5 Strange Dog Behaviors (and the Explanations Behind Them)

As soon as you begin your life as a dog parent, the first thing you’ll notice is that your dog can sometimes do the darndest things.

These quirky behaviors of theirs may make you scratch your head and ask yourself: “why exactly does my dog do that?”

To put it simply, dogs and humans behave differently because of their natural predispositions as two different species. Something that you find weird through a human lens may be perfectly natural to your pup.

The important thing is to understand the rationale behind their behavior and account for it in your quest to raise a happy, healthy dog.

In that vein, here are the explanations behind five strange dog behaviors and what you should do about them:

5 Strange Dog Behaviors

Digging on the Floor

You may already know that it’s instinctual for dogs to try to dig up the ground, and you likely wouldn’t bat an eyelash if they were doing so in your backyard. But why does your dog attempt to dig on your concrete or wooden flooring in the absence of movable dirt?

Science attributes this behavior to two common reasons: your dog may want to expend some pent-up energy, or they may want to ensure that they can curl up somewhere warm and comfortable. 

In either case, it won’t be hard to respond as their human caretaker. If it seems like they’re digging for the first reason, play with them or take them for a walk so that they can have a healthy outlet for their energy.
If it’s for the second reason—and if your floor does indeed seem cold and hard—keep your dog comfy with items like a dog bed, dog blanket, and fully custom plush dog toys.

Lifting Their Hind Legs When They Pee

You may have noticed that your dog likes to lift their hind leg whenever they want to relieve themselves. Much like the other items on this list, there’s some scientific basis to this behavior.

Dogs pee not only to relieve their bladders, but also to mark their territory in front of other dogs.

The high angle ensures that your dog can leave their scent on a taller vertical surface, where it will linger for a longer period. It will also give other dogs the olfactory impression that your pooch is more massive than they actually are, and that they shouldn’t be messed with.

This isn’t a very problematic behavior per se, and all you need to do is watch out for your dog when they pee. Work on training your dog to relieve themselves at the right spots, like outdoors or on an indoor pee pad.

Sniffing Other Dogs’ Butts

Speaking of olfactory senses, dogs also use them when they’re meeting other dogs. That explains why your dog goes straight for the butt when they meet another dog for the first time.

Dogs use their sense of smell to profile each other and to figure things out about each other, such as whether they’re in heat. 

Again, this is normal behavior and nothing to be worried about. Simply let your dog greet another dog with a routine butt sniff when they’re being introduced to one another.

It’s more important to pay attention to what happens after that. It’s a good sign if they get friendly or if they leave each other alone, but you and the other human involved should act quickly if either dog becomes aggressive or overly forward in their actions.

Munching on Grass

Contrary to what you might have heard about this habit, dogs don’t eat grass to puke or to make up for something they’re missing in their diet. They may just like the taste of grass because it’s sweet and refreshing to them.

The important thing is to make sure that they don’t ingest harmful things along with the grass, like rocks, twigs, or poisonous mushrooms. Be extra vigilant when you’re taking your dog out for walks on the street or in a public park, and check their mouths for foreign matter from time to time. 

Watching You on the Throne

Lastly, it may puzzle you when your dog follows you to the bathroom and stays near you when you’re on the throne.

A common theory is that domesticated dogs’ canine ancestors protected members of their pack whenever the latter relieved themselves, which is when they were at their most vulnerable to attack.

Your dog may feel this protective instinct with you and may therefore want to make sure that you’re extra safe when you’re taking a dump.

Or, it may simply be that they’re clingy and that they don’t mind being around you even when you’re on the toilet. Whatever the reason may be, respond to this behavior as you see fit, especially if you’d still like a little more privacy when you’re in your bathroom.

Life with a dog may be strange sometimes, but it’s also wonderful and enlightening in its own way. Which of these weird habits is your own dog prone to?

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