When walking our dogs, we have all seen some having the time of their lives rolling in the grass. However, there are some concerns that come with this behavior such as your dog getting dirty or even the spread of bacteria and parasites. Therefore, understanding the answers to why do dogs roll in the grass allows us to look at prevention if necessary.
Today we will be looking at the cause behind dogs rolling in the grass and whether that is motivated by something positive, negative, instinctual, or something else entirely. So let’s dive right into the possible motivators.
To Mask or Change Their Scent
Altering their scent can be an instinctual behavior or something more conscious depending on the circumstances. Often when you bathe a dog, they will become hyper and sprint around afterward. Along with this, you may see them rolling about on your carpet and sofa. This is an attempt to replace the soap or clean scent that is covering your dog. Often this can be the case with rolling in the grass too. Your dog is trying to remove their current smell by allowing the scents around them, in this case, the smell of dirt and grass, to replace it. You may also see them doing this if they have lied down on something or interacted with something that they deem has had an unpleasant smell. For example, if they knocked over a perfume onto themselves or got some shampoo on their paw from the bathroom.
Institutionally, some dogs will roll in the grass to try to mask their current scent. This is more common in hunting dogs or those that are used to chase and kill live prey. This is so their prey cannot detect their scent and run from the. So it essentially acts as another form of camouflage.
Marking Their Territory
Instead of a dog trying to replace their scent, some argue that a dog may be rubbing themselves in the grass to leave their own scent. This can be done so as to communicate that this area is their territory, in the same manner, that dogs do when they pee in a certain area. You will often see your dog doing so with many new things they own such as a bed, toy, or even in your bed. By leaving their scent somewhere, another dog can quickly identify that your dog has been here. With the strong olfactory abilities of a dog, they can immediately detect when another has been there. Especially if they have tried to deliberately scent mark.
Although when a dog walks and generally interacts with their environment, they will naturally leave some scent behind. When they roll in the grass they are coating the area completely and deliberately. This is a sign that a dog is letting another know this is their territory.
Take Off Loose Hair or Relieve an Itch
If we have an itch on our backs we can sometimes struggle to reach it, even with our vast mobility. Dogs have much less of an opportunity to get that annoying itch. This is why they may roll around in the grass or generally in an attempt or scratch that itch. The side-to-side motions that a dog will do with their body is an attempt at this as the itching sensation can be quite unpleasant.
Similarly, they may be trying to aid their molting or general shedding through the movement. It can be quite pesky when your dog is losing a lot of fur and even sometimes a little itchy to your dog. Therefore, when they are in the grass they may roll about to try to remove some of that fur coming loose. They are aware that this action helps them to feel better so may do so multiple times in one walk.
Simply For Relaxation or Playing
Sometimes the reason is not so complex. Instead, it can be because of pleasure, relaxation, and play. Firstly, it feels good to do. The grass may be cool in the hot weather or the rubbing sensation or their back may be pleasant. Hence why they do so regularly. It is almost like a doggy massage and hence why they may feel relaxed after doing so.
It can also be that your dog’s excitement and playful nature have taken over. They have all this energy and excitement regarding their walk and have to put it somewhere. So they flop onto the ground, roll about in the grass, then sprint off wagging their tail. It is an outlet for all that energetic build-up and can be a sign they are simply having a good time or want to play. If you see your dog rolling in the grass and then quickly get up into the play position, front body bowed and tail wagging, get ready to play!
Why Do Dogs Roll In The Grass – FAQs
With such an interesting topic on hand, we want to dive deep into the discussion. So here are a few common questions about it answered below.
Most of the time it does show excitement or happiness. Usually the only time it may show something negative is if your dog is doing it to scratch an itch. It could be that they have fleas or skin irritation, so just keep an eye out for that. Often they do so as a sign of play or excitement so it is usually positive.
Feeling hot, trying to remove the bath scent, and removing excess energy are all potential causes. Often it is that the warm water and steam has to lead to your dog feeling hot and lead to some irritation in their ears due to the number of blood vessels there. This irritation is just a little bit of itchiness until they cool off. It cal also be that they may have gotten a little soap or water in their ears and are trying to remove them. Removing the bath scent may also include this behavior, although they would be rolling around and rubbing their whole face as well as their ears usually.
It is most likely that your dog is looking for some attention and belly rubs. However, be sure to note their other behavior in case this is a sign of submission and or anxiety. When a dog rolls over to expose their stomach this can be to show they are not a threat. It can also be an indicator that this is the area they wish you to pet. Look out for other behavior to see if they are feeling stress or anxiety such as whale eyeing or baring of teeth.
If the behavior occurs very frequently and interrupts walks, you may want a vet visit. This is to eliminate any concerns of skin irritation, parasites, or anything that could be causing itching or discomfort leading to the rolling. You can check between the fur for any reddening of the skin, dandruff, or bumps to indicate a health issue.
You can use positive reinforcement to teach your dog to stop on command and come. Furthermore, you can also walk your dog on a leash to keep them on the path and away from the grass. We recommend training because then you can let your dog free to roam for a fulfilling walk. Furthermore, you end up with a dog that has great recall and will stop bad behavior on cue!
Usually, if your dog is rolling in the grass, they are fine and enjoying themselves. However, this can be an indicator of skin issues or itchiness. If you are worried then we advise monitoring the rolling for frequency and duration and calling the vet if it extends a long period of time.Rolling in the grass may also be a behavior you wish to prevent so we always advise positive reinforcement linked to fun training sessions.