They’re man’s best friend, but our favorite furry pets can still have puzzling behaviors that leave us a mixture of amused and confused. Or, in some cases, entirely grossed out and feeling the vicious urge of cleaning them straight away. It’s possible that other behaviors might actually worry the owner because they have little clue of its reasoning. But, considering it’s a dog, most just chalk it up to pure randomness or playful gestures.
A couple of these mysterious behaviors have explanations, or at the very least, theories. Dogs were domesticated a long time ago, but one should always remember that their roots are still in the wild. Their instincts have remained, and their intelligence may cause certain actions that we cannot explain. Perhaps, one day, the communication barrier will be breached. But until there will be a futuristic tool to analyze their personality, all we have are studies that have centered around our adorable canine friends.
1. The Look of Sheer Guilt
Every person who has ever had a dog would know the irresistible and yet suspicious face their pooch makes after they’ve done something wrong. You can see the guilt in their eyes. Or can you? This look constitutes as strange behavior because your pet will likely not remember what they have done, and their learning habits are not available for past actions. If they’ve destroyed a piece of furniture and you scold them even a couple of minutes after you discover it, your dog will have no any idea what made you so mad.
Unless you catch them in the act, your yelling will not make any sense to them. So, why the guilty face? Studies have shown that man’s best friend is exceptionally intelligent, and they have developed the ability to actually read facial expressions. While your pet does not know what they have done wrong, they have developed their look of guilt in response to your reaction, such as anger, yelling, or punishment.
2. Round and Round Around The Bed
No matter how comfortable it is, you might notice your dog circling their bed before ultimately settling down. They might even start moving it, kicking it, or sniffing it a couple of times even though it’s the same as it always has been. While this has no reflection on your decorating abilities or their need to Feng-Shui their bed, it does pull back to their ancestral roots. Wild dogs naturally used to sleep outside, which required them to create their own homes.
They patted the areas, circling, scratching, or even digging to assure they will be comfortable, warm, and perhaps safer from the elements or other predators. It helped maintain their body heat and keep them cozy. Certainly, they have all of those within your home, but this particular instinct has remained. However, fret not. It will go away eventually as they observe that their habit loses its use. It’s simply a way for them to get comfortable.
3. An Acquired Taste for Grass
Even if your dog is well nourished and has every type of expensive food available, you might still see your pet munching on grass and other green plants. It’s probably confusing, and it makes you feel as if you’re not meeting their dietary needs. However, that’s not the case. Your dog does not have a hankering for some “salad”, but they do enjoy the texture of grass. More importantly, it has a medicinal quality due to their high content of potassium and enzymes.
Dogs munching on grass possibly have an upset stomach, and they have observed by themselves that it has a laxative effect. It can trigger vomiting and a bowel movement, which will ultimately relieve the strain on their tummy. The only situation where you should worry is when the grass is laced with pesticides or other chemicals.
4. A Puzzling Instinct to Eat Poop
Otherwise known as coprophagia, this strange canine behavior is easily the most disgusting one. There are many reasons why your dog may be indulging on his own excrements or perhaps even on another pet’s waste. It has been estimated that they do it to keeping their nesting area clean or may be a response to other outside or inside factors. For example, dogs on poor quality diets may be munching on poop to gain digestive enzymes that make up for a deficiency.
At the same time, it might be a medical condition related to their pancreas, intestines, or perhaps even a gastrointestinal parasite that causes this odd behavior. Poop eating has been noted to be a habit sparked by their anxiety as well. After being scolded or yelled at, it’s possible that your dog might just be stress-eating.
5. Rolling in The Deep, Dirt, Waste, and Garbage
It’s one of their most exasperating habits that owners have a difficult time explaining. Even though their pet is cleaned and groomed, they run right outside and start rolling around in anything. Be it puddles, dirt, mud, waste, dead animals, or virtually everything else disgusting, dogs have an odd habit of repelling that fresh smell of shampoo. It’s another behavior that has remained due to their instinct left behind by ancestors.
Rolling around in awful things could be a way for them to mask their scent. After all, it would be easy for their prey to detect them if they smell like strawberry shampoo and soap. On the other hand, it could also be a habit of letting “pack members” know that there are “good things” out there, such as a delicious dead squirrel. So, in essence, your dog is announcing that there is food out there for you if you want it. The simplest explanation, however, is that they just enjoy the smell. After all, their nose is around 10,000 times better than our own, so what do we know?
About the writer:
Mike Jones is a full-time writer, with a focus on animal and nature-related articles.