If your German Shepherd has a habit of rolling in the grass then you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will give you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might roll in the grass and will give you some options to deal with it.

So, why do German Shepherds 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 can you get it to stop? The best way to stop your German Shepherd 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 the skin for parasites, exercise, training it to come on your command, keeping it cool and taking it to the vets. 

Rolling in the grass is not an unusual thing for German Shepherds to do but, sometimes, there can be health reasons at play. So, it’s important that you take the time to consider why your German Shepherd might be doing it. Figuring out the cause will also help you to reduce the behavior more easily.

Why Your German Shepherd Rolls In The Grass

There are a number of possible reasons why your German Shepherd might be rolling in the grass. Below I will list the main reasons.

It likes how it feels

An obvious reason why your German Shepherd 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 probable cause of your German Shepherd rolling in the grass is to cool down. German Shepherds have thick coats that don’t help them to stay cool in the summer. Their way of cooling down could involve rolling in the cooler grass to make their skin feel cooler.

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.

To mask its scent

German Shepherds do tend to have a high prey drive. The cause of the grass rolling could be to mask its scent so that other animals can’t smell it when it is near and so that they don’t know where it’s been.

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 German Shepherds to roll in the grass after being washed since they don’t like the smells of conditioners. This could be the cause of why your German Shepherd is rolling in the grass after being washed.

To mark its territory

The cause could be that they are spreading their scent so that other animals in the area know that they are there. 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 could be that there are some emotional issues at play which is causing your German Shepherd to exhibit obsessive behavior. If your German Shepherd 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 German Shepherd then consider getting help from a certified dog behaviorist in your area.

Excitement

It could be that your German Shepherd 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.

Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you

To shed hair

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

How To Stop Your German Shepherd Rolling In The Grass

There are a number of things that you can do to reduce how much your German Shepherd rolls in the grass and the best thing to do will depend on why it’s going it.

Completely stopping your German Shepherd from rolling in the grass is something that will be very difficult to do and is unrealistic. Instead, you can take measures to reduce how much it will want to roll in the grass that I’ll mention below.

You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get even more tips on how you can train your GSD.

Groom it

Since the cause of your German Shepherd rolling in the grass could be due to trying to cool down or to remove loose hair grooming your German Shepherd 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.

Watch below to see how to do it

Inspect the skin and fur

It’s important to inspect your German Shepherd’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.

Exercise

German Shepherds are a breed that needs a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated. If your German Shepherd isn’t getting enough exercise then it could be causing it to be more energetic which will make it more likely to roll in the grass. If your German Shepherd isn’t currently getting exercise daily then you should make sure that it does. If you don’t have the time then consider paying a dog walker to do it for you.

Train it to come on your command

If you train your German Shepherd to come to you on your command then you’ll be able to get your German Shepherd 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 German Shepherd 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 German Shepherd stays responsive to your command

Give it other things to keep it occupied

Since your German Shepherd 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 German Shepherd might be rolling in the grass to cool off it’s important to make sure that you help it to stay cool. You can do this by turning your air conditioning to a low temperature if you can. You cal also give it lots of water, give it access to lots of shaded areas, give it access to a dog wading pool, walk it earlier in the morning or later in the evening and you can avoid allowing it to remain in cars in the summer. You can also avoid shaving its fur as this can actually make it get hotter.

Go to the vet

If you’re still concerned about your German Shepherd 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 German Shepherd 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 dog. This means that, if your German Shepherd 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 dog 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 dog 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 can be tempting to punish your German Shepherd for grass rolling but it won’t usually work. You’ll also be risking causing other problems such as distrust, destructive behavior, depression in your dog or aggression. So, it’s best not to do it.

Related Questions

Why does my German Shepher roll in poop? This is something that puppies will often do when they’re still exploring the world. Other possible reasons include doing it to mask its scent so that other animals can’t smell it or so that its tribe can tell where it’s been.

Why does my German Shepherd roll in the mud? The possible reasons for this are to mask its scent, to cool down or because it is overly excited.

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