Why Does My Dog…?
- by Rufus and Coco
Do you ever find yourself wondering why your dog behaves the way they do? As a pet owner, understanding your dog’s behaviour ensures that you have a happy and harmonious relationship. This article looks at some of the most common yet quirky dog habits and explores how breed, communication, and environment influence your dog’s actions.
5 Quirky Dog Habits Explained
Sleeping with Eyes Open
This is known as a lighter sleep phase. A dog can keep their eyes partially open yet still be in a state of slumber just to keep an eye on their surroundings. It is less common with dogs who are reassured that their living environment is comfortable and free of threats and that their family members (or pack) only mean well and wouldn’t hurt them when they’re most vulnerable.
When your dog does get fully comfortable and at ease and enters a deeper state of sleep, you might notice them twitching. Like humans, dogs have sleep cycles where they enter REM and dream. For the time being, no one knows what our canine friends dream about, but it’s pretty clear that it’s things that they probably did before, like chasing a ball, barking at someone they don’t like, or eating a treat they enjoy very much.
Tilting Their Heads
Nothing’s more adorable than a dog tilting their head. They look like they’re making an effort to understand what their human companions are about, and that’s exactly what this quirk means.
When your dog tilts their head, they show interest in what you are doing or try to understand what’s on your mind. By doing this, your dog engages with you indirectly, so talk to your pet to improve communication between you.
Pawing at Their Water Bowl
If your dog always wants to test the water in their bowl before enjoying a refreshing drink, that’s because they’re trying to tell how deep it is. Like other animals, dogs enjoy fresh water more than stale water, so they will be a little more reassured when drinking from a larger body instead of a small puddle.
We recommend investing in a pet water fountain to ensure that your dog is staying hydrated and drinking enough. It always keeps the water fresh and can convince even the most reluctant dogs to have a drink occasionally.
Sniffing Each Other’s Rear Ends
A dog’s sense of smell is incredibly powerful, especially when compared to a person's. Dogs use their noses to explore the world around them, including other dogs. While this behaviour might seem quirky, sniffing each others’ butts is an important way of telling friends from foes or the gender (and reproductive status) of other animals.
And because it is so common, sniffing each other’s rear ends is almost like a shake of hands for our canine friends. It’s a form of communication that, although difficult to understand for us, is essential for our canine companions.
Following You to the Bathroom
Dogs use their pack mentality at all times. If you’ve taken the time to train your pet when they were very young and you asserted yourself as the leader of the pack, it makes sense for your dog to feel the need to know your whereabouts or understand where you’re going practically all the time.
You might not like it, but your dog is loyal to you and wants to follow you around, even in the most private moments. It also depends on your dog’s breed – for example, with an Australian Shepherd, you can expect the dog to herd you around the house to ensure you’re in the right (and safe) spot.
Other Dog Behaviours and Their Explanations
Besides the ones we have already mentioned, other behaviours might leave you feeling puzzled. For example, tail chasing is a silly game, but most dogs do it out of boredom or to seek out your attention. In time, if they get frustrated, they might even begin to bite it, which can lead to lesions that need to be treated at the veterinary clinic. Keep your dog engaged with interactive or soothing accessories like our Tuff Fluff Snuggle Toy.
Barking at nothing is another behaviour that seems to be mysterious, but you do have to remind yourself that your dog’s senses are superior compared to your own, so they might hear, scent, or feel certain people, animals, or events that you can’t perceive.
Digging holes is another quirk that may have some pet owners worried. However, it can be traced back to when dogs lived in the wild, so they had to hide prey in the ground to ensure they had it for later. Other dogs just dig a hole to rest in and cosy up in it as if it’s their natural habitat – and it is, to some extent, since resting in a hole in the ground is warmer and safer in certain seasons.
Finally, eating grass is a habit that most dogs rely on when they have an upset stomach. As you probably know, grass is rich in fibre, allowing them to process food easier and get rid of whatever has caused their indigestion quicker.
Understanding your dog’s body language ensures that you are able to communicate effectively. Although some of these behaviours might seem strange and others are off-putting to humans (such as eating poop), they’re an integral part of being a dog owner.
Since it’s not true that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, make a point out of training your pet on a regular basis. Use training aids like dog harnesses, rely on clicker training, and use plenty of treats and rewards.