We just got back home from our usual daily long walk where Kala, my happy Jack Russell, found some really stinky mud and she of course rolled in. Her happiness was really visible and my misery grew when she came out, the stink was awful. As this happens to us pretty often (and not just us ?), I thought I should write a post about it.
You will be surprised to find out that a lot of dog owners have the same problem. And they don’t necessarily have to be Jack Russell owners. It seems that this revolting behavior, to humans at least, is something normal and appealing for dogs. But we all know that dogs have an excellent sense of smell, so much better than ours. So, if we could feel the stomach wrecking stench, how come they don’t seem to be bothered by it? They even look happy and content, whenever they find something gruesome to rub into. It appears that, even though they do have an excellent smell sense, they have a totally opposite opinion when it comes to what is an attractive smell to them.
Probably when you caught your Jack Russell rolling on something bad smelling, he appeared to have so much fun that you probably did not have a clue about that is he doing there. You probably thought he was just enjoying his moment of freedom during the walk, rolling happily onto the green grass. The event probably brought a few smiles on your face as well, seeing him so content. Well, that is until you approached him with the idea of making his day even better, by scratching and caressing him. It that moment, you realized that a repulsing odor was coming from your dog, realizing that he was just rubbing in something awful, like poop, dead animals, or other bad smelling and greasy substance.
But the reasons can be more than a different choice regarding fragrances. Even if it is a small dog, never forget that your Jack Russell is a hunting breed. It is why they were created, and they carry with them this particular gene pool. Thus, rolling into smelly stuff can be a way to obtain camouflage. It seems to be a method to cover their dog smell, preparing them for hunting or other activities that won’t allow them to be recognized by prey or even enemies. They might not actually leave to hunt, but when they find something smelling bad, the instinct of obtaining a cover is too strong.
It is even funny if we think of how much we spent on dog cosmetics, trying hard to keep them clean, fresh and smelling beautiful. Not to mention the beauty sessions at professional pet grooming salons. We just can’t get enough of our dog when he smells like vanilla, strawberries, blueberry muffins, or other scents that bring pleasure to our noses. But it seems these products were more created for us because our furry little friends don’t appear too impressed. Probably, the next thing your Jack Russell will do, is to find another bad smelling thing to rub on, and getting rid of the unnatural perfume.
The point is that it is no use to get mad at them, yell at them or punish them, because rolling into smelly things is a natural dog behavior. Yes, the reasons why they do it are still disputed, and opinion shared, but they don’t do it just to upset you, they do it because their dog instinct tells them to. So the best cure for this behavior is opening your eyes and trying to see potential rolling spots before him and keeping him engaged with a toy or some tricks, but if it happens anyway another foamy bath is your only solution. Ok, it might not be the only solution. Bathing your dog too often can be bad for your Jack’s skin and fur, so you can take vinegar solution (1 to 5 parts) and dip a clean cloth in it and rub your dog with it, especially places with stink. It will remove the odor and stains and will leave your dog coat shiny. At least, now you have an idea why your Jack Russell appears so enthusiastic when it comes to rolling in despicable things.