As you have undoubtedly noticed, when you and your dog go for a walk, you don’t always have the same agenda. While you probably prefer to keep a constant pace, your pup may get distracted by anything and everything around him.

Many pet owners have to deal with dogs that roll around in the grass for no apparent reason. What seems unnatural for us is completely normal for them. Learning why dogs take detours or pit stops when they’re outside can help you strengthen your bond with your dog and better understand how he sees his world.

So, what are some theories as to why your dog can’t get enough of the green stuff?

Reasons Dogs May Roll in the Grass

Natural Instinct

Rolling in grass is a primal instinct that has been passed down for generations of dogs. In the wild, wolves—distant cousins of dogs—create “nests” for themselves in the grass by rolling around and flattening their surrounding area. Just like us, they like to feel comfortable and secure when they let down their guard, and this helps them do that.

Some scientists believe that rolling around in the grass is an instinct dogs have inherited from their wild ancestors to let others in their pack know what food resources are nearby.

Sense of Smell

What smells good to us may smell unpleasant to them, and vice versa. Dogs tend to roll on the ground to mask odors that seem unnatural to them. These can come from things like the shampoo you use to clean your dog, the smell of a new fabric freshener, or interactions with other animals or people.

Itchy Skin

The reason behind your dog’s rolling habit could be as simple as satisfying an itch. If your dog seems especially itchy, make sure that there are no underlying medical issues. Look for signs of fleas or tick bites, or any skin discoloration. Make an appointment with your vet if you uncover any of these hidden problems. Your pet may also have an allergy, rash, or other skin problem that should be addressed before his condition worsens.

Obsessive Behavior

Believe it or not, some dogs have obsessive-compulsive personalities. Rolling in the grass might just be their way of expressing their excitement in certain situations. Some animal behaviorists suggest distracting your pup from stimuli by calling him back to your side or playing with him before he notices an object, animal, or person that excites him, if possible. While this task may seem a bit overwhelming, the time you’ll save on having to bathe your dog could make it worthwhile.


While grass seems fairly harmless, be aware of where your dog rolls around. Some lawns have high levels of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer that could be poisonous to both you and your pet. Ticks, fleas, and other bugs are often found year round in tall or mid-length grasses as well, and bacteria, viruses, and parasites could be lurking in the dirt below.

Always be sure to keep your pup up to date on vaccinations and flea and tick prevention medicines while being aware of possible reasons your dog may roll in grass. Knowing how to treat problems that may arise will help to keep your pup healthy and happy for years to come!

Dog Training Solutions

Contact The Dog’s Way today if you’re interested in learning more about dog behavior and training solutions. Sean McDaniel teaches core principles, so you can discover what works for YOUR dog. The Dog’s Way DVD course has got to be the best dog training DVD course available today!

While you’re out on a walk with your dog, do you often find him pulling on the leash? If walking your dog consists of a struggle to keep him on the right track, you should read our latest eBook. Learn an easy way to get your dog to behave on your walks! Click the button below to download this free resource.

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