dirt [durt] - a) any foul or filthy substance, as mud, grime, dust, or excrement b) earth or soil, especially when looseAs many things as we share with our dogs, the definition of what is and isn't dirty is not one of them.
It's not because dogs are filthy animals. They like to keep themselves and their den clean. When Cookie leaks, she's not happy about it and she will do her best to clean it up. She'll try to lick it off or, when that's not possible, bury it by pushing her sheet around.
Yuck, you might think, licking it up.
How else is she supposed to clean it up? She doesn't have thumbs and she's quite limited in available tools. I always hurry up and take care of it for her. That makes her happy.
Dogs don't like to have their dwelling soiled. Cookie, even though she grew up tied outside, never soiled the house. She just needed to be shown where to potty and how to get there.
While dogs don't like having their den soiled, they are pretty happy to eat poop for reasons other than cleaning it up.
A mother with pups will eat their poop. This is to keep the den clean and to keep away predators.
Some dogs will eat any poop they can find, including their own, some can be rather selective about it.
They might eat poop because of its nutritional value. Being originally scavengers, they'd eat anything that might have had any nutrition left in it. There are also theories that they might do it because something is missing in their diet or their digestion isn't working properly. They might do it out of boredom, stress, hunger, to get attention or just because it's there. Puppies are particularly prone to doing this.
If they consider poop yummy, why do they mind it in their den?
Well, I don't know about you but I wouldn't want my food spilled all over my bed either. So perhaps that explains it.
Dogs are also perfectly willing to eat anything else disgusting they can get their mouths on.
Things we find foul-smelling obviously smell awesome to dogs. Beside poop, any ol' rotten thing will do, including stinky shoes or socks, stinky carcass ...
All our guys love munching on horse poop, deer poop, rabbit poop ... those things are probably salad to them.
And what is not good enough to eat, is definitely good enough to roll in.
There are a number of theories why dogs do that but I think we really just don't have a clue. Maybe one day we'll understand. Will that make us feel better about it? Probably not.
One time Cookie found a dead mouse and was seriously considering eating it.
I'm fine with her catching and eating freshly killed mice but there was no telling how long this one was dead. So I asked Cookie nicely not to eat it. She took it in her mouth again, as if negotiating. I asked her nicely again. She put it down and rolled on top of it.
From my perspective, she obliged my request not to eat it.
As much as I didn't like that either, I praised her for altering her choice to respect my wishes. I figured it was only fair.
Living with dogs for 20 years, I gradually revised my definition of dirty to accommodate their nature.
First I decided to divide dirt into two categories: clean dirt and dirty dirt. Not surprisingly, the clean dirt category has grown over time while the dirty dirt category shrunk.
First items included in the clean dirt category were sand and mud.
Dogs like to play and they get dirty. And then they get tired. No point troubling them with a bath every time they get some mud on them. Our guys are self-cleaning and once the mud dries it just comes off by itself. All one needs to do is to clean the floor or the bed.
I still remember the day when horse poop made it on the clean dirt list.
Jasmine was quite young and spent the day at the horse farm. She came home exhausted and covered in horse poop. Who would have the heart to make her have a bath as tired as she was? All she wanted to do was curl up and rest. So I let it go.
I decided horse poop was OK but I drew the line at deer poop. It is so much more foul and stinky. Whichever dog decided to roll in it payed the price by getting a bath right after.
Until the day Cookie came home, just like Jasmine, defiled by deer poop but dead tired.
So I let that go too.
These days, the only things remaining on the dirty dirt list are those that are a potential health threat. Though when Cookie decided to roll in fresh bear pile she did have to get cleaned up. Somehow I draw the line at omnivores ... for now.
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat
Observation Skills Of Dogs
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone?
Dog Training And Emotions
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear
About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy?
Our Example Of The Use Of "Look At That" (LAT)
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Who Is In The Wrong?
Your Dog Wants To Follow You. You Just Gotta Be Going Some Place
We Still Have Two Dogs: A "Pilot Study" Part Two
Early Winter Safety: Exploring New Territories
Cookie Is Okay. We ... Might Be, Eventually. (Don't Try This At Home)
One Thing I Love About Winter: I See What They "See"
Give Your Dog What They Need, Get What You Want
Cookie, The First Of The Great Hunting Rottweilers
Distance Is a Relative Concept
Dog Communication: Be Good to Cookie or She'll Tell on You
The Benefit of the Doubt
Putting The Guilty Dog Look To Rest?
The Stench of Fear: Is There Good and Bad Timing for Vet Visits?
I am a Helicopter Dog Mom
Routines: Easy Come, Hard to Go
Things Always Change: Cookie's Hunting Adventures
The Advantage of Your Dog Not Barking All the Time: Cookie Saves Horses' Asses
"Look at That" (LAT) Game and Barking at Traffic
The Role of Thresholds in Dog Training and Behavior
Dog Days of Summer: Keeping an Eye on Cookie
Dog Days of Summer: Cookie Gets Her Sprinkler