Why Do Golden Retrievers Roll in Mud? 7 Causes and Solutions


There really is no word that can describe that feeling you have after you spent an hour giving your golden retrievers a nice bath, seeing them get out of the bath so clean and shiny, only to find them not even an hour later coming back inside covered in mud because they went outside to roll in it.

You can’t get mad at them, you can’t get mad at the mud, you can only get mad at yourself for allowing them to go outside and you now need to give them another bath.

But why do they even do it? What’s so incredible about rolling in mud that they just can’t resist it? So, I did some research, and here is the short of it;

Why do golden retrievers roll in mud? Your golden retriever could be rolling in the mud because they’re trying to cool down, they are using the mud as a moisturizer, or they have some kind of odor and they are trying to get rid of it or mask it, which is what they did when they used to retrieve the preys

That was part of the answer but there is a lot more to learn about why do golden retrievers roll in the mud? So keep reading to find out.

7 Reasons for Why do Golden Retrievers Roll in Mud 

golden retriever covered in mud to explain the answers to why do golden retrievers like to roll in mud

Here are 7 reasons why golden retrievers like to roll in the mud:

  1. Trying to cool down 
  2. They are covering up their scent 
  3. They enjoy rolling around 
  4. Smothering their insects 
  5. Trying to hide from predators 
  6. They hate their shampoo 
  7. They are happy

Let’s go over each of these really quickly;

Trying to cool down 

If they are doing it on the hot summer days then they are probably trying to cool down because the mud can provide them with some relief from the heat which does bother golden retrievers who like the cold weather much more.

They can also roll in the mud because they consider the mud as a moisturizer for their coat if they’re feeling especially dry. If you do live in a place where it’s usually hot, I really think you should check out my guide on how can golden retrievers live in hot weather here as it has all the tips you need to know to keep them cool during the hot days.

They are covering up their scent 

It could be one of the things rooted in their DNA so technically they are just following their instinct, let me explain.

When the ancestors of the golden retrievers (and dogs in general) lived in the wild and used to hunt or retrieve their prey, they had one big issue that the prey escaped because they could smell their canine scent.

So they found a solution that actually worked. They rolled around in mud or anything else that had another odor to get rid of or cover their scent up so they could sneak up on their prey and have an easier time hunting.

They enjoy rolling around 

golden retrievers are known for their cute and goofy moves and rolling around is one of them, they just love rolling on the ground, on a bunch of leaves, on snow, or on the mud,

It’s the ultimate dog move, cats do it too when they want to play or are high on catnip.

Smothering their insects

One of the things that their ancestors used to do as well was rolling in the mud to smother the insects and anything else small enough that were living on their coats.

Even though golden retrievers enjoy the fancy life they are living now and they have their own shampoos and conditioners to kill the insects for them, they still do it.

It’s just an instinct that still exists in their brains, and it may take a couple of thousand years more to develop new instincts.

Trying to hide from predators 

Just like their scent could give their position away to prey, it could also give their position away to predators that are a threat to dogs.

So just like they used to roll in the mud to sneak up on their prey, they rolled in the mud to hide from any predators close by.

They hate their shampoo

If your golden retriever tends to roll in the mud when you just gave them a bath then they probably hate the smell of their shampoo or conditioner because they have a keen sense of smell so jumping in the mud is their way to dull the smell of the conditioner or the shampoo.

However, the solution to this problem is pretty simple, you can just change the shampoo or the conditioner you are using,

You can try the oatmeal shampoos, it’s a great unscented shampoo so there is not any scent to like or dislike about it. You can also check my recommended shampoos here.

They are happy

You know how your pup rolls on the ground when they are happy to see you or they want to play with you and you just know that they are happy today, well, it’s the same thing.

Rolling on anything means that they are happy and that’s how they are celebrating.

You can limit that by limiting your golden retriever’s exposure to the mud.

However, if they are rolling in the mud as signs of excitement, you can make sure by checking some other signs so here are some to help you out.

  • They will lean into you 
  • A high waggy tail 
  • Soft eyes
  • They are playful
  • Looking for your attention 
  • Their ears will be relaxed
  • Loose shoulders 
  • Wiggliness 
  • They look super chill

How to stop your golden retriever from rolling in the mud? 

Whenever your golden retriever starts to drop a shoulder to start rolling, convince them to come to you and give them their favorite treat. When they obey you, take them away from the mud before they even notice.

If the mud is in your backyard, reel them in and give them a command to come to you and when they do give them a treat or their favorite toy and have someone else clean the mud right away so when they come back they have nothing to roll in or just distract them as long as possible until they forget about it.

Another solution to stop them from rolling in the mud if it’s in your backyard is to section that area off to keep them away from it or you can just limit their exposure to mud to help lessen the risk of your golden retriever rolling in the mud again.

However, if the issue becomes out of control you can try to consult a professional dog trainer.

If you know someone that has the same problem with their pooch, you can share this article with them, it might be useful to them and I will appreciate it as well.

Related Questions 

Why do golden retrievers roll in poop? 

Your golden retriever could roll in poop as a way for them to get your attention to show you that they found something interesting or they could be masking their own odor or their natural scent to sneak up on a prey because it was in their instinct when they were bred.

How to stop my golden retriever from rolling in poop? 

If they do it at home you need to clean up after them immediately before they have the chance to do it till they get used to not doing it and if they do it when you are out for a walk then keep them on a short leash to stop them from rolling in another dog’s poop.

Helpful Resources 

Why Do Dogs Roll In Smelly Things?

Why is my clean dog rolling in dirt?

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