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Why Do Dogs Roll in Grass?

Why Do Dogs Roll in Grass?

Author WDF Staff

06.05.2021.


Being a dog owner means dealing with all sorts of canine behavior. Sometimes, our dogs do things that seem very strange to us. Dogs love playing, cuddling, and napping, and all of these interests are pretty straightforward. However, some behaviors, like rolling in the grass or dead animals, can seem very strange. If you want to know why dogs love rolling in the grass, stick with us a bit.

Why do dogs roll in the grass?

There are many theories about canine behavior, and rolling in the grass is just one behavior scientists cannot completely decipher. Dog behaviorists, breeders, and owners presented several theories as to why dogs love rolling in the grass. This behavior often happens when the dog walks outside or plays with other dogs in the park. However, these are the most popular theories about grass rolling;

Scent masking

Dogs in the wild relied on scent for hunting. Wild dogs hunted animals like antelope or gazelle. To hunt successfully, dogs needed to hide their scent, and they did that by rolling into vegetation. If a gazelle smelled a wild dog, it would run away, and dogs could not catch it. That would mean their families didn’t get a meal, and they would become extinct. Dogs rolled in the grass to mask their natural scent so they could come closer to the prey and stay undetected as long as possible. Modern-day dogs are not hunters, but traces of those habits remain with them even today.

Different smell preferences

Dogs and humans have different definitions of what smells good and what smells bad. We love washing our dogs with shampoos that smell like different flowers or fruit, but dogs are not that happy about it. As soon as you give your dog a bath, they seem to want to run outside and find the stinkiest puddle to roll into. The theory says that dogs simply love smelling like the thing they rolled into.

puppy rolling in grass

Scratching

There are more and more cases of dog allergies in the world, and one theory says that dogs are rolling in the grass to scratch an itchy part they cannot reach with their paws. Rolling in the grass is an effective way to scratch things on their back that are otherwise out of your dog’s reach.

If you notice your dog rolling in the grass, you should check for signs of allergies. Your dog might have flea, food, or environmental allergies and might require the vet’s attention. Keep an eye on symptoms of dog allergies, and make sure your dog is not suffering unnecessarily.

Energetic dogs might love rolling in the grass. Check out this article and see which breeds are the most active - What are the most active dog breeds?

Territory marking

Dogs can roll in the grass to leave their scent on a specific area. There is a chance your dog wants to mark a place as “theirs,” and the best way to achieve that is by peeing, pooping, and rolling in that same area. Dogs have a sense of smell that is a lot stronger than ours, and by rolling, they are letting other dogs know that an area is “claimed.” You can notice this type of behavior when a dog gets a new bed or a toy. They will roll in it to leave a scent mark and claim it as theirs. It is not uncommon for dogs to brush against members of their family. It is believed dogs mark “their humans” as part of their pack by leaving a scent trail on them.

Personality trait

Rolling in the grass can be a part of their personality. They might simply enjoy doing it. You can read a bit more into this issue by observing the exact way your dog is rolling. If they are doing it frantically, it is likely they are doing it for some other reason. If they are relaxing and slowly rolling, they simply might be enjoying it. Slightly wet, cold grass may just feel good against their coat or skin, and the dog just has a short “spa” treatment by rolling in the grass.

There are different things dogs might want to tell us with their body language. Check out this article for more information about reading into the dog’s body language - Understanding dog body language.

Compulsive behavior

All of these reasons and theories above are nothing to worry about. However, if your dog is rolling in the grass compulsively, you might want to look a bit closer into that type of behavior. Dogs with compulsive disorders are trying to compensate for something they are lacking in their regular lives. You can try adding a bit more training sessions, playtime, or socializing in their daily lives, and the compulsive behavior can stop. If that doesn’t work, you can always ask your vet or a dog behaviorist (trainer) for professional advice.

In conclusion

Dogs love rolling into things, and grass rolling is the least of your problems. This type of behavior can be a bit impractical as your dog might get dirty and stinky. Still, in most cases, it is nothing to worry about. If you want grass rolling to stop, you can always try to divert your dog’s attention to something else. Training is an effective way of preventing this type of behavior.

How do you feel about training your dog? Check out this article to find out why training is vital - What will obedience training teach your dog?

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