Dogs are weird. C’mon, we all know it! From the outside, dogs look goofy, silly and friendly, but ALL dog owners know that dogs can be kinda strange too! We guarantee you’ve witnessed your pup do something weird; chasing their tails or (ew) eating horse poo? But are there behaviours actually normal, and what do they mean?
Chasing Their Tail - Yeah, this is probably one of the first ones to come to your head when thinking of weird dog behaviours. For the most part, chasing their tail is one of the more fun ways to use their excessive or excited energy. Many dogs chase their tails as they explore their bodies (mainly puppies, much like human babies, they use their mouth to explore!), see it as an extra fun toy or even to get your attention. Seeing a pup chasing their tail is quite funny, and oftentimes gets an amused look or interaction from owners, why wouldn’t a dog love all the extra attention?
But it can also be a sign of something being wrong. But if she does this constantly, then they might have anal gland problems or flea allergy dermatitis. In some cases, tail chasing can be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you can’t distract your dog from chasing their tail, or if you suspect they have a medical condition, you should speak to your veterinarian.
Running Around After Pooping – Okay, so not all dogs do this, but some do! And it can look quite funny, your dog rapidly leaving the crime scene after leaving smelly victim!
To be honest, there isn’t an agreed upon reason for this. It might be that their marking their territory, having scent gland in their paw pads or they feel free and, ahem, lighter which results in zoomies. Whatever the reason, it’s very cute and nothing to worry about.
Eating Poop - Following on from THAT poop behaviour, here’s another! Eating Poop! Ew, right?! It’s been long wondered by dog owners because it’s just so gross to us , it could be a learned behaviour OR your dog might be lacking certain nutrients.
Traditional dry dog food (or kibble for our over-the-pond-friends) might contain not easily digestible ingredients, meaning your dog can’t fully digest them the first time around. Can you wee where we’re going with this? Eating their own poop might be their way of trying to regain these nutrients; it might sound weird, but rabbits do it quite regularly!
If this is a learned behaviour and one, you’re particularly worried about, talk to your veterinarian to see if you can take steps to stop it, including changing your dogs diet.
Rolling in Gross Things – Okay, this is getting a bit gross, we’re sorry. With the poop and rolling in goodness-knows-what , we’ve hit you with some stinkers (lol). But it’s important to know what these means, so please stay with us, we’ll share some un-smelly behaviours, we promise!
It’s happened to most dog owners we imagine; you’re enjoying a nice walk and Fido find something less than nice or that used to be alive and decides to roll in it. Wonderful! But what makes our dogs want to cover themselves in…it?
Dogs have upwards of 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose, and humans have a meagre six million. With all those receptors, you would think dogs’ high scent orientation would steer them away from vile and pungent smells, like dead animals, yet it can actually be more attractive to them! They might be smelling something about the THING that we can’t pick up, but they’re loving.
That’s one theory, the other is that they’re masking they r scent in something that stronger than their own smell, an instinctual thing that they find themselves not being able to resist.
Licking or Biting their Paws – Okay, we’re done with the gross stuff! Like ,any behaviours, licking their paws can be completely normal, Though they’re not as fastidious with grooming as cats, dogs do groom themselves, including their paws. Especially if they’ve just been on a walk and got a bit mucky.
But overly licking or biting their paws can be a sign of other things such as irritation, boredom, anxiety, dry skin, pain or arthritis. Licking dry skin is a dog’s attempt at reliving the dryness. Allergies or an injury could be causing discomfort or itchy skin, causing dogs to react by licking.
Since there are so many potential causes of compulsive licking or chewing, be sure to check with your vet once you notice it.