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Why do dogs roll in the dirt so much?
Is it just because they enjoy having dirt all over their fur, or is there some other reason we do not know about?
There are many different reasons that dog experts believe dogs enjoy doing this. It is a natural dog behavior, and dogs have been doing this for a very long time.
So, let us see what some of these reasons are.
Natural Hunting Instincts
As humans, it can be easy to forget that our beloved pets once roamed the forests in search of food, not affection.
Dogs may have access to the food that we give them, but they are still natural hunters.
The dog’s predator instincts tell them to cover their scent to hunt. If they were in the wild, they would not want to alert their prey to their presence.
Being covered in the smell of dirt is like a natural camouflage for dogs.
For this reason, it is just instinct for a dog to roll in the dirt so that the prey that they are hunting will be unable to detect them.
They may not be hunting anymore, but that does not change the compulsions they may feel.
To Cool Down
Did you know that dogs do not sweat?
Humans cool down when we are hot by sweating. Dogs cannot do this.
So instead, you may find that your dog has other ways to stay cool on a hot day.
They may pant or try to find the nearest source of water. They also like to just lay down somewhere that it is cool.
The nice thing about dirt is that it is relatively cool, especially if a dog can dig up some fresh dirt.
The truth is, rolling in dirt like this is a huge help for dogs to be able to stay cool on a hot day.
Since they cannot really take a dip in the swimming pool, rolling in the dirt is a pretty great option.
Have you ever had an itch on your back that you just cannot quite reach?
It is annoying, and you are left with that feeling of wanting to do anything to just get rid of that pesky itch.
Dogs get itches too, and unfortunately, they do not have hands to be able to scratch themselves.
Normally when a dog is itchy, they will scratch themselves with their legs or bite themselves to get rid of the itch.
However, this method does not always work when, like us, they just cannot reach where they need to.
This is when they may resort to other methods. Some dogs may use the walls or furniture to rub against.
Rolling in the dirt is a great way for these dogs to scratch themselves and relieve the itches that they just cannot reach normally.
It can even be a way for them to get something out of their fur that may have been bothering them.
However, it is important to keep a good eye on your dog.
If they are scratching themselves more often than what seems normal and just do not ever seem to stop itching, they may need to see the vet.
If a dog is itching themselves too often, this could be a sign of fleas, sensitive skin, or even allergies.
Many people believe that dogs will only claim their territory by urinating somewhere.
This is not the case. Dogs have many ways of claiming territory as their own.
Dogs claim territory using scent. Whenever they relieve themselves to claim territory, this is marking that territory with their scent.
But dogs have scent glands over their entire bodies.
When you find your dog rolling around in the dirt, mud, grass, or even just inside your home, it is an extremely likely option that they are claiming the territory as their own.
By rolling around, they can spread their scent all over the place.
Doing this ensures that any other dog who passes by will know that the territory they are walking by belongs to your dog.
So, the next time you see your dog rolling around in the backyard, you know that they could just be letting any other dogs know that this is their territory and to stay away.
They Do not Like Pretty Smells
What do I mean by dogs do not like pretty smells?
Well, we just love perfume and cologne. We love smells like citrus, lavender, or honeysuckle.
Of course, we add these different smells and perfumes to dog shampoo. Why?
Because we want our dogs to smell nice to us. But these pretty human smells just do not smell nice to dogs.
They are still naturally wild creatures, after all, and they prefer the earthier smells.
Anything from manure to just the dirt you have from your garden, dogs would rather roll around in these things that we find to be smelly than to smell how we want them to.
Of course, like I stated earlier, they also like to smell like the earth so they can hunt easier.
But sometimes it is just as simple as them not liking the shampoo that you used during their most recent bath.
If you are trying to figure out ways to get them to stop rolling in the dirt, try using a fragrance-free shampoo on your dog.
They will probably enjoy it quite a bit more than the other scents that we happen to enjoy.
When we talk to other humans, we use words.
We communicate by speaking, and sometimes we will write or even use our hands in the case of people who use sign languages.
We communicate with facial expressions and other non-verbal signals as well.
We are used to the idea that dogs communicate by barking, howling, growling, or other more vocal approaches to other dogs.
You may even notice the different ways their tail is used to communicate their mood.
It is interesting to know, though, that dogs speak in a way a human cannot.
They speak using smell. We already know that they use their own smell as a method of claiming territory, but what else?
The truth is the ancestors of our beloved pets used smell in a very special way.
Wolves would communicate to their pack by rolling around in different scents they were interested in, and they still do.
Then, they would report back to their pack and essentially show them the new smell.
It was a way of saying something along the lines of, “Hey, look at this. Isn’t this cool?”.
The pack could then decide whether the scent was worth investigating further.
Like it or not, we are the pack of our dogs.
When your dog wants to roll around in the dirt while you are on a walk together, they could just be smelling something that you cannot.
The truth is, they just want to share this new scent with you.
In their minds, it is new and different, and they think you might like it.
Why Do Dogs Roll in The Dirt? They Just Enjoy It
Lastly, some dogs just enjoy rolling around in the dirt or the grass.
It feels good to be able to rub themselves into the dirt and essentially just have fun.
We may not really see it this way, but sometimes, they are just having a good time.
Especially if the behavior does not seem frantic, it could just be your dog’s way of relaxing.
Your dog could very easily just be feeling calm and happy, and sometimes, rolling around in the dirt is the best way they have to be able to express this feeling.
All in all, there are a large variety of factors as to why your dog is rolling around in the dirt.
But it is not bad for your dog, and they happen to enjoy it.
Whether their rolling around is instinct or just their way of cooling down on a hot summer day, they are just naturally behaving the way that a dog was born to behave.
However, if you believe that your dog is doing this because they’re itchy, and they are constantly rolling around in the dirt or finding other ways to scratch themselves, you may want to take them to the vet.
If not, though, it is completely natural for your dog to roll around in the dirt, and there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
The best thing you can do is allow your dog to have fun and just be a dog. Understand that their behaviors may not be normal by human standards, but for a dog, it is completely acceptable.