That Thing You Do: Strange Dog Behaviors Explained
Dogs are amazing, if not a little odd. We take many of their quirky but cute habits for granted. Every once in awhile, though, your pup does something that makes you stop and wonder. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are no strangers to strange dog behaviors. Keep reading to find out what we know about your constant companion.
It’s All About Communication
Many of the things that dogs do are rooted in communication. Since they can’t just talk and tell us when they need or want something, often times body language or actions are their means to an end.
Take, for instance:
Tail wagging — Your dog’s tail contains valuable information for yourself as well as other dogs. A high wag can indicate happiness, while a very erect vertical tail is a more aggressive posture. A lower tail carriage shows insecurity. Even the direction and speed matter! Wagging more to the right is happy, while wagging to the left denotes worry. The faster the wag, the happier the message.
Yawning a lot — Yawns in the canine are often not a sign of needing a nap. A yawning dog is often feeling conflicted, stressed, or anxious.
Bringing you toys or other objects — At times your pooch may just want you to play, however many times offering up valued possessions is their doggy way of saying “I love you”.
Leaning against you — This behavior can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you are just trying to enjoy a Netflix binge, but when a dog leans up against a human, you can consider it a dog version of a big hug.
Other Strange Dog Behaviors Demystified
Not all strange dog behaviors are rooted in communication, though.
Stealing things — Does your dog steal your personal belongings from time to time? Stealing items can be an attention-seeking behavior as well as a sign of boredom. Some dogs that are bred to retrieve things like Labradors and Golden Retrievers may be more prone to this behavior than others.
Letting out a howl — While some canines may be channeling their inner wolf, many pet behaviorists feel that letting out a howl from time to time just feels good.
Chasing their tail — Most dogs chase their tail when they feel playful because it is a good way to let loose some energy and often gains attention from you. Obsessive tail chasing, though, should warrant a call in to us as it may indicate a problem.
Circling before lying down — This is another remnant of your dog’s ancestry. Wolves often circle to create a nice sleeping nest, clearing potentially uncomfortable debris from their bed. When your dog circles a few times before plopping down, they are just making sure that they will be cozy.
No matter how oddly dogs may act, there is no question that their silly behaviors are quite endearing, and can tell us a lot about what our dogs are thinking and feeling. If your pet’s behavior issues are affecting your relationship with your pet, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help with many pet behavior needs and we offer a variety of training opportunities to cater to your pet’s circumstances.
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