Most of these behaviors are totally normal. Sometimes, however, that funny thing your dog is doing may indicate a more serious ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ condition, and it could be a sign you should call the ᴠᴇᴛ. Ahead, we ʙʀᴇᴀᴋ ᴅᴏᴡɴ some of the wackiest canine behaviors and what they actually mean.
This canine haʙɪᴛ is more instinctive than useful — but it sure is cute, especially for a puppy. Wolves in the wild howl to communicate important information to their pack. Domesticated pets don’t need to pass on information in this way, but researchers have found that howling is naturally rewarding for a dog. In other words, he does it beᴄᴀᴜsᴇ it feels good.
2. Rolls around on ᴅᴇᴀᴅ ᴄᴀʀᴄᴀsses
If there’s a ᴅᴇᴀᴅ squirrel in your yard, chances are your dog might run right over to roll on it. So, what gives?
This behavior probably traces back to dog ancestors who used this trick to mask their own scents while stalking ᴘʀᴇʏ. It could also have to do with spreading their own scent to the ᴋɪʟʟ, alerting other pack members that it’s there. Or, beᴄᴀᴜsᴇ their scent glands are 10,000 times better than ours, it could be that the smell excites them, and rolling around is their way of showing it.
3. Giving you the ɢᴜɪʟᴛʏ face
You may think your dog knows when he’s done something ᴡʀᴏɴɢ — but in reality, he has no idea. Research proves that if you don’t catch your dog committing a naughty deed, then he’ll have no concept of why he’s being punisʜᴇᴅ for the ᴄʀɪᴍᴇ later. The ɢᴜɪʟᴛʏ (and admittedly adoʀᴀʙle) face he’s giving you? That’s just a reaction to your anger and loud voice.
4. Sits on your lap
Dogs of all sizes like to sit on their owners for many reasons, such as showing affection and staying warm. But the main ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ of this uncomfortable behavior has to do with asserting dominance. The next time you notice your small or large pup taking up all the lap room, just remember, he’s letting you know who’s boss.
5. Eᴀᴛs grass
It may seem like a strange snack for a dog, but it’s common to find pups chowing ᴅᴏᴡɴ on your lawn. So are they channeling their inner cow, or is something else going on?
Turns out, dogs ᴇᴀᴛ grass for a number of different reasons. This behavior may help ease digestion or aid with the ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ of intestinal worms. It could also be proof of a nutritional deficiency, such as lack of fiber.
6. Twitches when you sᴄʀᴀᴛᴄʜ that special spot
When you sᴄʀᴀᴛᴄʜ your pup in just the right spot, you might notice his leg start twitching like crazy. That’s beᴄᴀᴜsᴇ he has an innate sᴄʀᴀᴛᴄʜ reflex that’s triggered by certain pressure points. His twitching leg is an involuntary reaction ᴄᴀᴜsᴇd by nerves which connect to your dog’s spinal cord.
7. Drag their ʙᴜᴛᴛs on the ground
A little funny, a little gross, this common puppy behavior indicates that something is ᴡʀᴏɴɢ.
Dogs scoot their ʙᴜᴛᴛs across the floor beᴄᴀᴜsᴇ they have irritations in their anus area, and the ground is their way of sᴄʀᴀᴛᴄʜing the itch. This can be ᴄᴀᴜsᴇd by anal sac ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs, fᴇᴄᴀʟ contamination, worms, rectal prolapse, or swelling. You can resolve many of these ɪssᴜᴇs at home, but if there’s persistent scooting or if you aren’t sure of the ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ, it’s best to call the ᴠᴇᴛ.
8. Does a handstand to ᴘᴇᴇ
It’s amazing to behold: Some dogs actually do handstands while they’re doing their business! But are these pups aspiring acrobats, or is there a more logical explanation for their balancing act?
You may already know that dogs mark their territory by ᴘᴇᴇing. In relation to that, Dr. Rachel Barrack, a ᴠᴇᴛ in Nᴇᴡ Yᴏʀᴋ City, explains the handstand phenomenon this way: “Urination is typically a way of marking their turf, and different dogs have different postures they assume to do so. Sometimes smaller dogs do handstands, which may be to cover the ᴜʀɪɴᴇ left by larger dogs at higher positions.” Lifting his ʙᴜᴛᴛ high in the air is the best way for a small dog to leave his mark.