Dogs are generally well behaved and responsive to training, but have you ever noticed your pet acting a little bit...odd, maybe even ‘out of character’? Unfortunately, our companions do not have the ability to verbally communicate with us humans, and while they can bark at us to try to explain their strange actions, we won’t understand them. However, we’ve analyzed some ‘weird’ dog behaviors below, so you can better understand them next time, and know when to take action!
It is rather normal for puppies to attempt to bite, as they are still learning how to communicate. Puppies usually bite during playtime, or during training, but if your little fur baby bites on the regular or without any apparent reason, it may be necessary to try and cease this behavior before it becomes an issue. Mature dogs bite out of anxiety, fear, or aggression, so aim to identify the reason for your dog’s scares to end the biting.
Chasing your tail must be so fun as a dog! But if your pet keeps circling on the regular, it may be an underlying health issue, such as an ear infection or headache. More serious causes include idiopathic vestibular syndrome (which is detrimental to your dog’s balance), or even potentially a brain tumor. If your dog is circling more than usual, we recommend checking with your vet.
While distasteful for us, eating poop can be regular dog behavior, as dogs watch their mothers ingest poop while cleaning them, and may try to mimic this. However, if it turns into a habit, you might need to book a vet appointment, as eating feces could be your dog’s natural response to a nutritional deficiency, which needs to be corrected as soon as possible. Which leads us to...
Dogs are definitely not known for having minty fresh breath, but even a slight increase in their halitosis can indicate a more serious problem. Issues with your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, liver, or kidneys can manifest via a particularly smelly breath, while a sweet-scented mouth can be a sign of canine diabetes.
Escaping the heat, tracking animals, or hiding something important to them - dogs have plenty of reasons to dig holes in the ground outside. Has your dog started digging indoors as well, particularly at blankets or couches? Don’t worry, this is completely normal, as your dog might just be trying to find a comfortable spot to lie in. If the digging is bothering you or is starting to deteriorate your furniture, consider hiring a trainer for your dog.
Your dog panting (especially in summer) means that it just might be too hot, as dogs expel most of their body heat through their mouths in order to regulate their temperature. It is important to pay attention to this behavior though, as dogs may pant when in pain. Make sure your dog is hydrated before performing any physical activity.
Have you ever noticed your dog dragging their behind on the floor, particularly on rugs? This is called scooting, usually means there is something irritating your dog’s anus, or they may potentially just need to go potty. But if poop is not the issue, allergies could be, and while it is very common to blame this behavior on worms, this is the least likely cause. Another reason might be that your dog has eaten grass, and is now struggling to expel it.
If your pet is house trained, urinating inside can come as an unpleasant surprise. This is a sign that something may be very wrong internally, so a vet checkup is in order. Frequent peeing can mean that your furry friend might have a urinary tract infection, or could even be a sign of dementia, so keep an eye on your pooch’s pee habits.
Unlike humans, dogs don’t usually yawn when they’re tired. Does your dog yawn more in the presence of strangers? Yawning can be a sign of fear or stress; try to slowly introduce your dog to new people to avoid this, and don’t rush any interactions.
Seeing your dog pressing its head against the wall calls for immediate attention, as this is a common sign of numerous very serious issues, such as brain disease, or even toxic poisoning. In this case, taking your dog to an emergency vet is necessary.
A dog’s way of being doesn’t change without a reason, so take note of any behavioral changes. Underlying issues may be manifesting through these actions, so it is better to be safe than sorry, and book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible if you notice any major changes in your dog’s behavior.