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Let your dog (rock 'n) roll!

why does my dog roll? Maddie's Dog Academy
rolling dog

The sight of a dog rolling in the mud, a pile of leaves, grass, probably does not surprise anyone. It’s hard to fight a dog’s nature. Introducing bans and correcting a pet for every roll will be of no use! If we can’t fight the bad habits of pets, let’s at least try to understand them. Certainly, we will be able to swallow the view of a dog muddy to the ears if we learn the mechanisms of its irrational behaviour.

„Usually, the dog sniffs the source of the smell, moving the nose as close as possible — although it seems unnecessary in the case of rot or faeces — then drags the head or shoulders through it, then the back and hindquarters, often writhing in the supine position with apparent pleasure. (…) wallow ecstatically, bite and scratch the source of the fragrance, immerse their mouths in it. “ “Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell” — Alexandra Horowitz

Why Does My Dog Roll?

People fall into despair when their pets roll back in the dirt shortly after returning from the groomer or immediately after brushing. They think the dog wants to hurt them. Meanwhile, the dog’s rolling is not directed against man.

Scholars are still unsure why a dog does this. There are several different theories:

1. The theory of “camouflage”

Many dogs mask their own odour by rolling in faeces or carrion. When an animal rolls or rubs something, the smell of the place or object spreads to it. This is useful when hunting because it allows you to blend in with the scented background and become imperceptible to a potential victim. Despite the fact that modern quadrupeds are almost completely lacking in the instincts of predators, the reflex of rolling and blending with the smell into the environment has remained. such action is as natural for him as for us after a workout shower, so as not to smell bad in the company. In addition, by adapting your body’s odour to the smell of your surroundings, the animal increases the likelihood of being considered the owner of the territory. Females of wild African dogs (lycaons) wallow in the urine of males from the herd they want to join — if they have a familiar smell, they will be more easily accepted.

2. The theory of “popularity”

The social position of the animal is higher if it carries something as desirable for other members of the species as an extremely repulsive smell. Spotted hyenas, whose shoulders were rubbed with carrion, enjoyed a more friendly interest in their herd than those sprinkled with camphor. Rolling in the carrion, you can then enjoy the smell of these specific perfumes.

A dog’s idea of personal grooming is to roll on a dead fish — James P. Morgan

3. The hedonistic theory

Dogs just like to wallow. it’s just pleasant. allows you to adopt a different body position than usual, so it’s a type of exercise. Spinning on the back in the grass, twigs, sand or mud is, secondly, a great massage. Dogs can scratch most places on their body with their paws or teeth, but their back is a hard place to reach.” Rolling in the grass could be the equivalent of giving themselves a good back scratch.

According to that, it can be that Your dog’s need to roll in the grass may also be an indication of a health issue that is causing itching. Common problems include skin allergies, external parasites (fleas, ticks etc.), and skin infections. If your dog seems to be itchier than normal, have him examined by a veterinarian to identify the underlying cause, and, if you haven’t already done so, put your dog on effective flea and tick preventive regimen.

A third reason — rolling is a form of independent skincare. Due to the fact that the dog occasionally treats itself to a dry bath in the sand, it will get rid of many impurities from the coat and secretions of the glands … Mud, sticking to the coat, and then gradually crumbling and falling off, entails dead hair and dirt.

4. Seldom, but can happen …

A constant need to roll in the grass could also be a sign of an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

So if you’re wondering whether to let your pet rollin the sand or take him to a dog spa, choose the first option. Think about how you felt when you made an “angle” in the fresh snow for the first time in your life. I allow my dog to roll in the sand and sometimes even mud, because I see how much this “party” makes him happy. Sometimes I also let him roll in low grass, but here you should keep your eyes wide open, because the grass can be dangerous …

Is Rolling in the Grass Dangerous?

It’s not the rolling that is dangerous; it’s all the stuff that may be lurking in the grass (or even the grass itself) which could pose a risk. Some lawns are treated with fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that may be poisonous for dogs. Portions of grass plants — particularly the sharp awns (seed-heads) found on some tall grasses — can be inhaled, lodge under an eyelid, or sometimes even penetrate intact skin. Fleas and ticks, other critters that may sting or bite, and disease-causing bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other potential pathogens can also hide in the grass.

why does my dog roll? Maddie's Dog Academy
Dog rolling in the grass

Of course, we’re not recommending that you keep your dog out of the grass completely. Just use your judgment to determine where and when a good roll in the grass is appropriate and do your best to prevent the behaviour when it is not. Also, be sure that your dog is on effective flea and tick preventative and that he is up to date on his vaccines.

What can you do?

If you are already aware that this behaviour is quite instinctive, you are certainly aware that it will be difficult to fight it. The dog does it for pleasure and is not quite able to control himself when he senses something wonderfully foul.

In my case, it is not allowed to roll in poop or carrion — the smell does not suit me. But if you are resistant, you can make a dog such a gift, for example for a birthday, and then bathe him in the most odourless dog shampoo. It is necessary that it’s a dog shampoo because the dog’s sense of aesthetics is extremely different from ours. What’s less prudent owners organize their pets bath sessions using shampoos for people. For us, their smell is pleasant and soothing, which is why we think dogs will like it too. In fact, however, dogs hate chemically enhanced aromas and want to get rid of their smell as soon as possible. rolling in the mud and leaves are the answer to our need to have a fragrant dog. The more cosmetics we put on the animal, the more likely it will get dirty at the earliest opportunity.

  • Try not to react too violently when you see on a walk that the dog is starting to roll in something. If you have a habit of doing scenes in such a situation, you unknowingly reinforce this behaviour (the dog finds it fun) instead of putting it out. Never punish a dog. It is pointless to scold the dog for releasing natural instincts. We will not achieve anything by shouting and beating, and we will lead to a situation in which the dog will simply be afraid of us.

  • If on your permanent walking route there has been a dead pigeon for several days, do not test the dog, do not wait until you finally want to perform in it. If possible, remove potential causes of unwanted behaviour.

  • In places that may be dangerous — for example, on a pasture where cow droppings are left or in a forest where carrion may lie — keep the dog on a leash or rope.

  • Work out a command with your dog that allows selective permission to roll, which clearly means for the dog that this behaviour is not approved and must be stopped immediately. If the dog obeys, it responds to the message ‘stop’, ‘no’, or any other fixed word or sound.

  •  If you find that the reason is boredom, look for ways to spice up your dog’s walks. Make an appointment with a friend who also has a dog so that the pets can play. Start the dog to teach something and practice with him at different times of walks. Play hide and seek (hide behind a tree and call the dog so that he can find you). Give him the toy. In a word — draw the dog’s attention to other, equally attractive activities.

And if the day comes that all means will fail … Just buy good dog shampoo and know that you are not alone! Every day, thousands of owners face the same problem. Because that’s just the charm of dogs!

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