Why does my dog roll in the grass?

ryan clover

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

Ahhhhhhhh…. Is there anything that looks more luxurious than a dog having a good roll in the grass (and don’t you wish you could join them, sometimes)?

But why DO they roll in the grass? There are a few reasons for this:

They’re trying to get rid of that scented shampoo you inflicted on them. Let’s face it – what smells good to you may not smell good to your dog (unless it’s bacon). There’s nothing like an enthusiastic roll through some goose poop to neutralize that freesia-jasmine-vanilla concoction that is overwhelming your dog’s olfactory center.  If your dog always rolls in the grass right after a bath, you might want to switch to an unscented shampoo.

They’re itchy. There’s a difference between rolling for the joy of it and rolling to alleviate a persistent itch caused by allergies, dry skin, or a flea/tick infestation. If the rolling is a common occurrence (in the grass or at home on the rugs), take your pup to the vet to make sure there’s not an underlying cause.

They’re obsessing.  Occasional rolling is normal; constant obsessive rolling is not. If you see this happening, replace that behavior with some fun distractions and recall commands.  If the behavior continues without any underlying physical cause, talk to a trainer or veterinary behaviorist.

Bottom line – rolling in the grass, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, but what’s on the grass can be. Fleas, ticks, parasites, bacteria, and pesticides can all be lurking, and you don’t want your dog – or anyone in your family – to get infected or ingest any of these things. Make sure to wipe off paws and coat before going back into the house, and keep an eye on the behavior. As always, take your dog to the vet if you suspect anything is amiss either mentally or physically.

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Want to learn more about canine behavior? Check out Behavior Fundamentals Online!  It’s a detailed, science-based look at dog behavior, how dogs learn, and an all-encompassing survey of the world of dogs!

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