Why Do Dogs Roll on Their Toys?

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they often leave us wondering what goes on inside their furry heads. From knowing when we’ll be home to insisting on microwaved meals, their behaviors can sometimes leave us puzzled. One such behavior is when dogs roll on their toys. It may seem strange to us humans, but this action actually holds a deeper meaning for our canine companions.

Unveiling The Happy Expression

Ali Smith, a knowledgeable dog trainer and CEO/founder of Rebarkable, explains that rolling on toys is an evolutionary behavior inherited from their wolf ancestors. She confirms that it is indeed an expression of joy. “It’s satisfying a lot of inner urges,” she says, particularly linked to hunting instincts.

1. Marking Their Scent

According to Ali Smith, rolling on objects is a “predatory” act seen in the wild as a way for canines to disguise themselves from their prey by rolling in dead animals or feces. Although toys don’t have any scent (at least to our nose-blind human senses), this behavior is deeply ingrained in dogs. Dr. Jeff Smith, medical director at Danville Family Vet, agrees, stating that dogs roll on things to leave their scent and mark their territory. He adds, “They will roll in things that stink to cover their scent.” While playing, dogs can mimic these actions with their toys, minus the undesirable smells.

2. An Affectionate Gesture

Another reason your dog may roll on their toys is to show their affection. According to Jeff Smith, dogs engage in this behavior as a sign of play and love. He describes his own little dog rolling on him in the mornings as an expression of adoration. If you reinforce this behavior unintentionally, such as by giving them a belly rub, your dog is more likely to continue doing it. Jeff Smith explains, “After this happens several times, it becomes a cue for the dog to get attention.” This fosters a stronger connection in the human-animal bond.

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3. Pure Enjoyment

Just like humans have itches they can’t reach, dogs can experience the same sensation. However, their solution involves rolling on the floor, which is more socially acceptable in their world. Ali Smith suggests that dogs may roll on their toys due to the pleasurable scratches they provide or because their ancestors taught them that it’s a good thing to do.

When Rolling Becomes Obsessive…

While it’s normal for dogs to have a favorite toy, the reasons behind their preference can vary. But could rolling on toys and marking them with their scent lead to obsessive behavior? According to Ali Smith, rolling is not typically associated with obsession. However, if you suspect that your dog’s behavior is becoming obsessive, it’s always a good idea to consult a qualified behaviorist or vet to ensure their well-being.

In conclusion, when dogs roll on their toys, it’s a delightful expression of their joy and instincts from their wolf ancestors. Whether they’re marking their scent, showing affection, or simply enjoying the sensation, it’s a behavior that brings them happiness. So the next time you catch your furry friend rolling around, you can rest assured that they’re just being their playful and contented selves.

To learn more about dogs and their fascinating behaviors, visit 5 WS.

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