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5 Bizarre Dog Behaviors Explained

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Dog lovers often know their best four-legged buddies almost better than they know themselves. Despite not speaking the same language, there are certain things we just understand about our pups. For instance, maybe that little twitch of the ear means, “Can I have a treat?” And maybe that funny bunny hop means, “Let’s go for a walk!”


But no matter how close our connection, there are still strange things that our dogs do that seem to defy explanation. Since we can’t ask them outright, behaviorists and researchers are doing their best to unlock the secrets of our canine companions.


Check out what experts have to say about what’s behind some of our dogs’ most mysterious behaviors.


Rolling in Something Smelly

We all know a dog’s sense of smell is far better than our own. So why would they purposefully cover themselves in stench? It may stem from their wild ancestors who had to hunt for a living. Rolling in a strong smell would mask their own scent from their prey. It could also be that they’re using their scent to mark something as “theirs.” Or they may just simply like smelling like dead fish.


Cocking Their Heads

Does your dog tilt his head when you speak to him? While the exact reason behind this adorable behavior is still a mystery, it probably comes down to our dogs trying to understand us. By changing the direction and angle of their heads, dogs may be able to hear us better. And because their muzzles block part of their vision, tilting their heads allows them to get a better read on our expressions.


Circling Before Lying Down

This is another behavior that can be traced back to our dogs’ wild roots. Their canine ancestors didn’t have the luxury of doggie beds or a couch to sleep on. So they had to make their own bed or nest by trampling grass or snow to comfortably lie down on. The behavior may have also signaled to other dogs that they had claimed this territory for their own.


Sticking Their Heads Out the Window

Imagine how you feel when you’re driving through a beautiful mountain pass or along an ocean front highway. You try to absorb as much of the gorgeous scenery as possible, right? In a sense, that’s what our dogs experience on every car ride. They’re able to take in a huge amount of information and smells, intensified by the air being forced into their noses. They can even identify familiar neighborhoods and driving routes. That means that a trip to the vet smells very different than a trip to the dog park!


Reverse Sneezing

If your dog has ever suddenly stopped dead in his tracks and started wheezing or honking, you know how alarming this behavior can be. But a reverse sneeze – also known as pharyngeal gag reflex  – is a common canine respiratory condition. During a regular sneeze, air is expelled outward. But during a reverse sneeze, air is forcefully gasped inward. In both cases, the body is simply trying to rid itself of allergens or irritants. It’s usually harmless and doesn’t cause any lasting effects.



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Posted on Sep 12, 2016 by ostanfield Behavior & Training