How To Stop Labrador Rolling In Fox Poo? (12 Step-By-Step Tips)

By Benjamin Tash

Is your Labrador drawn to rolling in fox feces despite your best efforts? Seeking effective ways to curb this smelly habit and keep your Lab clean?

Fear not, we’re here to guide you through it.

Here’s a Brief Overview of How To Stop Your Lab From Rolling In Fox Poo:

Stopping a Labrador from rolling in fox poo is a multifaceted approach. First, leash training is key for gaining control when your Lab is tempted to roll in fox poo during walks. Start indoors with the “Leave It” command, then practice outside around real-life distractions.

Make it fun by having your Lab look at you for a tasty treat when you say “Watch Me.” Also, create safe practice sessions in your yard or home involving fox poo and add distractions as needed. High-value rewards are invaluable for praising quick obedience. As your bond of trust builds, slowly lengthen the leash on your walks.

Staying calm and assertive during training will ensure the best results and with daily practice, you’ll ingrain new habits in your Lab to curb those stinky instincts. This consistent yet caring approach will redirect their tendencies and make avoiding poo the norm.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide an in-depth 12-step training action plan tailored to curbing this stinky behavior in Labs.

But training alone often isn’t enough for long-term success – that’s why we’ll also equip you with 8 additional tried-and-tested tips to ensure the training sticks and the behavior change lasts.

Plus, you’ll get 10 preventive strategies you can start using right away to keep your Labrador away from fox feces in the first place. With this three-pronged approach, you’ll be armed to beat this smelly problem for good.

How to stop Labrador rolling in fox poo
CC0 Gopal Aggarwal

12 Step-By-Step Training Action Plan On How to Train Labradors From Rolling In Poo

1) Leash Training

One of the foundational aspects of ensuring your Labrador doesn’t indulge in the undesired act of rolling in fox poo is mastering leash training.

By maintaining a short leash during walks, especially in areas known for fox activity, you have direct control over their movement. When they come across fox poo, the short leash prevents them from reaching the spot quickly.

An example of this in action is when you’re strolling in a park and you spot the shiny, dark remnants of fox poo ahead.

Before your Labrador can dart towards it, the short leash allows you to steer them away and gives you the upper hand. As time progresses and they show restraint, you can allow more freedom.

However, during the training phase, this leash control acts as your primary barrier between the dog and the unwanted scent.

Speaking of leash control, you might also be interested in How To Stop Labradors Chasing Hares  (12-Step Training Guide + Tips)

2) Immediate Interruption

As soon as you notice the signature signs – the intense sniffing, circling or even the initial dip of the shoulder – you need to act instantly.

This is where the tactic of immediate interruption comes into play. By asserting a firm yet non-aggressive vocal cue like “No” or “Ah-ah”, you can break their focus from the poo.

Imagine you’re walking in the woods, a favorite haunt for foxes and your Labrador suddenly veers off, nose to the ground, honing in on a spot. Before they even have a chance to roll, your prompt intervention with a stern “Ah-ah” can redirect their attention.

It’s essential that this interruption is timely to ensure that the dog understands the specific behavior you’re discouraging.

Over time, the consistent application of this technique can make the Labrador more alert to your commands — reducing the likelihood of them engaging in the act.

3) Introduce “Leave It” Command

Training your Labrador to understand and obey the “Leave It” command is pivotal. This command is not just for curbing their desire to roll in fox poo, but it serves a broader purpose in many other potential hazards.

Begin in a controlled environment like your living room. Place a treat in your closed hand and present it to your Labrador. When they try to get it, firmly say “Leave it.”

Only when they pull away or show disinterest, reward them with a treat from your other hand. This process helps them understand that obeying the “Leave It” command leads to rewards. Imagine a scenario where you’re on a walk and your Labrador zeroes in on a potential fox poo spot.

Using this command will now serve as an immediate deterrent, as they associate “Leave It” with a reward for obedience.

Check also: How To Stop Labradors From Chasing Sheep (12-Step Training Guide + Tips)

4) Practice “Leave It” Outdoors

After mastering the “Leave It” command indoors, it’s imperative to transfer this learning to the outdoors, where fox poo temptations are real.

Start in your backyard or any controlled outdoor environment. Lay down a less appealing treat or even a toy, and use the “Leave It” command as your Labrador approaches.

Once they obey, reward them. Gradually, you can practice this in areas with fox poo. For instance, during a regular walk in a park where you have previously encountered fox poo, approach the spot and command “Leave It” as soon as they show interest.

Over time, this outdoor practice reinforces their indoor training and ensures that they abstain from rolling in fox poo regardless of the environment, as they equate the command with positive rewards and praise.

Shifting gears, explore more on How To Stop Labrador From Eating Stones? (12 Steps)

5) Use a Distraction

Distractions work wonders in redirecting a Labrador’s focus. Let’s delve into the underlying reasons. Fox poo with its strong scent acts as a sensory stimulus for dogs.

By introducing a stronger, safer and more appealing stimulus, you can effectively divert their attention. For example, if you’re walking your Labrador and spot fox poo ahead, you might immediately engage them with a favorite squeaky toy or perhaps toss a ball in the opposite direction.

While this strategy is straightforward, the key lies in its timing. It’s essential to distract them before they start rolling, not during.

By consistently applying this approach, your Labrador will gradually associate walks with play and rewards — making the fox poo less tempting over time.

For more how-to guides on Labrador behavioral issues, explore more on How To Stop Labrador From Licking? (A Complete Guide)

6) Simulated Poo Rolling Sessions

This tactic might seem unconventional, but bear with me. Simulating the act in a controlled environment gives you a clear advantage.

How so? By mimicking the rolling situation with a harmless substitute (like a wet cloth with a mild scent), you can practice commands like “Leave It” in a realistic setting but without the mess or health risks.

For instance, lay down the cloth in your yard. As your Labrador approaches to roll, use your commands. When they obey, give a treat. The purpose? It prepares them for real-life encounters.

By frequently conducting these sessions, you’re not only reinforcing the command but also ensuring that they become less inclined to roll in actual fox poo, having been “tricked” multiple times in training.

7) Introduce a “Watch Me” Command

Training your Labrador to maintain eye contact can be a transformative tool. The logic behind the “Watch Me” command is to divert your dog’s attention away from distractions and back onto you.

Imagine walking and spotting fox poo in the distance. Instead of waiting for your Labrador to notice it, you immediately use the “Watch Me” command.

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The dog’s gaze shifts from the ground to you, effectively breaking the allure of the fox poo. It’s crucial to reward this behavior promptly with treats or praise.

This kind of redirection not only strengthens your bond with your dog but also teaches them to look to you for guidance in uncertain situations.

Over time, consistent use of this command can make passing fox poo uneventful, as their first instinct becomes to look at you instead of the ground.

Such training commands are also useful in other trainings such as this: How To Stop Lab From Counter Surfing? (13 Action Plan Guide + Tips)

8) Gradual Freedom

One might think that keeping a Labrador on a short leash forever is the solution. But true training success lies in granting gradual freedom.

Here’s the nuanced approach: start with short, controlled walks ensuring that the dog is always close to you. As they consistently demonstrate good behavior, progressively increase the leash’s length during walks.

For instance, after a week of no rolling incidents, you might allow an extra foot of leash. This method not only rewards the dog but also instills a sense of trust.

Remember, the goal isn’t to restrict but to ensure that when they do have freedom, they make the right choices.

This incremental approach to freedom ensures that when they’re finally off-leash, the chances of them rolling in fox poo are significantly diminished, thanks to the training foundation you’ve built.

9) Immediate Reward System

Reinforcement is the cornerstone of effective dog training, especially when it comes to curbing unwanted behavior like rolling in fox poo.

The idea is simple but potent: reward the desired behavior the moment it happens. For example, if your Labrador approaches fox poo but then chooses to walk past it, that’s your cue to immediately reward them with a treat or a verbal commendation.

The immediate response links their decision to bypass the fox poo with a positive outcome. Over time, this teaches them that resisting the urge to roll in it is more beneficial than giving in. Consistency is key.

Every time your Labrador makes the right choice, ensure they receive that immediate positive reinforcement — creating a robust behavioral association.

These techniques also works well in this training guide: How To Stop My Lab From Running Off? (9-Step Guide + Tips)

10) Stay Calm and Assertive

Your demeanor has a profound effect on your dog’s behavior. Labs are adept at picking up on human emotions which means if you’re anxious about them potentially rolling in fox poo, they can sense it.

This anxiety can inadvertently encourage the very behavior you’re trying to avoid. Instead, adopt a calm and assertive stance during walks.

When you spot fox poo and notice your Labrador’s interest piqued, take a deep breath and guide them past it with conviction. Your confidence reassures your dog which can make them less likely to act impulsively.

Moreover, an assertive approach that is void of anger or frustration communicates to the dog that you are in control of the situation and there’s no need for them to engage in unwanted behavior.

Remember, consistency in your emotions and reactions can be just as impactful as consistency in training techniques.

11) Daily Training Sessions

The art of training a dog is rooted in repetition and consistency. Just as humans benefit from daily practice when acquiring a new skill, Labradors, too, need consistent training to refine their behavior.

Dedicate a specific time each day for focused training sessions. This doesn’t mean you only work on the fox poo issue; integrate it into broader obedience training.

For instance, during a routine sit or stay command exercise, introduce the scent of fox poo. When your Labrador shows restraint and obeys the command despite the distraction, reward them.

Over time, this daily exposure, combined with positive reinforcement fortifies the desired behavior and makes it an ingrained habit rather than a momentarily learned trick.

12) Continuous Supervision

While it might sound demanding, constant supervision, especially in environments where fox poo is prevalent, is crucial.

When you’re in areas where the temptation is present, keep a watchful eye on your Labrador. By doing so, you can intervene the moment you notice them inching towards the undesired act.

Think of it like monitoring a toddler; by being vigilant, you prevent them from grabbing something they shouldn’t. For example, during a walk in the woods or an open field, if you see your Labrador suddenly divert from their path with a curious sniffing posture, be ready to redirect their attention.

This consistent supervision not only helps in averting the act but also provides numerous real-time training opportunities which cements the lessons of restraint and obedience.

8 Additional Tips For a Long Lasting Training Success

1) Incremental Challenges

Incorporating incremental challenges into a Labrador’s training regime plays a pivotal role in ensuring continued interest and cognitive stimulation.

Just like humans, dogs can plateau in their learning if not presented with new challenges. Starting with basic commands or behaviors and then gradually increasing the complexity keeps them engaged and helps consolidate their learning.

For instance, if you’ve successfully trained your Labrador to resist rolling in the scent in your backyard, extend this challenge to a park where unfamiliar scents are more tempting.

By consistently raising the bar, you’re not just teaching them a single behavior but training them to adapt to different scenarios and environments.

2) Use High-Value Rewards

Offering high-value rewards can significantly boost a Labrador’s motivation to learn and obey commands.

These rewards, unlike regular treats, are something they don’t get every day and are considered a luxury in their eyes. Examples include a piece of cooked chicken, a small chunk of cheese or a special store-bought treat that they particularly love.

Another form of high-value reward could be a favorite toy reserved only for training sessions. Some dogs might even find a short game of fetch as the ultimate prize.

Remember, it’s essential to identify what your Labrador considers “high-value”. Occasionally switch these rewards to keep their interest alive to ensure that every training session is a new adventure they look forward to.

This tactic of reserving something special just for training can lead to faster command internalization as your dog associates obeying commands with receiving these coveted rewards.

3) Vary Rewards

Constantly rotating and diversifying the rewards you offer your Labrador during training can be instrumental in maintaining their interest and enthusiasm.

A monotonous reward system might lead to diminished excitement and, in turn, reduced responsiveness over time. Think about it: if every accomplishment in our lives yielded the same reward, wouldn’t our motivation dwindle?

By introducing a variety of treats and rewards, you’re essentially tapping into a Labrador’s innate curiosity and love for new experiences.

For instance, one day you could reward your Labrador with a piece of salmon, the next with a different flavored treat, followed by an interactive play session with a tug toy, and then perhaps some belly rubs or praise.

Another day, maybe a longer playtime could be the reward. This way, your dog remains keenly attentive during training, always anticipating what delightful reward awaits them next.

4) Introduce Distractions Gradually

While the end goal is to have a Labrador that remains obedient even in distraction-rich environments, it’s essential to introduce these distractions in a controlled and gradual manner.

Suddenly exposing a dog to a myriad of distractions can be overwhelming and counterproductive that can lead to regression in their training. Instead, once they have mastered a command in a quiet setting, you can introduce one distraction at a time.

Start with something mild, like the sound of a TV in the background. Once they’re adept at that, you might train near a window where they can see birds or people passing by.

Then, advance to environments like a quiet park, gradually working your way up to bustling areas.

This systematic introduction of distractions ensures that the dog’s confidence isn’t shattered and they learn to focus on commands amidst various external stimuli.

5) Involve Different Family Members

A dog’s environment is not limited to interactions with a single individual. It includes the various people who make up its immediate circle.

Ensuring that multiple family members are involved in the training process is vital for consistency and comprehensive behavior modification.

If only one family member takes on the training role, the Labrador might obey commands only when issued by that specific person. By involving different members, the dog learns that the rules and commands apply universally, regardless of who’s in charge.

Consider a scenario where a father always trains the dog to stay away from fox poo, but the mother or the children don’t enforce this behavior. The inconsistency can be confusing for the Labrador which can potentially undermine all training efforts.

Therefore, for the sake of uniformity and to reinforce obedience across the board, rotate the role of the trainer among all household members.

6) Maintain Short Sessions

While Labradors are known for their intelligence and eagerness to please, like any creature, they have limits to their concentration span.

Long, drawn-out training sessions can lead to fatigue, boredom and reduced attention which can diminish the effectiveness of the training.

Imagine sitting in a four-hour lecture on a complex topic without breaks; your absorption of the information would undoubtedly decrease over time.

Similarly, for optimal results, it’s advisable to conduct shorter, more intense training sessions, perhaps ranging between 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the individual dog’s attention span.

This ensures that the Labrador remains focused and engaged throughout while absorbing and internalizing the commands more effectively.

Over time, these short but consistent sessions compound — leading to lasting behavioral change without overwhelming your pet.

7) End on a Positive Note

One of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects of effective training is ensuring that every session concludes positively. Think of training sessions like chapters in a book.

If each chapter ends on a cliffhanger or a negative note, the reader, or in this case, the Labrador, might become anxious or apprehensive about the next session.

By ending training sessions with success, whether it’s obeying a simple command or resisting the allure of fox poo, the dog associates training with positive feelings and outcomes. This upbeat ending can also bolster the Labrador’s confidence and encourage eagerness for the next training session.

For instance, if during a training exercise, the dog successfully refrains from rolling in an enticing scent, immediately reward and end the session, leaving the memory of success fresh in their mind.

8) Stay Updated with Training Methods

The world of dog training, like any other field, continually evolves with new research, methodologies and techniques.

Sticking solely to older methods might result in missing out on more efficient, humane or innovative techniques that could expedite the training process.

Imagine using a decade-old manual to operate a new piece of technology; it’s bound to be less effective. Similarly, regularly consulting recent dog training literature, attending workshops or even participating in online forums can provide valuable insights into modern training approaches.

For example, while older training might have heavily relied on dominance techniques, modern methods might emphasize positive reinforcement or understanding dog psychology.

Staying updated ensures you’re using the best strategies available which makes the training process smoother and more beneficial for both you and your Labrador.

10 Preventive Tips To Avoid Labradors From Rolling In Poo In The First Place

1) Frequent Clean-Up

One of the simplest yet most effective strategies to prevent Labradors from rolling in poo is to maintain a pristine environment.

When the yard or garden is free from fecal matter, the chances of your Labrador getting attracted to such unwanted scents diminish significantly.

For example, consider someone who maintains a daily cleaning schedule for their outdoor space; their Labrador is far less likely to stumble upon any waste than someone who cleans sporadically.

Similarly, public spaces can also be a concern. If taking your Labrador to a local park, perhaps opt for those known for their cleanliness or where maintenance crews ensure sanitary conditions.

Another good practice is to encourage neighbors or local communities to adopt waste-cleanup days, promoting not just a poo-free area for dogs but a healthier environment for everyone.

Lastly, investing in biodegradable poop bags for walks ensures that if your Labrador or any other dog defecates, immediate cleanup is possible which reduces the chances of any rolling mishap.

2) Engage Their Senses

Labradors are sensory-driven animals. Their instinct to roll in strong odors, like fox poo, can be linked to their ancestral behavior of masking their scent from predators or while hunting.

Hence, offering them alternative sensory experiences can divert this urge. For instance, introducing them to toys with varying textures can provide tactile stimulation.

Toys infused with dog-friendly scents offer a safer olfactory engagement. If you’ve ever observed a Labrador getting engrossed sniffing a newly introduced aroma or showing curiosity towards new toys, that’s their senses at work.

Additionally, sensory-engaging activities like scent-tracking games can be an excellent way to harness this natural behavior beneficially. Picture a Labrador enthusiastically following a trail you’ve created with a treat, nose to the ground and tail wagging.

Not only does it mentally stimulate them, but it also gives them an outlet for their sensory-driven instincts without resorting to rolling in undesirable substances.

3) Regular Exercise

Ensuring that Labradors get ample physical activity is paramount in curbing undesired behaviors, including rolling in poo.

The more physically tired a dog is, the less likely they are to indulge in mischievous acts.

Consider, for example, a Labrador that’s taken on a long hike or engaged in an intense fetch game; their inclination to explore and roll in unwanted substances diminishes simply because they’re too tired.

Another illustration is swim sessions; Labradors typically love water and swimming is an excellent way to tire them out. Those who organize playdates with other dogs also often notice a significant drop in unwanted behaviors.

When dogs play together, they burn energy and a well-exercised dog is less likely to engage in mischief. In essence, the adage, “A tired dog is a good dog,” holds particularly true for energetic breeds like Labradors.

4) Mental Stimulation

Beyond physical activity, Labradors, given their intelligent nature, require cognitive challenges.

Without it, they may seek out activities, such as rolling in strong-smelling substances to alleviate their boredom.

Interactive toys, for instance, that release treats when manipulated correctly can keep a Labrador engaged for extended periods. Think of a dog puzzle toy that challenges them to think and rewards them upon success.

Similarly, training sessions where they learn new commands or tricks not only provide mental stimulation but also strengthen the bond between the owner and the dog.

Enrolling them in obedience or agility classes is another beneficial avenue. Here, they encounter diverse challenges that require both mental and physical prowess.

Also, simple games like ‘hide and seek’ with treats around the house can be mentally engaging. Such activities ensure that a Labrador’s cognitive needs are met — making them less inclined to indulge in unwanted behaviors.

5) Avoid Areas with Known Poo Issues

A straightforward way to sidestep the poo problem is to be discerning about where you take your Labrador.

If you’re aware of specific parks, trails or neighborhoods that consistently have poo issues, it might be wise to reconsider your route.

For example, some dog parks might not be maintained as well as others that can lead to an accumulation of waste. Another locale could be a field where wild animals frequently pass through and leave behind tempting scents for your Labrador.

Likewise, certain hiking trails might be notorious for the presence of fox poo or other animal waste.

By choosing to walk in cleaner, well-maintained areas or places less frequented by wildlife, you inherently reduce the chance of your dog coming into contact with tempting, roll-worthy scents.

6) Leash Training

Mastery over leash training provides control to ensure your Labrador doesn’t veer off and roll in undesired substances.

When you notice your dog showing interest in a suspicious spot, a well-trained pull on the leash can redirect their attention. Take, for instance, the situation where you’re walking in a park and you spot a suspicious patch ahead.

With effective leash training, a slight tug or command can guide your Labrador away from the spot.

Similarly, during hikes, where the terrain is unpredictable, leash training ensures your dog doesn’t stray into areas with potential fox poo or other temptations.

Adopting a harness can also provide better control during walks makes it easier to steer them clear.

In essence, the foundation of good leash manners not only ensures safety but can also be your frontline defense against unwanted rolling incidents.

7) Provide Alternatives

One of the core reasons Labradors indulge in rolling in fox poo or any other scented material for that matter, is their inherent desire to mask their scent, an instinct from their wild ancestors.

By providing alternatives that cater to this instinctual behavior, you can redirect their urge. For instance, consider investing in scented toys or dog-safe sprays that replicate wild smells.

Many brands offer toys imbued with natural scents which could distract them from the allure of fox poo. Another alternative is to provide them with enrichment activities that involve scent-tracking or nose work.

Setting up a scent trail in your backyard using treats or specific dog-safe scents can be an excellent diversion.

Additionally, engaging them in activities like the “find it” game along with other dogs where they have to track a treat by its scent can satisfy their sniffing and tracking instincts.

8) Consistent Boundaries

Just like children, dogs thrive on structure and consistency. Ensuring you’ve set unwavering boundaries for your Labrador is pivotal.

If they’re aware that certain areas are off-limits or specific behaviors aren’t tolerated, they’re less likely to engage in them.

For example, if you’ve designated your garden as a no-dig zone and maintain that rule consistently, the chances of them digging up and rolling in anything unpleasant diminish. The same goes for certain areas in parks or on trails.

If you consistently steer them away from dense underbrush or muddy spots, they’ll soon understand these are areas they shouldn’t venture into. Reinforcing these boundaries with voice commands can be incredibly effective.

Imagine walking near a woodland, and you spot a suspicious patch; a firm “leave it” command that your Labrador has been trained to obey can be a game-changer.

Over time, with patience and consistency, they will internalize these boundaries and make walks and outdoor excursions far more pleasant for both of you.

Read more: Why Are Labradors So Annoying? (21 Reasons Explained)

9) Stay Alert on Walks

Labradors with their high sensory receptors often catch onto intriguing scents much before we can see the source. When out walking, it’s pivotal for owners to be observant of their Labrador’s body language.

A sudden pause, perked ears or an intense focus on a particular spot can be early indicators of an interesting scent. By preemptively redirecting or controlling the situation, you prevent unwanted rolling incidents.

Imagine you’re walking through a park and your Labrador suddenly becomes interested in a patch of grass. Instead of allowing them to investigate, a gentle tug on the leash combined with a “this way” command can be effective.

Similarly, if you’re near wooded areas or places where wildlife frequent, it’s essential to be doubly attentive as these areas are more likely to contain intriguing scents, including fox poo.

10) Positive Reinforcement for Avoidance

Encouraging good behavior is often more effective than punishing the bad. When your Labrador avoids or shows disinterest in rolling in undesirable spots, reward that choice.

Let’s say you’re on a trail, and upon spotting a questionable spot, your Labrador chooses to move away or responds promptly to your command to do so; rewarding this choice with a treat or verbal praise reinforces the desired behavior.

Over repeated instances, this positive reinforcement trains the dog’s mind to associate avoidance with rewards. Another scenario: you’re in an area previously known to have fox poo and your Labrador doesn’t show interest this time.

Celebrate that with a favorite game or an extra play session. The goal is to make the act of avoiding much more appealing than the act of rolling.

References — Dog keeps rolling in fox poo — does anyone else’s puppy feel the need to roll in fox poo?