Strange Behaviour In Dogs
Dogs exhibit a wide range of behaviours, and some of them can seem odd or quirky to us humans. Here, we take a look at some strange behaviour in dogs and reveal why it happens. Some odd behaviour is natural and instinctive, some is just the dogs personality, but occasionally it can be down to medical problems.
So it’s important to know what these strange behaviours mean.
Here are some unusual or peculiar dog behaviors and possible explanations for them:
- Tail Chasing: Some dogs chase their tails in circles. While it can be entertaining to watch, it may also indicate boredom, anxiety, or a medical issue. If it becomes excessive, consult a vet.
- Barking at Inanimate Objects: Dogs sometimes bark at things like vacuum cleaners, brooms, or even their own reflection. This behavior can stem from fear, territorial instincts, or simply confusion.
- Eating Grass: Dogs often eat grass, which can be normal behavior. Some do it to induce vomiting when they have an upset stomach, while others may just enjoy the taste or texture of grass.
- Sniffing Butts: Dogs use scent as a way to communicate with each other. Sniffing another dog’s rear end is their way of gathering information about the other dog’s gender, health, and emotional state.
- Humping: Dogs may hump other dogs, objects, or even people. It’s not necessarily a sexual behavior; it can be a sign of excitement, dominance, or just a way to relieve stress.
- Circling Before Lying Down: Dogs often circle before settling down to sleep or rest. This behavior is thought to be instinctual, as wild dogs in the past would circle to create a comfortable and safe spot to sleep.
- Zoomies: Dogs sometimes experience bursts of seemingly uncontrolled energy, running around in circles or darting back and forth. These “zoomies” are usually just a way for dogs to release pent-up energy or excitement.
- Head Tilt: Dogs may tilt their heads when you talk to them. This could be an effort to better understand your vocal cues or simply a cute and endearing expression.
- Digging Holes: Dogs often dig holes in the yard, which can be a result of instinctual behavior (digging for prey or creating a den) or just a way to stay cool in hot weather.
- Licking: Excessive licking, such as licking their paws or your face, can indicate various things, including allergies, boredom, or anxiety.
- Howling: Some dogs howl in response to sirens, music, or certain sounds. It could be their way of joining in or communicating with the noise.
- Burying Objects: Dogs may bury toys, bones, or food. This behavior has roots in their wild ancestors who buried food to save it for later. It can also be a sign of possession or a comforting ritual.
- Staring: Dogs may stare at their owners or other animals. While it can be a sign of affection, it can also be a way of asserting dominance or seeking attention.
- Rolling in Smelly Substances: Dogs may roll in foul-smelling substances, like dead animals or feces. This behavior is believed to be a leftover instinct from their wild ancestors, who would do this to mask their own scent while hunting.
- Selective Hearing: Some dogs seem to have selective hearing and may not respond to commands when they’re not in the mood. This behavior often depends on the dog’s training and temperament.
- Chewing Inanimate Objects: Dogs have a natural instinct to chew, but sometimes they chew on objects that are not meant for them, like furniture, shoes, or even walls. This behavior can be due to teething, anxiety, or boredom.
- Barking at Nothing: Dogs may bark at seemingly invisible or nonexistent threats. This behavior could be due to hearing sounds that humans cannot detect, like distant sirens or high-frequency noises, or it might be related to anxiety or territorial instincts.
- Licking or Nipping Their Paws: Excessive licking or nipping at their paws can be a sign of allergies, skin irritations, or anxiety. It’s essential to address this behaviour to prevent skin problems.
- Scooting on Their Rear: Dogs may scoot their rear ends along the ground, often due to discomfort caused by anal gland issues or irritation in the anal area.
- Shadow Chasing: Some dogs chase shadows or light reflections, such as those from a flashlight or laser pointer. While it can be entertaining for both dogs and owners, it’s essential to avoid shining lights directly into a dog’s eyes as it can be harmful.
- Barking at the TV or Mirror: Dogs may bark at their own reflection in a mirror or at animals or movements on the television screen. They might perceive these images as threats or prey.
- Pawing at Water Bowls: Dogs may paw at their water bowl before drinking, which could be a way of testing the water’s depth or just a playful behavior.
- Sleep Twitching or “Running” in Their Sleep: Dogs often exhibit rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, during which they might twitch, paddle their legs, or even make noises. This is normal and likely indicates they’re dreaming.
- Selective Eating: Dogs sometimes pick and choose their food, leaving certain pieces or ingredients behind. This behavior can be related to taste preferences, but it’s essential to ensure their overall diet is balanced.
- Following You to the Bathroom: Many dogs follow their owners into the bathroom. This behavior may be due to their strong attachment to you or curiosity about your activities.
- Gulping Food: Some dogs eat their food incredibly quickly, almost inhaling it. This behavior can lead to digestive issues or choking. Slow-feed bowls or puzzle feeders can help slow them down.
- Sneezing During Play: Dogs may sneeze while playing to signal that their behavior is friendly and not aggressive. It’s a way of diffusing tension during play.
- Licking Human Faces: Dogs may lick human faces as a sign of affection or to gather information about their owner’s emotional state (tears, sweat, etc.).
- Jumping Up on People: While not unusual, jumping up can be seen as odd or unwanted behavior. Dogs often jump to greet people, but it’s important to train them to have better manners.
Remember that while these strange behaviors in dogs may seem odd to us, they are usually quite normal for dogs. However, if you notice any sudden or extreme changes in your dog’s behavior, it’s a good idea to consult with a vet to rule out any underlying health issues or concerns.