What does it mean when a dog rolls over in front of you? Simple and Effective Tips

Your Dog Has an Itch They Can’t Scratch

One of the most common reason for a dog rolling on their back is not as complex as you may first think. Believe it or not, dogs often roll on their backs to scratch themselves in places they just cant get to otherwise. This can be a normal behavior, but if youve ever had a dog that has struggled with allergies, you know that dogs that are in the midst of an allergy flare up can get very itchy. They may scratch themselves so much that they develop a secondary bacterial skin infection. These skin infections can be painful, and spread rapidly, so if this happens to your poor pup, call your vet immediately.

There are medications that can help soothe your dogs itchy skin and help correct any bacterial infection that may have taken hold. Even if your dog doesnt have any signs of secondary skin infection, though, if they are itchy all the time that could be indicative of an allergy, be it environmental, food, flea, or other. Dogs manifest their allergies by way of itchy skin and paws, ear infections, and anal gland infections. If you are seeing your dog rolling on their back to scratch themselves constantly or if they are doing it in conjunction with chewing their paws, scratching their ears, or even scooting, they could be allergic to something in the environment or in their food.

Your vet can discuss ways of determining what your dog is allergic to and possible immunotherapy (most often in the form oral medications taken daily or injections given every few weeks). There are also medications available that can help block the itch cascade so that your pup doesnt have to suffer with an itch that it just cant scratch.

It Can Be a Non-Threatening Way of Saying Hello

It is well-understood that a dog rolling on its back and exposing its belly is a sign of submission. A way of saying, “Hey, please dont hurt me, I mean you no harm.” Sometimes, if your pup is extremely timid, you may also see submissive peeing in conjunction with an exposed belly.

As with all non-verbal behavioral cues and body language, reading your dog as a whole—looking at other behavioral cues it may be giving in conjunction with an exposed belly, as well as being aware of what is going on in the environment—can give you some insight as to whether this is a true submissive back roll or not. If your dog is in a new environment and/or around new people or pets, especially if your dog isnt very well socialized yet and still unsure of new people and new experiences, a roll on its back may be nothing more than a way to appear non-threatening.

Your dog may also flop on its back in the midst of healthy play with other dogs. In such instances, rolling on its back is a way of showing the other dog that the play is all in good fun. Veterinary professionals and pet owners are becoming more educated in pet behavior, body language, and how pets communicate with us and with each other. Reading up on canine body language, appropriate play, and healthy socialization skills are important tasks for any dog owner, but above all else is simply knowing your dog. The more you learn about different ways your dog communicates how they are feeling with you—how they behave when they are happy, scared, or upset—the more you can set your dog up for success in any situation.

This is a subtle body signal that humans often miss. If you notice your dog turning his head to look away from something bothering him, this means hes stressed. Dogs will do this when greeting other dogs that they may not feel comfortable with. It can be observed in other situations such as a dog being in a room where people are yelling. You will usually see the dog do other stress signals at the same time such as lip licking.

If you see a dog laying on their back and napping, this means your dog feels safe and relaxed in his environment. A dog willing to sleep with his belly up feels confident and secure. Note that this doesnt mean if you see a dog sleeping in different positions that they are not relaxed, because dogs are just like people and everyone enjoys different sleeping styles.

Some dogs also roll on their backs to scratch and itch on their back or to enjoy the surface theyre rubbing on, such as fresh grass or if you see a dog rolling on a bed. This is a normal behavior but if you notice your dog doing this a lot and flaky, irritated skin, bring your dog to a veterinarian to see if they have a skin allergy or other condition.

If your dog begins yawning, it could just mean that hes sleepy and needs a nap. But yawning can also be a sign that your dog is stressed. If your dog yawns and then curls up and goes to sleep, then hes probably fine. But if you notice him yawning during a stressful situation and its accompanied by other stress signals such as lip licking, drooling, shaking, whining or turning away, this means your dog is anxious.

Sniffing is a natural behavior but can also be whats known as a “calming signal.” You may notice this behavior when your dog meets new dogs or is in an area that hes not familiar with and is nervous. It may not indicate anything more than your dog is sniffing the ground to learn about the place hes in or the dogs hes meeting, but if you see this behavior accompanied by other nervous signals, this means your dog may feel on edge.

Ask Amy: Why Do Dogs Roll On Their Backs

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.

So, why does my dog roll onto its back? Possible reasons why your dog rolls onto its back are submissiveness, wanting you to rub its belly, showing trust, it has an itch, or to cool down.

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.