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Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass? 10 Reasons & How to Help It

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Dog Roll in Grass

Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass? 10 Reasons & How to Help It

Dogs do many weird things that humans do not seem to understand, at least until they get to know our pets. One strange behavior they display is rolling in the grass. What is it about grass that attracts dogs to it so much? It turns out that there are several reasons that a dog likes to roll in the grass. Here are 10 reasons that every dog owner should be aware of.Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TEST

The 10 Reasons Dogs Roll in Grass

1. It’s an Instinct

Sometimes, dogs roll in the grass due to instinct. Wolves in the wild roll in fresh areas of grass and weeds as they travel. They sometimes do it to gain knowledge about the area, but mostly, they do it just to experience all the scents, textures, and feelings of the grass and weeds. Since dogs are descendants of wolves, many of them inherit the instinct to roll around in grass whenever they find a new patch that they have never visited before.

Parti yorkies dog in grass
Image By: Julio Yeste, Shutterstock

2. They Need to Scratch

Many dogs like to use the grass to scratch themselves, whether due to fleas, minor injuries, or a good old itch. They typically throw themselves on the ground and start rumbling and tumbling in the grass to get their itch scratched. They might look like they are riding a bike upside down while trying to scratch their back in the grass!

3. They’re Trying to Clean Themselves

The grass is an effective cleaning mechanism for dogs. Owners might notice that their dogs start rolling in the grass after running in the sand or getting muddy. Sometimes, dogs roll in the grass to clean the “soapy” smell off them after a bath. Dogs may also try to get the residual smell off them after getting a flea treatment. Any time that a dog feels dirty, even if the “dirt” is just a smell, there is a good chance that they will roll in the grass if they have an opportunity to.

volpino italiano dogs on grass
Image By: Degtyaryov Andrey, Shutterstock

4. They Are Marking Their Territory

Most people think of a male dog lifting his leg and peeing to mark his territory. However, some dogs prefer to roll in the grass to leave their mark. Rolling in the grass leaves behind some of the oils that a dog’s skin produces, which, in turn, helps mark the territory. Dogs do not do this to try to claim the space. Instead, it is their way of communicating to other dogs that they have been there. Marking a territory also helps dogs to recognize when they come upon an area that they have been to before.

5. They’re Trying to Mask Their Smell

For whatever reason, dogs do not always like the way they smell. So, when they want to mask their smell, they will roll around in a patch or field of grass to get a grassy smell on them. Even the dirt and mud underneath the grass can rub onto a dog’s coat to help mask their smell. That way, they don’t smell like anything but grass or dirt, which typically makes dogs happy.

6. They Enjoy the Feel

One simple reason that dogs roll in the grass is for the feel of it. To them, it is like rolling around in a massaging bath of bubbles that invigorates the skin and gets rid of loose hair. Rolling in the grass is like a mini spa for dogs. Doing so helps massage the muscles, exfoliate the coat and skin, and stimulate the nerves. Plus, many dogs get a great stretch workout while enjoying their grass-rolling expeditions.

dogs in grass_Piqsels
Image Credit: Piqsels

7. They’re Relieving Discomfort

Another reason that a dog might roll in the grass is to relieve discomfort. Believe it or not, dogs can get sunburned just like we do. When sunburn develops, dogs can gain relief by rubbing their bodies against the cool, damp grass. Dogs with rashes will also find relief in the gentle massage of soft grass against their bodies. Rolling around in the grass can also cool a dog off on a hot, sunny day when no shade is available.

8. They Want to Be Camouflaged

Dogs that are trained to hunt or protect livestock may look to grass as a means of camouflaging themselves. Doing so will optimize their performance and help ensure success. To prepare for a hunting or protecting job, a dog may vigorously roll around in the grass to get the smell and grass blades on their bodies. This gives them a sense of confidence that they will not be detected by possible predators or prey.

9. They Are Simply Happy

At times, dogs just want to roll around in the grass when they feel happy. This often occurs in the backyard or at a dog park. Part of the reason for rolling around in the grass is to get rid of pent-up energy that is exploding from within due to the excitement around them. Another reason for this behavior is to show love and affection to those around them.

german shepherd dogs sitting on grass
Image By: YamaBSM, Pixabay

10. They’re Displaying Obsessive Behavior

Unfortunately, some dogs roll in the grass because of an obsessive determination to do so. It can be tough to tell why a dog is obsessed with rolling in the grass, so working with a personal trainer is recommended. A trainer should be able to determine why a dog is being obsessive over the grass so efforts can be made to stop the behavior if necessary. Signs that a dog is obsessive about rolling in the grass include:

  • Constantly rolling in grass anytime that the dog is outdoors
  • A tendency for the dog to do nothing but search for grass to roll in when outside
  • A lack of interest in anything but rolling in the grass when spending time in the yard

If you suspect that your dog is obsessed with rolling in the grass, contact your veterinarian to schedule a checkup to confirm or rule out any medical reasons for the obsession. Your veterinarian can recommend steps that you can take to stop the obsession. They should even be able to refer you to reliable dog trainers who can help you. Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

Can Anything Be Done About This Behavior?

Many of the reasons that dogs roll in the grass are harmless. However, the activity can result in smelly dogs and unwanted debris in the house. Obsessive behavior should be curbed if possible. Here are a few things that you can do to stop your dog from rolling in the grass if you cannot tolerate the activity:

  • Hire a Trainer: This is the most effective way to ensure your dog stops rolling in the grass when you don’t want them to. Trainers have the resources, tools, education, and experience necessary to address core problems and redirect your dog’s actions.
  • Practice Redirection: Any time your dog heads toward a patch of grass to roll around, get their attention and offer them a treat so they forget about the grass and focus on your offerings. Instead of treats, a game of fetch or Frisbee can be utilized as a reward. Continue redirecting your dog’s attention in these ways as often as necessary.
  • Practice Training Activities: When your dog shows too much of an interest in rolling in the grass, get their attention and start practicing training moves. This works best with dogs that are eager to please and have already been trained in basic obedience.
woman training a pomeranian
Image by: rock-the-stock, Shutterstock

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Since there are so many reasons that a dog might roll in the grass, it is important to pay attention to their attitudes, temperaments, intentions, body language, and actions whenever they do it in order to figure out why. Hopefully, this guide will make it easy for you to determine why your dog likes to roll in the grass and how to stop it if necessary.

In case you might be wondering:

Featured Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

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