TL;DR: Yes, rolling on the back is common for pets.
Have you noticed your dog likes to roll around in the grass or mud, possibly covering themselves in some stinky eau de parfum of carrion or feces? Don’t be alarmed – they have good reasons to do that.
It’s Hunting Season
You can domesticate dogs, but you can’t un-beast them. Though your dog doesn’t need to hunt or fight to survive and is in no danger of becoming someone else’s dinner, they still carry those ancient instincts within. Rolling on the back over carrion or feces is a way to camouflage their scent with a more intense one, so they could hunt or hide without being discovered. While rolling on the back to camouflage their scent may seem like a strange behavior for a domesticated pet, it’s important to remember that dogs were originally domesticated from wolves, which are known for their hunting prowess. These instincts have been ingrained in dogs for thousands of years and are difficult to shake off. Rolling on the back over carrion or feces to mask their scent is a way for dogs to tap into their primal instincts and feel more connected to their wild roots.
I’ll Make a Ceasar Salat Out of You
Rolling on the back can also express, “I came, I saw, I conquered; that’s why my smell is all over”. The rolling-and-conquering can happen everywhere: Their bed, your bed, other soft padded surfaces, the lawn, or next to carrion they found. Either way, it’s a message for others to stay away from their territory.
Smells Like Flock Leader
Walking around smelling of a dead pigeon or a horse’s feces upgrades your dog’s social status among fellow dogs, signaling to others that they successfully hunted some nice dinner.
Dogs often roll on their back to relax, release tension, and stretch their muscles after a long sleep or challenging obedience training. After a long sleep or a challenging training session, dogs may feel stiff and sore, just like humans do. By rolling on their back and stretching out their legs, they can release tension and increase blood flow to their muscles. This can help prevent injuries and keep them feeling healthy and limber.
Rolling is a way to remove dirt by rubbing it off on the grass (or the living room carpet, whichever is closer). In addition to removing dirt from their fur, rolling on their back can also help dogs clean hard-to-reach areas, such as their face and ears. By rubbing their back against the ground, they can effectively clean these areas without the need for human intervention. This self-cleaning behavior is not only convenient for dogs but can also help prevent skin infections and other health issues. So the next time you see your dog rolling on their back, remember that they’re not just having fun – they’re also taking care of their hygiene.
Dogs love to roll on their backs in shallow puddles or shaded areas to cool down when the weather’s hot.
If your dog rolls excessively, it’s a good idea to consult your vet to rule out any skin problems. Otherwise, it’s Roll over Beethoven! Let your dog enjoy as long as nothing stinky is involved :)