Why do dogs love their trips out with us so much that they work out a whole list of clues that they may be about to depart on one? Why does the promise of going out virtually anywhere excite most dogs? Because it provides them with opportunities that they highly value and are fun such as sniffing, playing, peeing, pooing, exploring , eating an array of gorgeous other poo, meets and greets with other dogs, marking opportunities to leave their scent. These are ALL activities that are not easily or not at all available at home. it is thought also that for domestic dogs outings may be particularly exciting because unlike historically where dogs were much more free ranging, domestic dogs on the whole only go out when they are taken by their family. Their human family might take them to highly enriching environments they rarely go to such as forests ( the ultimate smell pit for some dogs), beach, lakes, rivers, picnics, doggie play areas where again there are exciting stimuli present in these areas they don't encounter at home.
It is often a complete mystery to us owners that we can visit an area again and again but every time our dogs demonstrates the same urgency to sniff, run, roll and socialise as on every previous visit. The opportunity to engage in these activities is obviously highly reinforcing for them, although some of them baffle us humans. Sniffing the neighbour's lawn 100 times a week in the same area must surely be boring!!
So, it might come to us as a light bulb moment that it is not actually the grass that is so enticing but in a world that is mostly smells for dogs, rolling might be a way for your dog to spread it's odours for others to pick up, or to release odours held in that vegetation to collect information about another canine's activities.. Or your dog may love to explore the tactile nature of different grass varieties and hence explores seven different neighbour's lawns in your street. Some dogs do this and we all know one!
It is definitely worth a ponder on the ways your dog finds certain activities inherently rewarding and why this may be so. We also need to accept that sometimes we may never truly understand why this is the case. But it can help and explain some of the troublesome behaviours dogs display as well. Sledding breeds such as Huskies, were bred to run and pull, so for them running and pulling may be innately rewarding. Terriers might find hunting around in bushes for small animals innately rewarding , whilst Border Collies and other herding breeds can find chasing moving objects innately rewarding. Dalmatians and Boxers were expected to be engaged in active pursuits for much of the day on a regular basis.
Many dog breeds have historically had jobs that required long periods of intense activities but today's dogs who live with us, have to adapt to less exercise in active pursuits for much of the day that they may have bred for.. Many do and can adapt to less exercise but ignoring their activity history is at our peril. So when you pick up that lead, or use WALK , the promise of performing an activity they were bred to do results in the zoomies you know WHY!!!!!