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6 Strange Behaviours of Dogs and What they Mean

6 Strange Behaviours of Dogs and What they Mean

Dogs can be odd sometimes!

Just like us humans, they develop habits and traits that make them truly unique – so what do some of their strange behaviours mean?

In today’s blog post we look at 6 of these behaviours and discuss the reasons behind them.

Spinning in Circles

Seeing your dog complete a few excited spins before they eat is quite normal – ours will do this when they know there’s chicken for their tea!

It’s also quite normal to see them spin before going to the toilet or when nestling down at night.

Whilst this type of behaviour can sometimes be harmless if your dog spins in stressful situations, it signals anxiety. It’s always advised to take them to the vet if you’re concerned.

Rolling in ‘smelly’ stuff

We’ve all been there, you’re out for a lovely walk with a reasonably clean dog and all of a sudden you see them rolling around in fox poo!

Arghhh! That means bath time when we get home!

So why do they do it? While there’s no definitive answer, there are a lot of theories, but none of them is certain.

It could be to mask their scent – in the wild, by rolling in their prey’s smell or poop they’ll hide their scent and be able to approach without scaring it away.

Or it’s simply because it smells great… to them!

Male dogs cocking their legs to pee

There are a couple of reasons your male dog cocks his leg to pee. Firstly, the higher the pee, the further the scent will carry through the air.

Secondly, and probably most important to the dog is the status symbol – the higher the pee, the bigger the dog and the more dominant you are!

Plus, if your dog can pee higher than others then it’s less likely to be covered by other, smaller dogs.

Kicking up grass or dirt after going to the toilet?

Also referred to a ‘ground scratching’ this is a trait passed down from when dogs lived in the wild – they would use this behaviour to set a boundary of where not to cross.

For domestic dogs, it’s simply a statement for other dogs or animals to show that they exist in this particular place. There are also two parts to this – the visual mark of the scratches left behind on the ground and also the scent.

Did you know that dogs have sweat glands on their pads and/or sebaceous glands in the fur between their toes?

Meaning, your dog may be leaving their scent in the soil and then widely dispersing them through their vigorous kicking, which provides a signal to other dogs that they’ve been there.

This has also been linked with why dogs spin in circles before going to the toilet – they’re simply marking the territory to warn other dogs.

Excessive licking of surfaces

Whilst natural grooming and cleaning is ok, repetitive, obsessive licking could be a sign of underlying health problems and could even cause some health problems!

Many dogs lick the occasional carpet, but some dogs are such dedicated floor lickers that veterinarians have coined a term — ‘Excessive licking syndrome’.

Licking floors or carpets can happen for a variety of reasons;

  1. Tasty spills – quite simply, you perhaps dripped a bit of gravy onto the floor and they’re not one to miss an opportunity of a tasty lick!
  2. Boredom, anxiety or depression – an anxious dog will often give off negative signs and constantly licking carpets, floors or surfaces around your home could be a sign of a deeper issue.
  3. Gastrointestinal disease or issue – a 2008 study found a strong connection between gastrointestinal disease and excessive licking syndrome.

Eye contact whilst pooping

Have you ever noticed that your dog will keep eye contact with you whilst doing their business?

Do they have no shame!

Whilst this may seem odd to us humans, to dogs it’s completely normal. They are simply trying to make sure you’re on the lookout for predators.

In the wild, predators can take advantage of an animal when in this type of vulnerable position, so a fellow member of the pack would always be on the lookout. Your dog is simply making sure you’re doing your due diligence to protect him from predators.

As they are so many strange behaviours in dogs, we’ll cover more of these later this week.

In the meantime, if you having any questions relating to your dog’s diet, or if you would like to discuss how our food could potentially help your dog, please get in touch.