Why Do Dogs Roll On Their Backs?

In this article, we will be taking a look at the question “why do dogs roll on their backs“? Although there are a number of different reasons a dog may roll on its back, we have decided to publish this article coving the main reasons in an attempt to help any of our readers have this same question so let’s get started.

Masking Their Scent

This is a survival instinct that remains hardcoded in their DNA from back when dogs were closer to wolves. They would roll in things with strong scents as both an offensive and defensive strategy to mask their smell. This would help them avoid their scents being picked up by predators while also allowing them to sneak closer to prey.

Although there is no need for this kind of behavior in this day and age, your dog doesn’t know this and may keep repeating this action due to its instincts. Unfortunately, it can be hard to train this potentially undesirable behavior out of your dog. Some people report having success with training a heel command into their dog to be used to get your dog to come to you before it has the chance to roll in something smelly.

Having A Good Scratch

It is hard enough for a human to scratch specific parts of their backs, never mind a dog scratching theirs. One of the easiest ways for your dog to scratch its back is to roll on its back and itch like crazy. You can usually tell if this is the reason your dog is rolling on its back as there tends to be a lot more wiggling to get a better itch and a happy look on your dogs face.

This is totally normal behavior and there is no need to worry. If this behavior does increase then your dog may have fleas, ticks or some other type of infestation. You can usually look through your dog’s fur for a better indication of what actually going on. If your dog does have fleas then here are some of our articles that may be helpful to you:-


Feeling Defensive

During play fights with other dogs, rolling onto their backs is usually a defensive sign of submission and for the play fight to end. If your dog is play fighting with other dogs, pets or members of the family then rolling onto its back may just be a sign of your dog submitting.



Rolling on to their backs can also be a way for dogs to show happiness or that it is relaxed. We are sure you have seen your dog sleeping on its back in some random positions that have you wondering how on earth they could be comfortable. As your dog relaxes in a strange position on its back it ends up falling asleep or having a short nap.

This can be a sign that your dog is totally relaxed with you and accepting of you as the alpha of the pack and that it is happy with its life.