Any dog owner knows each dog has their own little quirks and funny habits. From howling at sirens to chasing their tails, here’s what some of those behaviours might mean.
Strange dog behaviours, explained
1. Chasing their tail. There’s no other reason for this one other than it’s just fun! It’s simply a way for your pup to expend some energy. However, in some cases, it could indicate a medical issue like anal gland problems or fleas. If your dog isn’t distracted by something else or if you suspect he has a medical condition, make an appointment with your vet.
2. Cocking their head at you. There’s probably nothing cuter than when you ask your dog a question, and she tilts her head as if she’s actually contemplating the answer. The reason why dogs tilt their heads this way isn’t clear but some behaviourists speculate they may be trying to make sense of what you’re saying or trying to pick out words like “walk” or “car ride” to figure out if what you’re saying will lead to something rewarding for them.
3. Eating poop. One of the more disgusting behaviours your dog may exhibit, there are a few reasons why he may do this. He may be hungry or he may just like the smell and taste (gross!). It’s also possible he may be missing some key ingredients in his diet so it’s probably a good idea to discuss it with your vet. If your dog has a habit of doing this, you may want to be diligent about cleaning up after him and consider switching to a covered litterbox if he’s fond of exploring the cat’s bathroom too.
4. Lots of licking. Excessive licking or “kisses” are his way of showing you affection. It’s true, some dogs are bigger lickers than others, but your dog has also probably figured out that licking you gets your attention. Some researchers say licking is a sensory tool for dogs, similar to reaching out and touching something. Because mothers lick their puppies for grooming and social reasons, it could also be something ingrained in them from puppyhood.
5. Howling. This behaviour is likely a remnant passed on from dogs’ ancestral cousins, wolves. Wolves tend to howl to send messages to pack members and to enforce rank. Some behaviourists think howling is necessary and rewarding for dogs.
6. Walking in circles before lying down. No matter how many times your dog walks around in a circle, it won’t change the comfort of his resting spot. However, behaviourists believe this can be attributed to the practice of walking around on a spot to pat down leaves, grass or other debris and creating a comfortable place to rest.
7. Vigorously shakes his toys. It may seem a little morbid, but when your dog is thrashing his stuffed toy back and forth, he’s actually activating one of his primal instincts: killing prey. Don’t worry though, when it comes to toys, it’s just innocent play behaviour.
8. Sniffing other dogs’ butts. A dog’s ability to smell is 10,000 times stronger than that of humans and well, there’s a definite aroma here. Simply put, this behaviour is a dog’s way of saying, “Hello, nice to meet you.”