Staying Healthy

What’s Behind That Funny Dog Behavior

What’s behind that funny dog behavior you see in your pooch from time to time? Most of us will laugh and wonder why some dogs have weird habits. Many dog stars on YouTube have made their mark on various audiences due to their funny stunts. These videos seem to convince people that dogs are more than just four-legged man’s best friend – they also do things that may puzzle us sometimes. But scientific explanations are there to explain a lot of these weird behaviors.

Funny Dog Behavior

Here are a few examples:

  • Kicking while getting scratched, usually when it gets scratched on the belly. Most of us, me included, have thought that this is because we have found the dog’s “ticklish spot”. Wrong! This phenomenon is known as the “scratch reflex”, and it has a scientific explanation. Beneath the dog’s belly are nerves from the spinal cord which are quite sensitive. When they get stimulated, it will make a dog feel like he’s got a flea and causes the back legs to kick involuntarily and try to scratch somewhere. This happens in a reflex manner, meaning that the dog cannot control its back legs from kicking while getting scratched or tickled. Some dogs only twitch, while some can kick really hard when they get a scratch to the right spot on their belly – between the belly and the hip. (That’s what the experts say. I still tend to think they’re just ticklish!)
  • Kicking grass after its daily morning routine. This is one of the most common weird behaviors of dogs, for which science has a good explanation. Here again, many of us have heard the wrong thing — that the dog is trying to hide its scent from its enemies. It’s actually just the opposite: it’s a way to mark their territory. Underneath the dog’s paws are glands that secrete pheromones when they scratch the ground.
  • Sleep barking and twitching. Sometimes, the dog may even kicks around as if having an intense dream, like humans. In fact, they really do dream like us. But in addition to the sleeping phases of humans, dogs have an additional phase called short wave sleep (SWS) in which this behavior occurs.
  • Turning around several times before sitting or laying down. This is another common behavior that most pet owners tend to notice, as if the dog is still looking for something. The explanation is this: dogs curl around a few times before sitting or lying down by instinct, because it would flatten any tall grass, hence, making them more comfortable in their spot. Back when they were not domesticated yet and were still in the wild, there were no comfortable cushions to lie down on, dogs practiced this instinct.
  • “Doggie Kisses”: dogs like to lick other dogs, and of course, their owners too. While many people think it is their way of kissing, there is actually a deeper explanation to that. You see, when pups are born, their mother licks them to clean off the dirty stuff and groom them. As they get older, it is a sign of who is the boss. The one who gets licked is usually the stronger of the pack. So that means that if you let yourself get licked, your pet is being submissive and telling you that you’re the Alpha dog!
  • Scooting on their butts: this really looks hilarious, but could indicate a possible problem. They scoot to scratch their rectal area, so if it’s more than just occasional, you should investigate.

Here’s when you should consult a vet about the “butt-scooting”, as discussed on the Pets.WebMD.com website:

Problems around the anus can be a smelly, messy, painful business for your dog.

If your canine companion is scooting or persistently licking at the anal area, or if it in any way appears to be uncomfortable or distressed, you should talk to your vet. Treatment is often quick and easy and can make your dog, you, and maybe your carpet a lot happier.

So sometimes what’s behind that funny dog behavior can have a medical reason that needs to be treated. Hopefully these tips will help.

Does your dog have a particular (harmless) funny dog behavior that you find hilarious? If so, feel free to share it below.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Steve

    Mar 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I just caught our dog doing something when he thought no one was home. We have come home from work before and found the shower drain in our bathroom off and dog footprints in the stall. We thought he was going in to drink from the drain and we put fresh water out in the morning but it would still happen once in awhile. We today I caught him rolling in the shower stall having a good time. I wonder why he goes this and the only thing I can think of is similar to why they roll in stinky stuff. The shower drain doesn’t smell although someone had just finished a shower 15 minutes earlier. What do you think?

  2. Wendell

    Nov 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re incredible!
    Thanks!

    Wendell

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