Why Do Dogs Roll Around in the Grass?

Have you ever watched a dog roll around in the grass, shimmying his back all over the ground with his paws waving in the air? If so, youve probably wondered what the heck hes doing! Well, it turns out rolling in the grass is one of the most natural and common canine behaviors. And, depending on the roll, it can have many different meanings. Lets explore some of the reasons why dogs roll in the grass!

As soon as my moms dog Pippa hits the grass, its a sure bet shes going to flop onto her back and start wiggling, rubbing, and rolling. If he seems really serious while rubbing and rolling then he may have grass, mud, dirt, or something stuck to his fur thats making him uncomfortable.

The most important takeaway here is: When your pooch is engaged in any behavior, in this instance rolling in the grass, observe him in action! Whether human or canine, if one is distressed then hell look uncomfortable, and when one is enjoying himself then his happy expression will shine through!

Why does my dog randomly roll in the grass?

Your dog may roll in grass to get rid of debris on his back or he may try to mask his smell by rolling in something stinky. … Rolling around the grass may help loosen up dirt stuck to your dog’s back and help him self-groom difficult-to-reach areas. It may also help brush away loose fur clumps.

Why do dogs roll on their backs and wiggle?

If you see a dog roll on their back and wiggle or kick their legs, and their overall body language looks loose and relaxed, this is a dog that is feeling happy and playful. You may also see dogs do this when they are playing with each other.

Why do dogs roll around for no reason?

Dogs roll on their backs to show submissiveness or trust, and as an act of defense when fighting. They might also roll around on a toy, food or something they find during play or while exploring outside.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a beautifully landscaped city park, in your own front yard, or standing beside a scruffy patch of grass while you have a socially distanced conversation with a neighbor: At some point, your dog will probably roll onto their back, shimmy across the ground, and… wait, are they smiling?

It’s essentially a byproduct of evolution for dogs, similar to how we still grow arm and leg hair even though we no longer need it to keep us warmbecause we have clothes.”

Ever wonder why your dog likes to roll around in grass? Sometimes he looks like he is having a good time, while other times he looks as if he is trying to rub something off of him.

Finding a soft area to cushion his body and stretch out may provide your dog with an ideal opportunity to scratch his back and soak up the sun.

Dogs love to run and play outside, but why do so many of them want to roll in the grass? Some dogs simply lie down and bask in the sun, while others flounder about like a fish out of water. And you know that dogs are even more likely to roll around in the grass if its stinky.

If an antelope smelled the scent of a wild dog nearby, it would be likely to bolt for safety, Dr. Coren writes. But dogs break it up and smell meat, tomatoes, spices, and pepperseach being separate.

So its no wonder dogs like to sniff around and roll in the grassit satisfies their urge to distinguish different smells and its a hardwired tool for survival. Some psychologists have suggested that dogs often rub against people to leave a trace of their scent and to mark the individual as a member of the pack, Dr. Coren writes . Dr. Coren also offers a more unique perspective: dogs may be seeking excessive sensory stimulation as a means of expressing themselves.

Territorial Marking

As a throwback to their wolf ancestors, some dogs may want to take a roll in specific smells. It could be pee or poop left behind by a critter that passed through your yard, a rotting animal they’ve found, or any number of things. There are a couple of theories at work here:

Change Of Fragrance

You just bathed little Fefe with that new great smelling shampoo you just bought for her. You can’t believe how good she smells. Then you go outside and the first thing Fefe does is flip on her back, feet wiggling in the air, as she vigorously rolls from side to side. Turns out, that shampoo you like so much, well, Fefe thinks it stinks! So, she’s turned to nature to cover that smell up!


Your pooch may be rolling in the grass because he’s itchy. Dogs usually have big smiles and a happy expression when they’re rolling for fun. If your pooch looks like he’s uncomfortable or trying to relieve himself then he may be trying to scratch an itch. Inspect him for any redness and/or swelling on his body. He could have skin allergies, flea, tick, or bug bites. If in doubt, it may be time to visit your veterinarian.

Clean Himself

You know that feeling you get when something dirty or sticky gets on your skin and you just want to get it off? Well, Fido feels that way too! If he seems really serious while rubbing and rolling then he may have grass, mud, dirt, or something stuck to his fur that’s making him uncomfortable. Just like you or I would try to brush the debris off, Fido takes to the abrasive grass to scrub himself clean.

Self Grooming

When a dog sheds excessively it can be really uncomfortable for him, especially if he has hair coming out in clumps. Rolling in the grass can be an attempt to brush out some of the loosened hair.

It Feels Good

One of life’s many pleasures is a back massage. Sometimes Fido or Fefe will take to the grass to do the rub and roll because it feels so good! Smart – right?!

Canine Cologne?

Another reason your dog may be rolling is that there is a specific smell he has detected in a particular patch of grass. Some predators — and dogs are a predatory species — like to roll in certain smells. The speculation behind this particular behavior is that the new smell helps to disguise their scent from their prey. For example, a wolf or coyote may roll over a grass patch that a rabbit has eliminated in, effectively covering itself with the scent of its prey. Researchers believe this may allow the wolf or coyote to move closer to its prey, thus ensuring a more successful hunt. There also may be a social component to rolling, such as conveying a message to another member of the pack. The behavior might be a way to say, “Hey, I found a dead deer over there!” Your dog, of course, may also be rolling to get rid of a smell, such as the scent of shampoo after you have bathed him or after being sprayed by a skunk.

They Love The Stink

What smells nice to us probably smells like poop to our dogs. Shampoos with fragrances smelling of cherries and flowers make us want to cuddle our furballs, but the smell may send them running straight outside to the stinkiest thing they can find. To discourage this behavior, try unscented shampoos or wipes to keep your dog clean.

Marking Their Territory

Dogs might also be trying to rub their scent off on an area, marking it as theirs.“Some psychologists have suggested that dogs often rub against people to leave a trace of their scent and to mark the individual as a member of the pack,” Dr. Coren writes. “It is certainly true that dogs will often roll around on something—like a stick, a new dog bed, or such—as if they were trying to deposit their scent on it.”

Scratching an Itch

Dog allergies are on the rise, whether it be food, flea, or environmental. Your dog may just be trying to scratch an itch when he rolls in grass. You’ll need to asses the type and severity of your dog’s allergies—you may even need to seek veterinary care.

It Feels Good

Soft grass may just feel good to your dog. One veterinarian suggests observing your dog rolling—is he rolling intensely or leisurely? His level of relaxation should clue you in.


Your dog could just be a little obsessed with rolling in the grass. For some dogs, it’s a compulsion to roll. Redirect this behavior with treats and training.