Why Do Dogs Like to Roll Around in Dirty Things?

BY Natalie Zamora, Mental Floss

Despite our dogs being the most adorable things on the planet, that doesn’t mean they can’t be kind of gross sometimes. From eating poop to getting into the trash, some of the activities our furry friends choose to engage in make absolutely no sense to us. But for them, they have very good reasons to behave this way, and their desire to roll around in dirty things is no exception.

Some dogs seem to be obsessed with finding piles of dirty laundry, garbage, feces, or even straight-up dirt and mud to bathe in. But why? Can’t they tell it’s just more work for us to clean them? Well, according to ​​Pedigree​, it’s probably just their way of marking where they’ve been.

Your dog’s ancestors would usually roll around in dirty things to either hide their scent so that they could sneak up on their prey, or to mark their territory to show others that they had been there. Nowadays, your dog is probably practicing the latter. Wild dogs get all smelly to show their packmates where they’ve been, and to boast about the adventures they’ve had. Your dog might be doing the same to show you or your other pets what they’ve been up to.

Pedigree points out that although it’s disgusting, this behavior is totally normal. Methods they suggest to prevent this from happening include making sure your yard is clean from poop or excessive mud or anything else your dog might want to get into. If this is impossible, you can try causing an “annoyance” for your dog—like making a loud and sudden noise—whenever they start rolling in something nasty, to signal to them that you’re not having fun. Sometimes, it pays to be brutally honest.