15 Strange Things Dogs Do and What They Mean | Pupford
April 26th, 2023
Filed under Lifestyle + Stories
We love our dogs for so many reasons. One of them being how wonderfully weird they are. Sometimes we even swear they’re doing things just to make us laugh.
Is that really the case? While only your dog really knows whether they intend to make you shake your head in amusement at them, there are explanations for some of the bizarre behaviors our pups do.
Today we’re going to take a look at the top 15 strange things dogs do and what they mean. We know you’re dying to know, so let’s get right into it!
15 STRANGE THINGS DOGS DO AND WHY
KICKING THEIR LEGS WHEN BEING SCRATCHED
Have you ever struck “the spot” during a belly rub, sending your dog’s hind legs into a fluttering fury?
This is called the scratch reflex, and it’s your dog’s response to something tickling or irritating their skin that they’re trying to “kick” off. The research is mixed as to whether or not this means your dog is uncomfortable, so maybe move the scratches to another spot just to be sure.
CHASING THEIR TAILS
We can all admit there are only a few things more amusing than watching a puppy discover its tail for the first time, stopping at nothing to catch it. But why do some dogs continue to do this?
Dogs chase their tails for two main reasons: to entertain themselves (especially in puppies who are still figuring out that their tail is attached to their body!) or a compulsive behavior issue. Unless your dog is excessively chasing and biting its tail though, it’s more than most likely the first reason!
Ears back, tail down, legs going a mile a minute – we’re all familiar with the repetitive racing that we affectionately call “the Zoomies.”
are a “feel good” response to being overexcited. Sometimes they can come out of nowhere when your dog gets a burst of energy, but often it happens after a bath, when being let out of the crate, or when a family member comes home.
BITING THEIR TAILS OR LEGS
It’s not uncommon to find your dog with a tail or paw in its mouth, munching away like it’s a chew. It can look really strange, and usually makes us laugh.
It also probably makes you question what possessed them to stick their own body parts in their mouths. Sometimes it’s pure boredom, in which case providing your dog with an engaging enrichment toy or chew will divert them to a more positive outlet.
But sometimes it can mean your , in which case you may want to seek veterinary care – especially if you notice redness, irritation, swelling, or bleeding from the areas.
KICKING THE GROUND AFTER POOPING
Some of our dog’s weirdest behaviors happen during potty trips. For example, how they kick up the ground around them after they poop. Definitely weird.
There are two reasons why dogs do this. First, they may be trying to cover up their mess to avoid stepping on it, which – let’s be honest – is never accurate enough to work.
But the second reason is that it’s an attempt to clearly mark their territory with scent as if their poop wasn’t enough. Dogs’ legs have multiple odoriferous glands. So kicking spreads their scent and lets other dogs know they’ve been there.
One of the less charming – yet no less weird – behaviors some dogs do is eat poop. This habit is known as “coprophagia” and is actually pretty common.
There are a range of reasons why dogs eat poop, from nutritional deficiency to anxiety to boredom. For more details on why dogs eat poop and how to stop it, see our article
STARING AT YOU WHEN POOPING
Last one about poop, we promise!
You may think to yourself “why is my dog choosing now to stare at me?!” Valid question, but if your dog is staring at you when they poop, take it as a compliment.
No, really. Dogs are in a vulnerable position when pooping, so they will instinctively look to you to alert them of impending dangers. In other words, they’re saying “I trust you to keep me safe.”
Whether in the grass or on the kitchen floor, many dogs have a spot that they love to roll around on their backs on.
Some dogs just do this because they find it fun and enjoyable. Depending on the surface it may even feel like a massage or relieve an itch they can’t reach.
But this is also one of those things that dogs do to get our attention, so if you see them looking at you while they’re rolling around, see if they’d like a little extra love.
CIRCLING BEFORE LYING DOWN
Are you convinced your dog holds the world record for most times spinning around their spot before laying down?
This one boils down to wilderness survival instincts – we know, hard to believe when they’re snuggling up on their fleece-lined orthopedic beds.
Spinning around lets them check their full surroundings for any danger, mark the territory where they want to sleep, and check the ground for anything that will poke them or make them uncomfortable. Yes, even on that super cozy pillow.
SNIFFING OTHER DOGS’ BUTTS
This is definitely a strange one that we couldn’t imagine doing as humans… or at least we hope? But dogs sniff each other’s butts upon greeting as a way to get information about the other dog through their scent.
Things like emotional state, gender, diet, and so much more can be uncovered through butt sniffing. That’s because dogs have about than humans do, so they can detect types of scents we can’t.
Weird, but dogs don’t seem to mind.
HOWLING AT “NOTHING”
It’s definitely strange to see your dog howling at seemingly nothing. And yes, it can get pretty disruptive and frustrating if you don’t know the cause.
Unfortunately there are a lot of possible explanations:
- Warning that danger is near
- Happiness when they see a human or animal they have missed
- Physical pain
- Separation anxiety
So it’s best to get to know your dog’s other cues and to figure out why they’re howling.
STICKING THEIR HEADS OUT THE CAR WINDOW
Not all dogs do this, but some love to stick their heads out the window during car rides. How come?
Think of all the sights and sounds your dog experiences during a car ride – it’s a sensory overload that most dogs love! They’ll stick their head out the window to get more feelings and smells and add to that.
As always, make sure your dog is safe and comfortable in the car and properly restrained!
While we want our dogs to eat their veggies, grass doesn’t necessarily count. Plus, it doesn’t have any nutritional value, so why do our dogs choose to eat grass?
This isn’t a super simple answer, so we invite you to read our article for the full breakdown.
DRAGGING THEIR BUTTS ACROSS THE FLOOR
Have you seen your ? While it’s definitely amusing for us, it’s usually a sign of discomfort in your dog.
They could be suffering from intestinal parasites that are irritating their anal glands. It could also be a sign that your dog’s anal glands need to be expressed. Definitely not the most glamorous situation, but it’s best to contact your vet if you see this behavior.
STASHING THEIR TOYS
Some dogs have a “spot” where they stash toys, chews, and even the household items they’re definitely not supposed to have.
Dogs do this for safekeeping, preventing other people and animals from getting at their most prized possessions. Certain breeds like hounds and terriers will take this a step further and dig holes to fully bury their items.
What other wonderfully weird things does your dog do? Tell us in the comments!