As dog owners, we become tuned in to our dog’s behavior. Every dog has their own little quirk and way of expressing themselves. Even though every dog has their own unique personality, there are certain dog behaviors that are ingrained in them biologically.
Here are five common dog behaviors we’ve seen dogs act out and their causes:
Kicking up grass after pooping:
I had always figured it was a dominance thing, but I was surprised to learn that dogs have scent glands in their paws’ pads. So when they are done using the bathroom, scratching the ground with their paws is an additional way to mark their territory with their own scent, which sends a message to other dogs that they “own” the space.
Chasing Things (aka Prey or Chase Drive)
There is a difference between prey and chase drive. Chase drive is less intense than prey drive. Chase drive is when a dog chases after something but doesn’t fully commit to it as a target. Once the dog reaches the target he will continue to run pass, whereas with prey drive, dog aggression is apparent and your dog will actually make contact with the target. For example, if you’ve ever tried to play fetch with your dog, only to have your dog run after the ball and then leave it or if your dog was chasing you and just runs past you, it wasn’t a case of Attention Deficit Disorder, but rather chase drive.
Dogs, by nature, are predators. It’s a natural instinct for them to chase and hunt things. Also, since dogs experience the world through their noses and their sense of smell is so much more powerful than ours, when they smell an animal that can be prey, they instinctively act on it and chase after it.
Some people think this is cute, some people think it’s funny, I think it’s creepy and I don’t like it. The reason why dogs scoot their butts is because it’s itchy, which I guess seems pretty obvious, but the reason why their butts are itchy might not always be so obvious. I’ve heard that it’s because they have worms, or maybe it’s because they have so much hair around their butts. But here is another reason why your dog’s butt might be itchy, especially if it’s a small dog: over-filled anal sacs that aren’t properly emptying. I know, sounds awesome right? These anal sacs are supposed to empty when your pup poops in order to give it a distinctive scent to help “mark” their territory. When the sacs aren’t emptying properly though, the sacs get full and irritated, causing your dog’s bum to itch. To relieve the itchiness, your dog will drag its butt along the floor to try and relieve the pressure.
Turning Around Before Laying Down aka Trampling Behavior
I couldn’t find a definitive answer for this, but people speculate they do it to trample down the grass and also to make sure there aren’t any snakes or bugs where they are going to lay. This is ingrained in their genetics from when they were in the wild and sleeping outside. They may also do it to uncover a cooler surface.
Have you heard of any other causes for this?
Chasing tails is typically more frequent in puppies. I think this is because they’re still mastering their motor skills and are curious and easily entertained. If your older dog occasionally chases their tail, it’s probably just for entertainment purposes too. Your dog probably likes getting attention from you and if you give them a positive reaction such as laughing and smiling every time they chase their tail, they may do it to get that same reaction from you.
However, if your dog is frequently chasing its tail there may be an underlying problem. Your dog’s tail might have fleas or be bothering them. Your dog may be bored and suffering from separation anxiety. If your dog doesn’t seem to outgrow the tail-chasing phase, examine their tail for any fleas or other parasites. If your dog is frequently chasing its tail for no apparent reason and is causing harm to himself in the process, consult with your veterinarian right away.
So those were five strange dog behaviors that I commonly see most dogs exhibit, but never knew the underlying causes. Is there any other weird dog behavior that you were always curious about? Let us know in the comments below.