Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by ellen
So, why do dogs roll in the grass? There are several reasons dogs roll in the grass. Here are a few and what they mean.
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Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass?
If you’ve ever seen your dog rolling in the grass, you might be wondering why they’re doing that. There are several reasons why dogs roll in grass so keep reading to find out what I’ve learned over the years as a pet sitter.
One of the simplest explanations for this behavior is that dogs just enjoy rolling in the grass. It’s a form of play, much like when they run around with a favorite toy. They may also love the feeling of the grass against their skin, which can be a source of pleasure and stimulation.
Another reason is that dogs may roll around in the grass to mask their scent. In the wild, this is a common practice among predators to help them sneak up on their prey. Your domestic dog might not need to hunt for survival, but that doesn’t mean they’ve lost this instinct completely. So, your dog might be trying to smell more like the outdoors and less like that bath you gave them last week!
So, why do dogs like to roll around in the grass?
Is it normal for dogs to roll in the grass?
Yes, it’s normal for dogs to roll in grass. It’s a behavior ingrained in their DNA from their wild ancestors. Whether they’re doing it for pleasure, to scratch an itch, or to disguise their scent, it’s a completely natural and common behavior. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about unless you notice your dog doing it excessively or if it’s causing skin irritation.
Masking their scent
Masking their scent is a strategy dogs inherited from their wild ancestors. They roll in the grass, pick up new smells, and blend into their environment. This behavior, while interesting to observe, is simply a part of their instincts. It’s like their own unique way of wearing ‘perfume’. So, the next time your dog takes a roll in the grass, remember they’re just being a dog and doing what comes naturally to them.
Attraction to smell
Some dogs are drawn to specific odors. Grass, particularly if it’s fresh, can have an invigorating smell that dogs find appealing. They roll in it to interact with these new and interesting scents.
Additionally, if there’s a particular critter that’s been in the yard, your dog may roll in the grass to pick up its scent, out of pure curiosity or an instinctual desire to understand their environment.
It’s important to remember that their sense of smell is so much better than ours.
Feels so good
Grass is like a natural massage for dogs. The blades of grass can stimulate their skin and fur, offering a pleasant sensation that prompts them to roll around. So, rolling in the grass just feels good to them. It’s a simple pleasure, but one that your dog likely enjoys very much.
Scratch an itch
Dogs may roll in the grass to relieve an itch that they can’t scratch. Just like we might rub an itchy spot against a rough surface, dogs can use the grass to help relieve any itches. This could be due to a minor skin irritation, or even due to fleas or ticks. If you notice your dog excessively rolling in the grass, it might be worth checking them for any skin irritations or pests.
To add their own scent
Dogs love to mark their territories. This behavior is typical not only for dogs but for many animals. When dogs roll in grass, they may be trying to leave their scent behind. They’re saying, “I was here!” to any other animals that might pass by. It’s another instinctual behavior that canines have inherited from their wild ancestors and a way they communicate with other dogs and animals. So, don’t worry if your dog loves to roll in the grass – they’re just doing what comes naturally!
Helps remove loose fur
Rolling around in grass can also help dogs shed their loose fur. If you’ve ever noticed clumps of fur left behind after your dog’s roll, that’s why. It’s a natural grooming process that helps them get rid of any excess fur, particularly during shedding seasons. So when you see your dog rolling in the grass, they might just be trying to give themselves a little cleanup!
Cooling on a hot day
When it’s hot outside, dogs might roll in the grass to cool down. Just like we enjoy the feel of cool grass under our feet on a warm day, dogs might enjoy the sensation of cool grass against their fur.
It’s an effective, natural way for them to lower their body temperature and beat the heat, particularly if the grass is in the shade or damp from recent watering or rain.
Why do dogs roll in gross things?
Dogs often roll in unpleasant things due to their strong sense of smell. To a dog, a strong smell isn’t necessarily a bad one. Smelly substances such as mud, garbage, or even feces can be intriguing to a dog and rolling in them can allow a dog to further investigate these smells. This behavior could be an expression of their instinctual desire to mask their scent, much like their wild ancestors would have done. It’s not exactly a delightful habit for pet owners, but it’s fairly common among dogs.
If you notice your dog frequently rolling in gross things, it might be a good idea to keep them on a leash during walks or thoroughly clean your yard of anything that might attract them. You certainly don’t want them to roll in dead animals or bring stinky odors into the home.
Why do dogs roll on their back and wiggle?
Dogs rolling on their back and wiggling is another common behavior that might seem odd to us but is perfectly normal for them. It’s often a sign of contentment and happiness. They might also do it when they’re feeling playful or want to engage you or other dogs in a game.
Additionally, this could be a way for them to scratch their back or shake off excess energy. It’s simply another way our canine friends express themselves.
How to discourage your dog from rolling in grass
Just as it’s often important to discourage undesirable behaviors in dogs, it’s equally crucial to provide positive reinforcement for good behaviors. If you want to dissuade your dog from rolling in the grass, you can use simple words of encouragement when they choose not to indulge in this behavior.
When you’re out on a walk and you notice them about to roll, a firm “No” or “Stop” can be effective. If they heed your command, praise them enthusiastically and reward them with a treat or their favorite toy. Repeating this consistently will help them understand that refraining from rolling in the grass equals praise and rewards. Remember, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are the keys to successful training.
If your dogs roll around on the ground after trying behavior modification, you can speak to your veterinarian to make sure it isn’t a problem. It may be something as simple as itchy skin. Or, speak to a certified professional dog trainer for tips to discourage scent rolling.
Dogs roll in grass for a variety of reasons
So, to summarize, dogs roll in grass for a few reasons. Your pup thinks it smells good. Or, they may have an itch. This behavior is completely normal and a natural instinct. Your dog rolls in the grass to add their own scent.
Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.