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Canine Behavior/Dog sniffing ground and then rolling in it


Bellas first day here with us!
Bellas first day here  
Me again
I have a question about my dogs behaviour, though not an issue, I am just curious as to why both Bella and Cooz(older dog) exhibit this behaviour.
When our for walks with either one of them, they will stop, smell a small area of grass, Bella rolls  around in the area, more or less, she dives into it, while Cooz, pees on it..this happens on separate walks, as Cooz cannot keep up with Bella and I.
Do you know what the heck this is all about?
As well, Bella has an aversion for oblong pillows, particularly one that I rest my arm on while on the computer and another in the rec room in the basement.  She bites into them. It is the strangest thing
She will be laying there, content..with her mouth around the pillow
If you can figure these behaviours out, I would be thrilled..

ANSWER: Well, Bella is a hunting breed (from her appearance).  Rolling in scent is a natural instinct for a dog intended to follow prey (while the hunter follows the dog).  It "erases" the scent of the dog to the prey.  It's a benign event unless she starts rolling in Poop (which does happen, so beware of that and, should she appear to be attempting it, circle her, ask for "sit", keep moving).  Cooz marks over the scent that's on the ground; it's his way of stating "I was here and I'm letting you know it", fairly normal.  Even females will do it (especially if from heavily male populated litters).

It's possible the oblong pillow (because of the scent: you rest your arm on it) is a trophy for Bella.  She doesn't seem to be destroying it or even attempting to destroy it.  She seems to be "claiming" it, much like she would "claim" an object (subject) she was hunting: soft mouth, intent to do no harm.

If you'd like to extinguish this pillow thing, use followup feature and I will give you tips on Leave it/take it.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: She always rolls in the same areas, heavily infested rabbit area, so this makes total sense. Thank you, but she sometimes does it in the house too, always in the same spot, right by my husband, as he reads on the computer. What does this mean?
She has not tried rolling in poop, but she always smells it, I control the situation..
When I take Cooz out, he too, stops in all the same places and pees/dribbles.
He stops many times, has for years, sniffs a small spot in the grass, scratches it, then rolls in it..
All of the spots where Cooz has been, Bella sniffs, it is like they are constantly following one another's scent trail or something.
So the pillow is a trophy to Bella, which means that she is claiming me? She also does this to an oblong pillow that my husband bought for her, however I bought her one at the second hand store, and she throws it on the floor when on the couch! Lol
I find it cute and no reason for me to extinguish .

The largest threat to Bella's rolling where rabbits have urinated is leptospirosis.  She should be vaccinated against this every three years at least, talk to your veterinarian.

Try to continue to not allow either of your dogs to go near poop of any kind.  From this source can be contracted intestinal parasites and even Parvo virus, deadly.  Just because a dog is vaccinated against Parvo does not necessarily mean the dog is 100% protected; titers rather than annual vaccinations is what I chose to do for all my dogs but when it comes to Parvo you can't be too careful.  Again, talk to the veterinarian.  Cooz is marking, normal male behavior, and they really are following one another's trail markers.

The pillow thing is just one of those idiosyncrasies that prove each dog, like each human (and each of everything else) is unique: only one like him or her.  It's cute, actually.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

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Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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