Why Do Dogs Roll In The Grass?

Your daily dog walking routine must look a little something like this: you put on your trainers, grab your dog’s lead and poop bag and then you head out to your local park.

You say ‘hi’ to a few friends and then let your four-legged friend off the lead for a run around in a dog-friendly area in the park.

Suddenly, your dog throws herself on the grass and begins rolling around frantically. She is covered in mud and looks at you knowing that a bath is on the cards for her when you return home. 

If you have ever wondered why your dog has an innate instinct to roll in the grass at the nearest opportunity, then read on to find out why they like to do just that.

Your Dog’s Nose

So, one of the main reasons why your dog likes to roll in the grass is because they are marking their scent.

A dog’s primary sense is their smell, and it is how they see the world. It is a scientific fact that a dog’s sense of smell can be as much as 60 times more potent than a human’s. Dogs actually identify individual smells in the same way that humans identify individual items visually.

So, no wonder why dogs like to sniff around and then subsequently roll around in the grass. They can pick up on lots of different smells in there and this makes them happy, and this is their ingrained survival instinct.

Scent Finding

Here’s the thing, what we think smells amazing actually smells disgusting to our dogs. For instance, your favorite perfume smelling of roses and vanilla will make your dog turn its nose up, and this might actually make them run off to the stinkiest mud puddle that they can find.

To discourage this sort of behaviour, we recommend that you use unscented shampoos or unscented wipes to keep your dog clean after they have rolled in their very own mud bath.

Marking Their Territory

By rolling in grass, your dog is marking their territory. What does this mean? Essentially, your dog is trying to imprint their scent on an area and mark it as their own.

This is just your dog’s way of depositing their scent on a grassy area. This is particularly tempting for your dog when they can smell the scents of other dogs, they just want to get theirs in the mix to hopefully overpower any other scents and to tell other dogs that this is not their area. 

Reaching That Itch That They Can’t Scratch

So, in case it wasn’t obvious, your dog has limited reach compared to humans. They physically cannot scratch their own backs, so rolling around on the grass can help them do this. This is down to the texture of the grass, it is soft and stranded so it really helps give them grip and is the best way to itch themselves.

For your dog, rolling around in grass will feel like rolling around on tiny combs and this really helps them itch that awkward spot, and by awkward spot we mean their back.

One thing to bear in mind is that your dog could actually be allergic to its environment, its food or it might have fleas. So, we recommend that you assess the type and severity of your dog’s allergies or consult a veterinarian who can advise you on how to help treat and deal with any allergies.  

It Feels Pretty Great

Yeah, we don’t want to state the obvious but your dog might just find rolling around in grass fun. It is recommended that as a dog owner that you observe how your dog is rolling, if it is leisurely or intensely then you can gage whether it is out of enjoyment or necessity.

If your dog’s pace is pretty calm then this should be nothing for you to worry about.

They Could Be A Bit Obsessed

Again, this one is down to your own personal judgement on how your animal behaves.

It is true that your dog could be a little obsessed with rolling around in the grass, and for some dogs it is this strange compulsion to just throw themselves on the ground and roll around in the grass.

If this is the case, and your dog rolling around does not look enjoyable, just completely chaotic, then redirect this behaviour. Get your dog’s attention with treats and train them not to do this.

You could even consider taking them to a puppy training class just to have a specialist give you some extra advice and guidance.

Expression

Your dog might enjoy rolling around in the grass because it offers them excessive sensory stimulation.

What does this mean? Well, this lets your dog express themselves! We would call this the dog equivalent of wearing a Hawaiian shirt when you are not on holiday.

It is pretty bold and attention grabbing, and you know what, your dog might just love all the attention they’ll get from doing this. They say a dog mirrors their owner…

Overall, rolling in the grass comes down to not only the breed of your dog, but just your dog in general. Like humans, every dog is different. Your dog may roll in grass once and never do it again, or every time you visit the park your dog might fling itself on the grass and roll around. 

Your dog rolling around in the grass is nearly always harmless behaviour, but, no one knows your dog like you do. So, if you are worried about how frantically or how frequently your dog is rolling around in grass then try and redirect their attention through retraining them.

A professional dog trainer or even your veterinarian can give you advice on how to do this. As long as your dog is not rolling around obsessively, and as long as your dog does not have an allergy issue then you have nothing to worry about.

So yes, we say let your dog roll around freely and to their heart’s content. After all, there is nothing worse than having an itch that you can’t scratch.

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.