Dogs are lovable, loyal, and funny creatures. They enjoy going for walks, playing fetch, and earning dog treats by responding to commands. But dogs also have a tendency to do some strange things. Here are 7 weird weird dog behaviors and the reasons why they do them!
Shake Their Leg When You Rub Their Belly
Among the funniest things pets do, a dog's leg shaking or kicking along with a belly rub is high on the list. As it turns out, there is a reason that this sudden weird dog behavior happens when you hit the right spot. Apparently, this region of the dog's belly has a scratch reflex similar to a knee-jerk reflex in humans.
When you rub or scratch in the trigger spot, the dog involuntarily shakes or kicks. While the action is cute and funny, it is essentially your dog's nervous system sending to signals to attempt to get you to stop, so you may not want to scratch in that spot for too long.
Chase Their Tails
Nearly everyone has had a good chuckle at a dog chasing its own tail. Puppies often run after their own hindquarters because of the novelty of catching sight of their tail. Dogs may also chase their tails for attention or out of boredom, as a way to play and burn off energy while also earning laughs from you.
Occasionally, chasing the tail can be a sign of a medical problem, such as fleas, or a behavioral concern, particularly a compulsive disorder. If the tail chasing seems more serious than just a weird and occasional habit, it may be worth consulting your veterinarian.
Eat Their Own Poo
While eating poop is more common in puppies, this can be seen in dogs of all ages. Though these weird dog habits are gross to humans, they do serve some innate purposes for your pet. For puppies, this behavior is thought to be mimicked from the mother licking them to stimulate elimination and to clean them, and usually stops around 9 months. In older domestic dogs, however, eating poop can be a sign of nutritional deficiency or stress.
If your dog is eating poop, you may want to consult with your veterinarian to rule out issues such as diet, parasites, or more serious diseases. If everything checks out okay, consider potential triggers for stress in your dog's environment. Dogs that are often isolated or spend a lot of time in confined spaces may eat their poop as a response to stress.
Some dogs also do it as an attention seeking behavior. While this weird behavior is not necessarily harmful to the dog, it is important to ensure there is nothing more serious going on with your pet.
While not quite as weird as eating poop, a dog's habit of licking people is fairly strange. It can also be an unwelcome gesture for some people, which is not surprising given a dog's oral habits. But one sweet reason that your dog may lick you is because of his affection for you. Similar to a peck on the cheek, your dog's lick is his version of a kiss. It is also the way that mothers and pups communicate early on, and that remains ingrained in the habits and instincts of your dog.
Additionally, dogs like the taste of your salty skin, and licking you can reduce stress for them. So, while it may be weird for humans, it is a fairly innocuous and beneficial dog behavior.
One of the weirdest sounds your dog can make is a reverse sneeze. It can actually be a little concerning the first time you watch or hear your dog sneeze in this way. The dog inhales air a few times and makes a strange snorting sound. However, a reverse sneeze is not unlike a regular sneeze in that it is a dog's way of trying to force out an irritant in the throat or nose.
Occasional episodes of reverse sneezing are not harmful to your pet. However, if the reverse sneezing is excessive, or if there are issues with your dog or puppy breathing fast, you should get your pet checked out by a veterinarian.
Spin Around Before They Lay Down
A dog spinning in circles before they settle in to sleep is an odd behavior. However, it's roots are in the past when dogs didn't live a domesticated life with beds, blankets and pillows. Long ago, the ancestors of your pet would have to prepare beds for themselves. By walking in circles to tamp down the grass; the dogs of olden days would be able to essentially create a nest for themselves.
The spinning would also create a disturbance to clear out any creatures who might be lurking in the dog's resting place. Though this deeply rooted instinct seems strange to humans with domesticated dogs, it makes sense in the historical context.
Sit on You
Most dog owners can recount a time that their furry pet has perched on top of them. There are many reasons why your dog may feel the sudden urge to plop into your lap. Similar to licking, this may be your dog's way of showing you affection.
Some dogs prefer to be close to you, and see this as a form of bonding with you. If the dog rests on you, or attempts to be playful, he is probably just looking to hang out and cuddle. However, sitting on you can sometimes be a way of asserting dominance, either over you or another animal or person in the house.
If the dog is barking or growling, this could be his intent. If it is a frequent behavior, be sure to contact your veterinarian for tips on extinguishing the behavior.
All dogs exhibit some of these weird behaviors and habits. While they occasionally can be a sign of a bigger issue, most are harmless and can be pretty funny to observe.