If your dog rolls onto its back a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you five common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get yours to stop.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog rolls onto its back
Below are five reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
When dogs are trying to show that they are not a threat, they will often roll onto their backs. The reason why your dog rolls onto its back could be that it is being submissive. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when other dogs are around it. It would also be more likely if it shows other submissive signs such as making itself appear smaller, hiding its tail, flattening the ears and avoiding eye contact.
It wants you to rub its belly
Another possible reason why your dog does it is that it wants you to rub its belly. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when you are petting it and if it shows signs of excitement when it does it such as wagging its tail or having its tongue out.
It trusts you
The reason why it does it could be that it feels secure.
Dogs in the wild are rarely reported to be seen laying on their backs mainly because it’s a vulnerable position. If something happens, it will take them longer to be able to react to it. If your dog is laying on its back, when it is around you, it would indicate that it’s not concerned about something happening and that it feels well protected.
It has an itch
The cause might also be that it has an itch on its back. This would be more likely if it tends to rub its back around on the floor when it does it and if it tries to rub its back on other things as well.
To mask its scent
Another possible reason why it does it might be that it is trying to mask its scent. This would be more likely if it tends to roll on its back on smelly things such as grass.
The reason why your dog does it could also be that it is trying to cool down. This would be more likely if it does it more when it is hot inside.
The underside of its belly has less fur there and so by sleeping on its back it can allow more air to get to the less insulated part of its body.
If you think that this could be the cause then take some measures to ensure that your dog is able to stay cool.
You can do this by making sure it has lots of shaded areas to go to, lots of access to water, you can groom it more often and you can lower the air conditioning temperature if you can.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
The timing of when it rolls onto its back
It would help to consider the timing of when your dog rolls onto its back since the timing will likely have a lot to do with it. For example, if it tends to do it more when other dogs are around, it would be more likely that it is being submissive. Whereas, if it does it with you at home, it could be getting you to rub its belly.
The other body language it shows
It would also help to consider what other body language signs your dog shows when it does it.
If it shows signs of excitement, such as wagging its tail or an open mouth with its tongue out, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to things such as wanting you to rub its belly or playing.
Whereas, if it shows signs of submission such as avoiding eye contact, making itself appear smaller, hiding its tail or trying to distance itself, it would be more likely that it is being submissive.
What to do about it
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Let it continue
It is likely that your dog has been rolling onto its back naturally. If it does not seem to be rolling onto its back due to submissiveness, at home, it would likely be ok to allow it to continue.
However, if it does seem to be being submissive at home, it would help to consider what might be causing it and to take measures to deal with it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
If you want it to stop, it would help to avoid encouraging the behavior. To do this it would be necessary to stop giving it attention as soon as it rolls onto its back and to give it attention when it does not.
Redirect its focus
It could also help to redirect its focus onto something else whenever it seems likely to roll onto its back. By doing so, you should be able to get it out of the habit of doing it. Things to redirect its focus onto could include toys or bones.
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