10 strange things dogs do, and why

In this article, we list the top 10 strange things dogs do, and why they do them

10 strange things dogs do, and why

Dogs are loyal and intelligent animals that behave in ways we may find unusual or strange. However, there are logical and reasonable explanations for their bizarre behaviors. 

This article will discuss ten strange things dogs do and explain their meaning.

10 strange things dogs do

Why do dogs sniff before they poop?

Dogs have a strong instinct to consider the location of their potty breaks carefully.

Dogs communicate effectively through pooping and urinating. Dogs also use feces to mark their territory.

Your dog’s potty location sends a message to other canines about where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing. It can also tell other dogs if there’s a danger coming.

Dogs read messages from other dogs or animals when they sniff around before pooping. These messages can inform your dog about other dogs in the area, their sexual status, and who has marked the area as theirs.

The scents of other dogs’ waste can also serve as a safe place to go potty. That is why your dog will poop next to another dog’s poop pile on occasion.

While in the pooping position, a dog is at its most vulnerable. Therefore, your dog will want to ensure the location is safe before doing its business.

Of course, some dogs have surface preferences. For example, some dogs prefer dirt or grass rather than glossy services when pooping. 

By taking the time to sniff, they find the safest and best spot to poop.

Why do dogs dig at their bed?

The dogs’ wild ancestors scratched at piles of leaves, dirt, and pine needles to make a comfortable mound of bedding to rest and sleep.

Many domesticated dogs continue to exhibit this behavior by scratching or digging on the floor or in their bed. Your dog may be attempting to construct a cozy nest to sleep.

Bed scratching is also territorial behavior.

Dogs’ paws contain glands that emit a distinct odor when they scratch the bedding or other objects. So although you may only see a tattered blanket, your dog has made it a familiar space that they have personally claimed.

Dogs are most likely to return to a bedding location if they already feel a sense of ownership. When a new pet enters the house or a new bed for your dog is purchased, bed scratching behaviors often become more frequent.

Interestingly enough, bed scratching is also part of canine maternal instinct.

For example, suppose your female dog is getting ready to have puppies. In that case, bed scratching behavior will suddenly increase as she makes a nest for the arrival of her new puppies to keep them safe and warm. 

Why do dogs carry sticks on walks?

Dogs find and carry sticks on walks because it’s a behavior bred over many generations and is now part of the dog’s DNA.

As hunting animals, dogs were bred to retrieve their catch and deliver them to their owner due to their instinctive desire to retrieve objects.

Dogs will also carry sticks because their favorite toys are not available. So sticks can be a perfect toy for any dog to adopt on your travels.

Another reason your dog may find and carry sticks is that they eventually want to settle down somewhere for a chew. 

Sticks are like bones to a dog, and chewing them is satisfying. In addition, it can help relieve sore gums and soothe their teeth, especially in young puppies who are teething.

Why do dogs pee when excited?

Many dog owners mistake excitement urination as a house training problem when they are an involuntary behavioral issue.

When you return home, or a friend arrives at your door, your puppy may dribble or squirt small amounts of urine. This is excitable behavior and can be considered the canine equivalent of being so happy and excited that he peed his pants.

This behavior is typical among young, excitable dogs.

Interestingly enough, dogs also urinate to signify a submission status to an animal or person. 

Dogs in a pack have numerous ways to demonstrate to the leader that they accept their role as the alpha dog, avoiding any potential confrontation. One method is to urinate in dribbles.

Suppose your dog is scared, shocked, suspicious, or anxious about its surroundings or the individuals around it. In that case, they may urinate in response to convey that they are not a threat.

Why do dogs lick their paws?

Dogs typically lick their paws as part of self-grooming. Still, if your dog licks their paws too much or begins licking suddenly and only on one paw, you may want to look at their paws and be sure to thoroughly check the toenails, and nail beds, as well as the tops and bottoms of their feet.

Be sure to look for cuts, bruises, swelling, redness, crusting, bleeding, scabs, broken nails, foreign objects, and anything unusual. 

It’s possible your dog may have irritated a paw by walking on a hot sidewalk, stepping on something sharp, or getting a blister. 

Parasite infections or food allergies can also cause excessive paw licking.

Why do dogs shake their toys?

Wolves, the dog’s wild ancestors, would grab prey in their mouths and shake aggressively from side to side until it died. The faster you kill, the faster you’ll be able to eat.

As your dog shakes their toy, they mimic the behavior used by wolves to kill small prey. But this does not signify an aggressive dog.

Even though their origins are hunting for survival, most canines enjoy shaking their toys for fun.

Today’s dogs cannot hunt birds or rodents, so they use what’s left of their predatory instincts for fun instead. It’s one of the reasons golden retrievers are so good at fetching balls. So naturally, your pet will shake its stuffed animal like the predator it once was.

Dogs may also shake toys out of boredom or frustration, most common in dogs who are left alone for long periods or have severe separation anxiety.

Why do dogs sigh?

Dogs may cite signal contentment after a rewarding action like when they have had their playtime or eaten their favorite meal.

Your dog is content and happy with the current situation and is entering a deeper state of relaxation.

Interestingly enough, dogs also decide to signal the exhaustion of their efforts when they are disappointed, like when they’ve begged for food throughout dinner time without a payoff. This sigh means that your dog has made several failed attempts and is now giving up.

Your dog concedes defeat and is disappointed. 

Why does my dog eat poop?

Dogs, like you, want clean places to play and live, and the most obvious way to rid the environment of waste is to eat it.

When a mother gives birth to puppies, they have no idea how to use the bathroom, therefore to keep their new home clean, the mother will eat the puppies’ feces.

It’s nature’s way of keeping the puppies free from disease. A mother’s way of protecting her young by eating fecal droppings is also a way of obtaining essential nutrients.

While we may view poop as dangerous, it’s not as scary as we think. Eating poop from sick animals can be an issue as it contains viruses, parasites, and bacteria. However, healthy poop often contains harmless bacteria, water, and undigested food.

Poop can be nutritious and help reset the gut bacteria to healthy levels. 

You’ve probably noticed that dogs find horse manure and goose droppings particularly appealing. This is because the manure of herbivores is full of enzymes and partially digested protein, which can benefit a dog’s digestive system.

If your dog is eating poop, some nutrients might be missing from their diet. Sometimes switching to a healthier dog food diet is the best way to fix a stool eating problem.

Some dogs may also start eating their poop because of environmental stress or anxiety.

According to studies, dogs kept alone in kennels or basements are more likely to eat poop than dogs who live close to their owners.

Why do dogs run away?

Dogs are inquisitive creatures who enjoy nothing more than sniffing around, exploring, and being active.

Dogs may go for a walk around the neighborhood when alone in the yard and have nothing else to do.

In an attempt to respond to nature’s call, dogs instinctively run away. However, the reproductive drive is strong, and intact male canines, in particular, are compelled to wander in pursuit of a partner.

Natural desires can overcome even the most well-behaved, well-trained dog.

If your dog picks up a whiff from your neighbor’s unspayed dog on the sidewalk, the impulse to mate could take them straight through the fence and down the road.

Your dog may also run away because they want to chase down prey. Dogs have exceptional hearing, and your dog could be chasing a nearby squirrel or stray cat that they have seen or heard.

But, of course, many dogs get spooked by sudden loud noises like fireworks, thunderstorms, or even a house party. Fear can cause any well-behaved dog to get away to protect itself suddenly. 

Why do dogs throw up?

A dog may throw up simply because he’s eaten something disagreeable or gobbled down too much food too fast.

Dogs may also throw up because of food allergies, a sudden change in their diet, ingestion of too much fatty or buttery food, or even motion sickness due to riding in a car. 

Still, vomiting can also indicate something far more severe. For example, your dog may have swallowed a toxic substance or may suffer from a condition requiring immediate medical attention.

While an occasional isolated bout of vomiting may not be of concern, frequent or chronic vomiting can signify a more severe condition.

Therefore, a vet visit is necessary if your dog’s vomiting is not an isolated incident.

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Hi, I'm Chris, the author, and owner of SmallDogOwner.com

When my three miniature dachshunds aren't running me ragged, I'm writing articles that answer the questions I've had since becoming a dog Dad.