Why Do Dachshunds Roll in Poop? Dachshund rolling on his back in the grass with paws in the air
Dachshund rolling in the grass

No one knows exactly why dachshunds and other dogs like rolling so much, but there are a few different theories. Some people think it stems from the behaviour of wolves and wild dogs, as dachshunds would still have some of these instincts. Others think it’s to cover their own scent. Wild animals have an amazing sense of smell and can easily pick up the scent of a dog. By covering themselves in something strong-smelling like poo, dachshunds can mask their own odour. In the wild, they might have done this to creep up on prey, so the prey didn’t pick up their scent and run off.

But it might have worked the other way too. Dogs might have rolled in poo to protect themselves from bigger predators. So it’s not surprising dachshunds still roll in poo instinctively. They still do lots of natural behaviours, like digging, or making a ‘den’ before sleeping too.

Why Do Dachshunds Roll in Poop? Dachshund rolling in poop on the grass
Dachshund rolling in poop

Some other theories are that dachshunds do it as a way of communicating with their pack to tell them where they’ve been. Apparently, other dogs can literally smell the dog’s journey through the different poos. They may also roll in poop to use it as insect repellent or to waterproof their coats, or just because they like the smell so they rub it on themselves like perfume.

Even though there are quite a few theories, the reality is, dachshunds enjoy rolling in poop. It’s fun for and gives them a rush. It’s like kids seeing a puddle and thinking ‘I have to jump in that!’ – even though it’s messy and a pain to clean up, and mum and dad won’t be pleased, it has to be done!

How do I stop my dachshund rolling in poop?

Train your dachshund to understand the ‘leave it’ command. Learn the signs he’s about to roll and interrupt him before he does it. Watch him at all times when he’s outside or keep him on a lead so he can’t run off and roll in anything nasty.

Why Do Dachshunds Roll in Poop? Dachshund rolling in poop on the grass
Dachshund rolling in poop

Start training

Stopping your dachshund from rolling in poop can be hard if he’s off the lead, but it’s not impossible. It’s basically all about training. You can pop him on the lead in the garden or on walks to stop him rolling. If you want to let him off the lead on walks or to run freely in the garden, you’ll have to work with him on the ‘leave it’ command.

Watch for signs

What you need to do first is learn the signs he’s about to roll, and watch him closely when you’re out on walks. If he stops in one place for a long time, he’s probably found something. First, he’ll dip his head towards it and then slowly lower his body into it. This movement can be hard to spot with dachshunds (especially miniatures or puppies) as they’re already so close to the ground, so take your cue from the fact he’s staring intensely at something on the ground.

Why Do Dachshunds Roll in Poop? Dachshund laying down in grass and looking straight ahead
Dachshund about to roll in poop

Interrupt your dachshund with the ‘leave it’ command

As soon as you see him doing this movement, you need to interrupt him with the ‘leave it!’ command. If he stops, give him a treat and a big fuss for choosing you over a big stinky pile of poo (remember, rolling in poop is great fun for him, so make the treat worthwhile).

Put your dachshund on a lead

If you think he’s going to go straight back to the poo, you could pop him on his lead until you’re out of the danger zone, and keep working on his obedience until he knows not to go back.

Miniature dachshund going for a walk with his owner
Dachshund being walked on a lead

Don’t react

If he ignores you and rolls anyway, don’t tell him off – just take him home and clean him up. Or, if you’re in the garden, take him inside for a bath and clean up the poo from the garden. You’ll just need to keep working on his ‘leave it’ training – he’ll eventually get it.

How do I teach my dachshund to leave it?

This is how you teach your dachshund to leave things:

  • Ask your dachshund to sit in front of you
  • Get a treat and hold it in a closed hand
  • Let your dachshund sniff and lick your hand but don’t open your hand
  • Firmly and calmly say the word ‘leave it’
  • Wait until your dachshund naturally moves his nose away from your hand
  • Immediately open your hand and let your dachshund take the treat
  • Only treat when your your dachshund moves his nose away from your hand
  • Keep repeating this for 10 rounds
  • Next, get a treat and place it on your open hand
  • Say the ‘leave it’ command
  • If your dachshund keeps his nose away from your hand, give him the treat.
  • If your dachshund moves towards the treat, close your hand and say ‘leave it’ again
  • Keep extending the time you ask your dachshund to ‘leave it’.

What do I do if my dachshund rolls in poop?

If your dachshund rolls in poop, don’t tell him off. Just put rubber gloves on and clean him up thoroughly to get rid of the smell. And, if the poop is in your garden, clean that up too. Then start teaching your dachshund the ‘leave it’ command.

Why Do Dachshunds Roll in Poop? Soaking wet dachshund having a bath after rolling in poop
Dachshund being bathed after rolling in poop

When you get home, pop your dachshund in the bath as soon as possible (remember to keep the bath shallow and not too hot or cold). Make sure you have something like rubber gloves to protect your hands, as you don’t want to take any risks with touching poop.

Lather up your dachshund with special odour-neutralising doggy shampoo. If you don’t have any, you could put some ketchup on the affected area, leave 10 minutes and then wash off with your regular doggy shampoo. The tomato in the ketchup will neutralise the poop smell completely (just bear in mind that ketchup could stain dachshunds with lighter coats). Give the doggy shampoo 5 minutes or so to work before you rinse it off. If there’s a lot of it, you might want to ‘rinse and repeat’!

Once he’s clean and smells nice again, get him out and make sure you give the tub a really good scrub so there’s no leftover germs from the poo in your bathtub.

So there you have it. Dachshunds love rolling in poop and other smelly things and it’s natural for them to do it, so it’s over to you to train him not to. Remember, rolling in poo is great fun for him, so he may need a few more baths before he learns to ‘leave it’!

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