If your Labrador keeps rolling in the grass, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why do Labradors roll in the grass?

The main reasons are that they like the feeling, to cool down, itchiness, to mask its scent, it’s inherited from wolves, to get their natural smell back after being washed, to mark their territory, obsession, excitement and to shed loose hair.  

And how do I stop my Labrador from rolling in the grass?

The best way to stop your Labrador rolling in the grass will depend on why it’s doing it and it’s not normally possible to get them to completely stop.

Instead, you can reduce how much they want to do it. Methods include grooming them, inspecting skin for parasites, exercise, training it to come on your command, keeping it cool and taking it to the vets. 

There are many possible reasons why it might like doing it and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are also a number of things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Why Your Labrador Rolls in the Grass

Below are a number of common reasons why Labradors like to roll in the grass and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours likes to do it.

They like how it feels

An obvious reason that your Labrador might be rolling in the grass is that it might like how it feels. It could just be that, like how we enjoy the feeling of massages, rubbing its fur against the blades of grass feels good on its skin so it does it more.

To cool down

Another possible reason why your Labrador rolling in the grass is to cool down. Labradors have double coats and it can cause them to be hot during the summer. It could be the case that rolling around in the cool grass helps it to cool down. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it is hot and if it has started doing it more since the weather has become hotter.

Itchiness

In a similar way to how we might use a back scratcher when we have an itch dogs roll in the grass. It could just be that it has a skin infection or it has parasites in its fur that it is getting relief from by rolling in the grass. To make sure this isn’t the case it’s important to inspect its skin for red spots or bugs.

Inherited from wolves

One theory is that dogs like to roll in the grass since it’s an inherited trait from wolves. Wolves have been observed to roll in odors from other animals and then when they get back to the tribe they would follow the scent back to its origin. This could be a method that they use to hunt prey more easily and quickly.

To get their natural smell back

It’s not uncommon for Labradors to roll in the grass after being washed since they don’t like the smells of conditioners. This would be more likely to be the cause if your Labrador tends to do it shortly after you bathe it.

To mark their territory

The reason why they do it could also be that they are spreading their scent so that other animals in the area know that they are near. This could be the cause of the grass rolling if it is occurring in your backyard. But, it could still be the cause if it’s rolling in the grass at parks away from where you live.

Obsession

It might be the case that there are some emotional issues at play which are causing your Labrador to exhibit obsessive behavior.

If your Labrador has recently gone through a stressful event such as a change of environment or a change of owner or it’s been mistreated in the past then this could be the cause.

If you think that it could be the case with your Labrador then consider getting help from a certified dog behaviorist in your area.

Excitement

It might be the case that your Labrador expresses its excitement by rolling in the grass when it’s happy. If it mostly rolls in the grass when you’re playing with it then this is likely to be the actual cause of the grass rolling.

To shed hair

It could also be that your Labrador is shedding its hair and that it has some loose hairs in its fur. This could be causing your Labrador to be rolling in the grass since it’s something that can probably be quite irritating. If your Labrador has recently started to shed more then this is more likely to be the case.

How to get your Labrador to stop rolling in the grass

Below are some things you can do about your Labrador rolling in the grass a lot.

Groom it

Since the cause of your Labrador rolling in the grass could be due to trying to cool down or to remove loose hairs, grooming your Labrador is something that will likely help to reduce its grass rolling. Grooming it will help because it will allow it to keep its coat clean and aerated and it will help to remove loose hairs.

Inspect the skin and fur

It would also help to inspect your Labrador’s skin and fur for red areas and possible parasites. If you think that it could be what’s causing the grass rolling then go to a vet to have it checked out.

Train it to come on your command

If you train your Labrador to come to you on your command then you’ll be able to get your Labrador to stop rolling in the grass when it does and to come to you when you see that it is about to.

To do this do as follows:

  1. Get some treats that it likes and a long lead if you have one
  2. Tell it to sit then reward it with a treat. If you haven’t taught your Labrador to sit yet then you’ll want to do that first.
  3. Then you say “Stay” then reward it if it pays attention to you for one second.
  4. You then repeat the process each time getting it to keep its attention a little longer.
  5. Then you tell it to stay then walk a few steps back then if it stays you walk back and reward it.
  6. Continue to do that each time walking back a bit further and, when it gets good, wait for a few seconds before walking back to it.
  7. Now you’ll say stay go back a few steps and then say “come” and reward it for coming to you
  8. Repeat doing that until you’re able to go far away
  9. Make sure to do this frequently so that your Labrador stays responsive to your command

Give it other things to keep it occupied

Since your Labrador might be rolling in the grass more out of boredom it would be worthwhile to give it lots of toys that it can play with so that it doesn’t roll in the grass to pass the time.

Keep it cool

Since your Labrador might be rolling in the grass to cool off it’s important to make sure that you help it to stay cool. To do this it would help to give it access to shaded areas, a cool room and lots of water. It would also help to walk it earlier in the mornings or in the evenings when the sunlight is not as strong.

Go to the vet

If you’re still concerned about your Labrador rolling in the grass and you can’t get it to stop then consider going to the vet to make sure nothing is wrong.

Is grass rolling dangerous?

The short answer is that it can be. The problem with allowing your Labrador to roll in the grass is that it might get sick due to germs in the grass. The other issue is that grass will often contain pesticides or other poisons that it has been treated with that could be harmful to your Labrador. This means that, if your Labrador tends to roll in the grass, then you should avoid areas where the grass might have been treated.

Things to consider

There are some things that you’ll want to keep in mind that I will mention below.

It’s not unusual

If your Labrador likes to roll in the grass then that by itself shouldn’t be something to be overly concerned about. All dog breeds have a habit of rolling in the grass so it’s a normal thing for them to do. However, if your Labrador is showing other weird symptoms or the grass rolling has come on suddenly then it may be cause for concern that you might want to get checked on by a vet.

Don’t punish it physically

It might be tempting to punish your Labrador for doing it but it might not understand why it is being punished. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not roll in the grass and to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to start doing it.

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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.