Understanding the Urge: Why Does My Shih Tzu Roll in Poop?


Why does my shih tzu roll in poop?

Shih Tzus are known for their luxurious coats and adorable personalities. However, there is one behavior that can leave pet owners scratching their heads - the urge to roll in poop. This peculiar behavior can be both frustrating and embarrassing, but understanding why your Shih Tzu does it can shed some light on this seemingly unsavory habit.

Table Of Contents

One theory is that rolling in poop is an instinctual behavior that dates back to the dog’s wild ancestors. In the wild, predators would rely on their scent to stalk their prey. By rolling in strong-smelling substances like poop, the dog can mask their own scent and potentially confuse their prey. This behavior might be deeply ingrained in their DNA, leading to the irresistible urge to roll in poop, despite their domestication.

Another explanation is that rolling in poop is a way for your Shih Tzu to communicate. Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell and a unique way of communicating with each other through scent. By rolling in poop, your Shih Tzu may be trying to convey a message to other dogs, whether it’s to mark their territory or to attract a mate. So while it may seem disgusting to us, it serves a purpose in the canine world.

Lastly, it’s important to consider that rolling in poop could simply be a form of enjoyment for your Shih Tzu. Dogs have different ways of seeking pleasure, and rolling in poop might be one of them. As distasteful as it may be to us, the strong smell and texture of poop could be stimulating for your dog and provide them with a sensory experience they enjoy.

Understanding the reasons behind your Shih Tzu’s urge to roll in poop can help you navigate this behavior with patience and understanding. While it may not be the most pleasant of habits, it’s important to remember that dogs have their own instincts and behaviors that may not align with our human sensibilities.

The Role of Instinct

One possible explanation for why Shih Tzus roll in poop is their instinctual behavior. Dogs, including Shih Tzus, have a strong instinct to investigate scents and mark their territory. Rolling in poop may be a way for them to spread their own scent and assert their presence in their surroundings.

This behavior may stem from their ancestral roots as carnivorous hunters. In the wild, dogs would roll in the carcasses of their prey to mask their own scent and blend in with the environment, making it easier to approach their next meal undetected. Although Shih Tzus are now domesticated pets, this instinctual behavior may still be present, albeit in a modified form.

Additionally, rolling in poop could also be a way for Shih Tzus to communicate with other dogs. By rolling in poop, they may be sending a message to other dogs that they have been in the area and marking their territory. This helps establish their dominance and territorial boundaries, which is important in the dog world.

It is important to note that not all Shih Tzus engage in this behavior. Individual dogs may have different instincts and preferences. Some Shih Tzus may find the smell of poop attractive for various reasons, while others may not show any interest at all. It is essential for owners to understand their dog’s behavior and take necessary measures to prevent them from rolling in poop, as it can be unhygienic and may pose health risks.

Possible Reasons for Poop Rolling

There are several possible reasons why your Shih Tzu may engage in the behavior of rolling in poop. While it may seem strange and unpleasant to us, it is important to remember that dogs have different instincts and behaviors than humans.

1. Scent Marking: Rolling in poop can be a way for dogs to mark their territory with their scent. By rolling in the feces, they leave their own scent behind, which can help them establish their presence and communicate with other dogs.

2. Covering up their scent: Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and rolling in poop could be a way for them to mask their own scent. This behavior might be rooted in their instinct to hide their scent from potential predators or prey.

3. Seeking attention: Dogs are social animals and often seek attention and interaction from their owners. Rolling in poop may be a way for them to get your attention, even if it is negative attention. They may have learned that this behavior elicits a response from you, even if it is to scold or clean them up.

4. The smell is appealing: While the smell of feces might be repulsive to us, dogs have a different perception of smells. Some dogs may genuinely find the odor of certain types of feces appealing and may roll in it as a form of sensory pleasure.

5. Instinctual behavior: Rolling in poop may be a leftover instinct from wild canines. Wolves and other wild canids sometimes roll in carcasses or scat to bring the scent back to their pack. This behavior could be a remnant of that natural instinct.

6. Lack of proper hygiene: Rolling in poop may also be a sign of poor hygiene. If your Shih Tzu has not been groomed properly, they may resort to rolling in poop in an attempt to clean themselves.

7. Boredom or frustration: Dogs that are bored or frustrated may engage in odd or repetitive behaviors, such as rolling in poop. This behavior could be a way for them to alleviate their boredom or frustration and entertain themselves.

8. Health issues: In some cases, rolling in poop could be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as allergies or skin problems. If your Shih Tzu is persistently rolling in poop or exhibiting other abnormal behaviors, it is best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Overall, while it may be unpleasant to witness, rolling in poop is a behavior exhibited by some dogs. Understanding the possible reasons behind this behavior can help you address and manage it appropriately.

How to Prevent Poop Rolling Behavior

To prevent your Shih Tzu from rolling in poop, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind this behavior and take preventative measures. Here are some tips to help you prevent poop rolling behavior:

  1. Proper grooming: Regularly grooming your Shih Tzu will help keep their coat clean and reduce the chances of them being attracted to poop. Shih Tzus have long fur, so keeping it trimmed and free of knots and tangles will minimize their contact with feces.
  2. Teach the “Leave It” command: Training your Shih Tzu to respond to the “Leave It” command can be useful in preventing poop rolling. Practice this command consistently and reward them for obeying. It will teach them to avoid engaging with poop.
  3. Supervise outdoor activities: Keep a close eye on your Shih Tzu when they are outside, especially in areas where poop may be present, like public parks or walking trails. If you notice them showing interest in poop, redirect their attention and encourage them to move along.
  4. Keep the yard clean: Regularly clean up after your Shih Tzu in your yard to minimize the presence of poop. This will reduce the opportunity for them to engage in this behavior.
  5. Use deterrents: There are deterrent sprays available on the market that can be sprayed on areas where your Shih Tzu is prone to rolling in poop. These sprays often have a strong scent that dogs find unpleasant, discouraging them from engaging with poop.
  6. Consider professional help: If the poop rolling behavior persists despite your efforts, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide guidance tailored to your Shih Tzu’s specific needs and help address any underlying issues that may be contributing to this behavior.

By following these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of your Shih Tzu rolling in poop. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key in training them to avoid this behavior. Remember that each dog is unique, so finding the approach that works best for your Shih Tzu may require some trial and error.

Addressing Poop Rolling Behavior: Tips and Tricks

Dealing with a Shih Tzu that engages in poop rolling behavior can be frustrating and unpleasant. However, there are several tips and tricks you can try to address and minimize this behavior.

1. Keep a clean environment: One of the first steps to prevent poop rolling is to ensure that your Shih Tzu’s living space is clean and well-maintained. Regularly clean up after your dog and dispose of feces properly.

2. Supervise outdoor activities: When your Shih Tzu is outside, make sure to keep a close eye on them and prevent access to areas where they might encounter feces.

3. Train the “leave it” command: Teaching your Shih Tzu the “leave it” command can be helpful in redirecting their attention away from poop. Practice this command during walks or playtime, rewarding your dog with treats and praise when they comply.

4. Use deterrents: Consider using deterrent sprays or products specifically designed to discourage dogs from rolling in poop. These products usually have an unpleasant smell or taste that can deter your Shih Tzu from engaging in this behavior.

5. Seek professional help: If your Shih Tzu’s poop rolling behavior persists despite your efforts, it may be beneficial to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide personalized guidance and strategies to address this specific behavior.

6. Provide mental and physical stimulation: Sometimes, dogs engage in poop rolling behavior out of boredom or excess energy. Make sure your Shih Tzu receives plenty of mental and physical exercise to help reduce their urge to engage in this behavior.

7. Check for underlying health issues: In some cases, poop rolling behavior can be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as digestive problems or nutritional deficiencies. If you’re concerned, consult your veterinarian to rule out any potential medical causes.

Remember, addressing poop rolling behavior requires consistency, patience, and a thorough understanding of your Shih Tzu’s individual needs and triggers. With time and effort, you can help discourage this behavior and create a cleaner and more enjoyable environment for both you and your furry friend.


Why does my Shih Tzu roll in poop?

There could be several reasons why your Shih Tzu rolls in poop. One possible explanation is that dogs have a strong instinct to mask their own scent with stronger smells, and they may roll in poop to do so. Another reason could be that your Shih Tzu is trying to mark their territory by spreading their own scent. Additionally, some dogs may find the smell of poop attractive or intriguing, and rolling in it could be a way for them to satisfy their curiosity. It’s important to note that rolling in poop is a natural behavior for dogs, but if it becomes excessive or problematic, it may be worth consulting a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for further guidance.

Is rolling in poop a common behavior in Shih Tzus?

Yes, rolling in poop is a common behavior in many dogs, including Shih Tzus. Dogs have a strong sense of smell and are naturally curious animals, so they may be attracted to the scent of poop and find it interesting to roll in. However, it’s worth noting that not all dogs engage in this behavior, and individual preferences can vary. If you find that your Shih Tzu is repeatedly rolling in poop, it may be helpful to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health or behavioral issues.

How can I stop my Shih Tzu from rolling in poop?

There are several strategies you can try to prevent your Shih Tzu from rolling in poop. Firstly, you can keep a close eye on your dog during walks and quickly redirect their attention if you see them showing interest in poop. This can be done by calling their name, offering a treat, or using a distracting toy. Additionally, you can work on reinforcing the “leave it” or “drop it” command, which can be useful in preventing your dog from interacting with poop or other undesirable objects. It’s also important to ensure that your Shih Tzu has plenty of mental and physical stimulation, as boredom can sometimes lead to engaging in undesirable behaviors. Regular exercise, training, and providing appropriate chew toys can help keep your dog mentally and physically satisfied. If the behavior continues to be a problem, it may be helpful to consult with a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist for more personalized guidance.

Can rolling in poop be harmful to my Shih Tzu’s health?

While rolling in poop itself may not cause direct harm to your Shih Tzu’s health, there are potential risks associated with the behavior. Dogs can pick up parasites or bacteria from feces, which can lead to infections or other health issues. It’s important to ensure that your Shih Tzu is up to date on their vaccinations and parasite prevention treatments to minimize these risks. Additionally, if your Shih Tzu ingests any fecal matter while rolling in poop, it can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset or even more serious health problems. If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior, appetite, or health after they have rolled in poop, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper evaluation and guidance.

comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Like