If your dog rolls over a lot, this post will show you why and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog roll over? The most likely reasons why your dog rolls over are that it is being submissive or that it wants you to rub its belly.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog rolls over and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and the timing will have a lot to do with it.

Why does my dog roll over?

Below are likely reasons why your dog rolls over and what would make each of them more likely.

Your dog is being submissive

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. 

Intimidation

It might also be the case that your dog is intimidated. This would be more likely if your dog rolls onto its back when you approach it boldy or loudly or if it does it when there are things happening that might intimidate it such as there being loud noises inside.

Your dog is playing

Your dog might also do it because it is playing. This would be more likely if it does it when it is rolling around, wagging its tail and when it seems to be excited. In this case, it would still be likely that it is also being submissive.

Your dog 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. 

Your dog is showing that it trusts you

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.

Your dog 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. 

Your dog is trying to cool down

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 to help figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog has always rolled over

If your dog has not always rolled over, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to an event that occurred. If it did start doing it suddenly, it could be because it learned that the behavior is rewarded or because something started causing it to get intimidated.

The timing of when your dog rolls over

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 body language your dog shows

It would also help to consider the body language of your dog when it rolls over.

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 my dog rolling over?

Here are options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Avoid intimidating it

As mentioned above, it could be the case that something has been causing it to get intimidated. If your dog has been doing it when you are interacting with it, it could help to be calmer with your dog. It would also help to consider if there is anything around the home that might have been intimidating it.

Avoid encouraging it

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. 

Let it do it

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. 

Why does my dog roll over when it sees me?

If your dog rolls over when it sees you, the cause could be that it is being submissive which would be more likely if it does it when you approach it boldly. The cause could also be that your dog wants you to give it belly rubs.

Why does my dog roll over for other dogs?

The most likely reason why your dog rolls over for other dogs is that it is being submissive.

Why does my dog roll over when I pet it?

A likely reason why your dog rolls over, when you pet it, is that it wants you to rub its belly.

Why does my dog roll over when I approach it?

Your dog might be rolling over when you approach it, due to being submissive which would be more likely if it does it when you approach it loudly or aggressively. Your dog might also be doing it because it wants you to rub its belly.

Why does my dog roll over when I try to pick him up?

If your dog rolls over when you try to pick it up, the cause is likely to be that it is being submissive. The cause could also be that it wants you to rub its belly.

Why does my dog roll over when in trouble?

If your dog rolls over, when it is in trouble, the most likely reason is that it is being submissive.

Why does my dog roll over when I come home?

If your dog rolls over when you come home, the cause could be that it is being submissive. It might also be showing that it wants you to rub its belly or that it is excited.

Why does my dog roll on toys?

Your dog likely rolls on toys because it likes the feeling. It could also be the case that your dog does it because it is excited.

Why does my dog roll over when I shout?

The most likely reason why your dog rolls over, when you shout, is that it is being submissive.

This post may contain affiliate links. Petdogowner may be paid a commission from the companies mentioned in this post. This has no effect on the price that you pay and we are very grateful for any support.

Most Recommended For Dogs

Best Dog Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program - If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now. You can get the first month free using This link.

Best Dog Treats

Our favorites: N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring (on Amazon) - Great for puppies. American Journey Dog Treats (on Amazon) - Great for adult dogs.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.