Your Dog’s Quirky Behaviors Explained

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Everyone’s best friend – dogs! They are great partners to have, whether you have them for security, work, or just as pets, you’re bound to build a strong bond with them because of their amazing personalities. Apart from the fact that dogs can be quite funny, they may also display some weird behavior, make weird faces, or take awkward poses which an average dog owner might not understand. 

If you own a dog, you haver certainly witnessed some weird dog behavior that you just can’t explain. Sometimes, they try to hide it from you, and other times they do it repeatedly but you just can’t place your finger on what these gestures mean. Anyway, don’t fret. Your dog is not possessed by some spirit from Valhalla, neither is it sick. These weird behaviors occur in almost every dog, so there are millions of other dog owners that are just as confused as you are. Always remember that no matter how weird these behaviors may seem, they actually mean something. Yes, dogs have ways of communicating clearly with their owners, but hey, they are dogs- nobody truly knows what’s going on in their fluffy heads. 

The aim of this article is to help you understand the meanings of some weird dog behaviors, so let’s go!

Here are some quirky dog behaviors, and what they mean:


Whether your dog is pretending to dig or is actually doing some digging, there are simple explanations to it. Digging is pretty normal for dogs, it is part of their nature, so don’t be surprised when your dog starts digging. Dogs dig for a couple of reasons; to hide something, catch a prey, or to create a cool spot to lie during a hot day. Dogs may also start digging in response to a particular smell in that particular area.  


When your dog leans against you, they might be telling you that they are anxious or scared to do something or go to a particular place. They might also exhibit this behavior when they do not feel comfortable with the people in the environment, or simply just want your attention. Dogs also lean as a sign of affection and closeness, and they normally expect you to hug, pat or show some type of affection in return. 


So you take your dog on a walk, and it starts bouncing everywhere in excitement, for God knows why. You decide to take a closer look at the mockingbirds sitting on the trees, and while you were lost in the beautiful sight for about 5 seconds your dog wanders off, finds a dump of smelly stuff like poo, fish, or garbage and rolls in it. Your dog walks back to you with a happy smile on his face, but the stench that comes from him sends you nuts. There’s a simple explanation for this: Rolling in smelly stuff is like an evolutionary hangover from their previous lives as predators. It is an instinctive behavior that can be traced to the days where their ancestors rolled in the poo of other animals to camouflage their identities. In simple terms, your dog is reliving the good ol’ days. 


What do you do when you meet up with your homie? You probably go like “Hey, what’s up?” then shake hands or hug, or do both. Well, that is the equivalent of dogs sniffing another dog’s behind. It’s a way of greeting and getting to know more about the other dogs like their gender, diet, reproductive status, and other essential dog stuff. Their ability to get this load of information lies in the fact that they have a really strong sense of smell, about 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours. 


Well, ask yourself, “Why do I yawn?” Sometimes, you yawn as a result of boredom, anticipation, or exhaustion, and it’s the same with your dog. Sometimes, dogs also yawn as a sign of agitation and excitement, especially if it is about to do something fun. Other times, however, a yawn is just a yawn- nothing more, nothing less, so don’t read too much meaning into it.


Sometimes, when you talk in front of your dog, he looks at you and tilts his head. Why? The reason is because he is trying to get a better view/perspective of your mouth, so that he can fully understand what you’re talking about, or at least watch you speak and read your expressions. The action is further proof that your dog cares about what you say, and wants to be in the loop of events. 


You might want to take things a little bit serious when your dog starts howling, because it usually doesn’t signify anything good. Dogs generally howl to call for help, indicate that they are hurt and in pain, or to signify danger. Other times, they may howl in response to the sounds of other dogs, or to other high-pitched sounds such as music or sirens. Howling is also a territorial play by dogs to announce their presence in a particular area. 


Does your dog circle and scratch the bedding or floor before laying down for a nap? Well, it’s just another ancestral hangover from the periods when your dog’s ancestors lived in the wild. Circling helps your dog choose the perfect spot to sleep, and scratching might be a means of marking his territory- even though no one really wants to steal the spot from him. Incessant circling and scratching, however, might be a sign that your dog is in some pain or is suffering from a health condition, probably arthritis. 


If your dog keeps one paw up at any moment, understand that he might be experiencing an episode of fear or insecurity. He is simply telling you that he doesn’t know what to do next and is asking for your help or protection. Your dog raising a paw up might also mean he’s trying to focus and catch the scent of something far away. When your dog does this, just give him his space and watch him pinpoint the location of a particular smell seconds later. 


This goes without saying, but dogs really love food. So, if you give them a good meal, you can be sure to get some affection and appreciation through hugs and cuddles after the meal. If your dog cuddles with you after eating, it is a sign that he loves and cherishes you, not only because of the food you’ve just fed him, but because you’re an amazing owner. Also, he might be looking for a spot to relax and chill after eating, and right by your side is usually his best option. 


This can be quite annoying, especially if the object in question is something very valuable. However, your dog doesn’t know- all he probably wants to do is to clean his teeth after eating or just play with something. It signifies boredom and a need to do something exciting. For puppies, chewing on stuff might be a way to deal with the pain associated with growing teeth at that stage- we see it in babies too. 


Dogs have this adorable tendency to sit on your feet, and just look at you directly in the eye. Moments like that can be quite emotional, and to them, it is a show of love, affection, and connection. They don’t want to stay far away from you, but they don’t want to make you feel too uncomfortable, so they just sit or lay on your feet instead. Cute right? In other cases, it might signify that your dog feels safe around you, which is a good thing. 

Understanding certain behaviors that your dog may display is vital to building a long-lasting relationship between you two. So keep an eye out for these behaviors, and act accordingly. 


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