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The Science Behind Funny and Weird Dog Behavior

Like humans, dogs go through different moods depending on the moment and the situation they witness. Sadness, joy, fear, or restlessness, are some of the feelings we share with our pets, and they tend to correspond accordingly. Learn the science behind about common funny and weird dog behavior.

 

 

Understanding the behavior of our dog is essential to training. Knowing their body language, gestures, and attitudes can help us communicate with them and react accordingly.

Some of weird dog behaviors may be funny — however, some behaviors can hide their pain or discomfort. Let’s dig deep to discover the reasons behind all those nutty behaviors, supported by science.

1. Why does my dog eat grass?

Let’s start this off easy. “Why do dogs eat grass?” is probably the most often question asked about weird dog behavior. Fortunately, it’s extremely common and for the most part harmless.

Some dogs complement their diet with the nutrients which are contained in plants while others happily munch on the grass as they love the taste. However, most of the time dogs eat leafy greens to help with an upset stomach; however, if this is repeated often, then it’s time to visit your veterinarian. Generally, the only concern may be if the plants have been treated with pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals.

 

2. Why does my dog spin around before laying down?

 

 

We’ve all seen it in cartoons, movies or in your own home. Dogs walk in a circle two or three times, scratch a little, and lie down.

Of course, your dog is trying to make his or her space as comfortable as possible, similar to how you may fluff a pillow. But why do they all act the same way? Wolves perform the same 360 degree turns to, in addition to seeking comfort, ensure that there is no danger in any direction.

 

3. Why does my dog eat poop?

The scientific name given to this super gross habit is coprophagia. The word is derived from the Greek κόπρος copros, “feces” and φαγεῖν phagein, “to eat”. Coprophagy refers to many kinds of feces-eating, including eating feces of other species (heterospecifics), of other dogs (allocoprophagy), or one’s own poops (autocoprophagy). Yum!

Stool eating has both behavioral and physiological reasons; science says that eating fecal dropping is a normal way of obtaining key nutrients due to deficiencies. However, there’s often more to it.

On the most simplistic end of the poop eating spectrum, your dog may smell certain scents in feces and wonder what they taste like.

Feeding your dog a raw diet has lots of benefits, and those who choose to feed their dogs this way are often very evangelical about it, praising it’s nutrition and history. However, a raw diet is often so tasty and nutritionally dense it’s delicious the second or third time around too.

On the more complex side, boredom, malnutrition, digestive problems and mimicking other pets can be at the root of your dog’s coprophagia. If your dog exhibits this weird dog behavior routinely, please consult your veterinarian.

 

4. Why does my dog chase it’s tail?

 

It might seem harmless and weird that your furry pal is busy chasing its tail, but figuring out why is important. While your dog may be doing this as a form of play, there are some other serious reasons you should get to the bottom (so to speak) of this.

First, be sure to have your dog checked for treatable problems. Parasites, fleas or worms may be causing itching or pain. Flea infestations are notoriously difficult to eliminate without professional help, but not impossible to do as long as you stay on top of flea management and remain persistent with using the flea control methods.

Check your dog’s butt: his or her anal glands may be swollen and need to be expressed.

Secondly, your dog may have OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. This can happen for several reasons. If a dog has an underlying medical issue that causes this behavior and it is left untreated for a while, your dog could develop tail-chasing as a comforting habit even after the medical issue is gone.

Studies show that tail-chasing can also be influenced by factors such as diet, genes or puppyhood experiences. Research has found that dogs that take vitamins with food are less likely to have this behavior. If your dog chases its tail obsessively, and the situation becomes uncontrollable, consult your veterinarian.

 

5. Why does my dog take food or treats into another room or area?

Have you ever given a dog a treat only to see them take it into another room or area away from you?

When wild dogs hunt, submissive members of the pack often take pieces of food to another site so they don’t have to fight with others so they can feed more calmly.

 

6. Why does my dog shake his hind leg with belly scratches?

This adorable weird dog behavior is classic dog. It’s an absolutely normal unconditioned reflex, a completely involuntary response known as a scratch reflex.

In the wild, when something tickles or irritates a dog’s belly, nerve endings send a signal that causes a hind leg or both to move involuntarily to remove whatever insect or burr is bothering them. Belly rubs are fun and loving, but the dog’s reaction is so baked in it remains the same.

 

7. Why does my dog tilt its head when they’re confused?

When a dog is confused, they’ll often tilt their heads one way or another. Sure, it’s adorable, but there’s a reason. When a dog is confused, they do what you would do: they try to get more information. Tilting their head may allow more sound to be collected by their ears, improving the sound quality.

8. Why does my dog act hyper, sad or just weird after taking a bath?

This is a complex issue and there could be a lot of reasons, depending on your dog’s history and personality. Your dog’s post-bath behavior could have several explanations including them simply being uncomfortable being wet. But a more interesting explanation could be that they’re trying get their scent back. The best part of giving your dog a bath is how fresh and clean they smell afterwords. They don’t smell like, well, dogs. While that’s great for you it can be confusing to the dog. Sometimes your dog may act sad their scent is gone or get “the zoomies” in an effort to recapture their smell.

However, don’t worry. Your dog will soon be back to smelling like a dog and post-bath behavior only lasts a short while!

 

Learn more about voluntary, community-defined training and behavior standards for handlers and their Service Dogs at USSDR.org

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