Why Does My Dog Roll On His Back When I Yell At Him?

Rolling due to excitement is a typical behavior displayed by dogs. But if your dog has a habit of rolling on his back when you yell at him, there could be other explanations.

Why does my dog roll on his back when I yell at him?

Your dog rolls on his back when you yell at him because it’s his way of seeking attention or approval. It could also be a sign of submission to you, a form of seeking apologies, appeasing you, or showing fear.

But that’s not all

Let’s dig a little deeper:

He’s scared of you

If your dog immediately rolls on the ground when you yell at him, he could be doing it due to being scared of you.

When your dog displays a strange behavior, you can easily decode its meaning by studying the situation or event that takes place before and after his behavior. In this case, fear could be a reason for his actions.

Dogs show fear in different ways, just like humans. According to a study, “Interpreting the Behavioral Signs in Dogs” by Bristol Veterinary University, it was discovered that signs of fear in dogs differ between dogs and within dogs.

Aside from rolling on the floor, there are other behaviors that your dog will also display when you yell at him.

Other Signs to Look Out For

To be certain that your dog rolls on the floor due to being scared of your yelling, there are other behaviors he will also tend to display before or after rolling. They include the following:

  • Whining
  • Pacing
  • Growling
  • Trembling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Low ears
  • Yawning

If your dog tries to hide from you after rolling on the floor or avoids eye contact with you, there’s a high chance he’s scared of you yelling.

He’s Showing submission to you.

The most likely reason your dog rolls on the floor is submissiveness. When you yell at your dog, he thinks you’re trying to show your dominance. Hence, he agrees with your dominance by rolling on the floor. 

A study by Dr Karen Sueda of the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital revealed that rolling on the floor when yelled at is a sign of submission in dogs. 

This study also revealed that dogs have a long history of rolling on the floor. The act of rolling on the floor is an ancestral trait that can be found in wolves. A wolf who exhibits this trait is trying to communicate with other wolves. He’s trying to say, “I’m not a threat to your power”. 

As a domesticated descendant of wolves, your dog has maintained this trait and is trying to use it on you when being yelled at. 

When a dog rolls on his back, he exposes his belly and neck to you. This part of his body is very vulnerable, however, he shows it off as a sign of submission.

To be sure that your dog rolls on this back as a sign of submission, here are other behaviors he’ll also tend to display.

  • Lying with belly up:- This is different from rolling.
  • Tucked in Tail
  • Avoiding Eye contact
  • Flattened eyes

A Way Of Apologizing  

Dogs are sensitive animals. They can easily understand the emotions you lay out to them. 

When you yell at your dog, there’s a high chance that he understands your anger. And since he understands, he’ll try to find a way to apologize to you.

If you have a habit of not yelling whenever he starts rolling on his back, your dog must have thought that his way of apologizing worked. Hence, he’ll continue it. 

Dogs say sorry by expressing submissive behavior. And since rolling is a major sign of submission in dogs, there’s a high chance that your dog is only exhibiting this behavior to say, “I’m Sorry About What I Did”,. 

To be sure that your dog is apologizing to you by rolling on his back, here are other behaviors he’ll also tend to display before or after rolling.

  • Wide cute eyes
  • Reduced panting
  • Droopy ears
  • Placing their tail between their legs

He’s Trying To Appease You

According to Turid Rugaas, a Norwegian dog trainer and behaviorist, it is believed that dogs try to appease their owners by displaying calming signals.

This calming signal can come in any form. If a dog rolls on his back or lies on his back when you yell at him, he could be trying to display calming signals to appease you.

The belly part of a dog is very vulnerable to threats. Your dog understands this fact but chooses to show it off to you when you yell. In this way, he’s trying to say, “I understand you are in authority. Here’s my most vulnerable side; you can do whatever with it”.

He’s Trying To Act Cute To Get Your Attention 

What’s the reason behind your yelling? Are you yelling at your dog due to his refusal to do something? Or are you just mad at your surroundings?

If your dog commits an offense and rolls on his back when you yell at him, he could be acting that way to stop you from yelling. This is very likely if you habitually scratch your dog’s stomach. 

If you’re yelling for no apparent reason, your dog will try to make you smile by rolling in a cute way to get your attention away from what makes you angry.

He has a Fear disorder. 

If your dog has a habit of rolling on the floor when you yell at him, he could be suffering from fear disorder and anxiety. 

Anxiety and fear disorder is a common problem that can be found in dogs. If you’re constantly yelling at your dog or someone else, your dog can develop a phobia of noise. This is because loud noises are a major cause of anxiety in dogs.  

A study backs up this theory conducted by Gary Landsberg and Sagi Denenberg of the North Toronto Veterinary Behavior Specialty Clinic. 

When you yell at your dog, he gets triggered by the noise and rolls on his back to show that he is no threat to you.

5 Ways to Get Your Dog to Stop Rolling On His Back

Stop Yelling At Him 

One way to get your dog to stop rolling on the floor is by not yelling. If your dog only rolls on the floor when you yell at him, you can control his habit by considering other ways to discipline him.

Dogs are like little children. They can’t decipher right from wrong. When you yell at them, it can be hard for them to understand the reason for your anger.

 Instead of yelling, you can think of better ways to convey your emotions to your dog. It’s very easy to get disappointed in your dog. When you yell at your dog, it becomes easy to keep yelling and finding faults.

Rather than shouting, you should find out why your dog makes you yell. Show your concern, and he’ll likely not make you angry the next time.

Give Him Treats

Dog treats perform wonders. It has the power to make your dog stop whatever he is doing. You can offer treats if you want a temporary way to stop your dog from rolling on the floor.

Note that this way can only work for the moment and negatively affects the long run. If you are in a hurry and want your dog to stop rolling, you can give him treats. But doing this frequently will only encourage his behavior of rolling.

Enroll Him in a Dog School or Train Him

When your dog acts in an unusual way, he does so due to a lack of training. Hence with proper training, you can stop your dog’s habit of rolling on his back when you yell at him. 

If you think you can’t train him, enrolling him in a dog school is best. However, there are simple training tricks that can stop his behavior.

If you have taught your dog the “NO” command, you can use it when he rolls. You can also make use of the “Stand Up” command to get him to stop his behavior.

Don’t Encourage the Behavior 

What do you do when your dog rolls on his back? Do you ignore him and walk away? If yes, you are why he hasn’t stopped his behavior.

He assumes that you have accepted defeat when you ignore his rolling behavior. And so, this behavior will stay in place.

To put an end to his behavior, you can choose to wait and watch out for the next act he exhibits after rolling. When you notice it, you can then go ahead and convey your message to him rather than yelling.

When you perform this multiple times, your dog will acknowledge that rolling doesn’t work for you. Hence, he’ll stop performing the act.

Take Him to a Vet Doctor

If you think your dog rolls on his back due to a fear disorder, you should consult a vet doctor or an animal behaviorist.

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