Weird Things Dogs Do and What They Mean — Interpreting Dog Body Language

They may be man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean we understand all the weird things dogs do and what they mean. You know what we’re talking about: butt scooting, butt sniffing, and well … how do we put this … humping. These typical dog behaviors have humans scratching their heads and, sometimes, cringing. 

Chances are, if your dog is doing something weird, there’s a reason. First, figure out why your dog is doing the weird behavior. Then, you can use the train, treat, repeat methodology to get your dog’s attention, issue a correction, and reward your dog for good behavior!

Why Do Dogs Roll on Stinky Things?

Have you’ve ever noticed your dog rolling around in stinky things like rotting garbage, a dead animal, or your dirty laundry? What the heck?

Odors you find utterly offensive may bring a jubilant roll fest for your pup. Why? Some canine experts believe this behavior is your pet’s way of masking his scent to hide from predators. Researchers further suggest dogs may roll around in stinky things to communicate where they’ve been or what they’ve found to pack members — yes, that means you. Other theories hold that dogs merely roll around in pungent and odious things because they enjoy showing off their newfound scent and because it’s fun.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

When you think of all the cute things dogs do, surely eating their own poop or that of another animal isn’t on the list. The technical name for this behavior is coprophagia (habit of eating feces). Yes, it has a name!

Why must your dog dine on dung? One can blame instinct. Before domestication, to protect her young from predators, a mother dog would remove scents of her litter, which meant “cleaning up” their poop. Other dogs eat feces because they’re hungry or their diet lacks certain nutrients. Who knows, maybe your dog likes the smell or taste. While typically unharmful, you should speak with your vet if your dog’s poop-eating is excessive. A change in diet, the addition of supplements or training could help curb this behavior.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Most dogs tend to partake in eating grass at some point — which we deem way more palatable than feces. Some dogs may simply like eating grass, while others consume a few blades to settle a gassy or upset stomach. For sick dogs, experts believe that when ingested, grass blades tickle a dog’s throat and stomach lining, causing a dog to vomit, making the stomach ache go away.

A dog grazing his way through a yard isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, you must ensure the grass is pesticide- and chemical-free and make sure they avoid common plants that are poisonous to dogs.

An increase in grass-eating could indicate an underlying health issue that you should discuss with your vet.

Why Do Dogs Scoot On Their Butts?

Butt-scooting dogs suggest a health issue; your dog has blocked or infected anal glands. Dogs typically express these sacs when defecating. However, there are occasions when they become clogged or infected, and your pet has trouble emptying them. To help alleviate the pain, your dog scoots along your favorite rug (nice, right?) leaving behind … who knows what. Your vet can bring quick relief to your pet by expressing the glands manually. If you’ve got a frequent butt-scooter and an iron-strong stomach, your vet might be able to show you how to gently express your dog’s anal glands yourself, to save traumatic trips (and cash) to the vet.

Why Do Dogs Pretend to Bury Food (or Toys) With Their Noses?

Deemed as an instinctual behavior, dogs tend to stash away their favorite toys, bones, or treats to prevent other animals from stealing them. Hunting breeds like hounds and terriers tend to go all out and dig to hide their treasures, whereas Dachshunds favor stashing their goodies away around the house.

Why Do Dogs Grab a Toy When You or a Visitor Arrives?

Ah, the things dogs do to show love! One of the most joyous is when your pet brings you or a visitor a toy upon arrival. One explanation could be your dog’s way of showing how excited he is you are home; after all, you’re his favorite human. Dogs can become quite fond of their toys, so when your pet presents one to you when you get home, it could be he’s expressing he trusts you enough to share his toy with you. It could also be that your dog spent his day bored out of his mind and has the energy to burn; his meeting you at the door with a toy screams, “let’s play.”

Why Do Dogs Pick Up Food in Their Mouths to Eat Elsewhere? 

You pour your dog’s food into his dish only for him to snag up some kibble and wander off into the living room to eat. One theory holds this behavior passed down from a dog’s wild ancestors that lived in packs. Less dominant members would take their food to a safe distance to eat in solitary without being challenged by other group members. It could be that your dog dislikes his food bowl, or its size (height, depth) makes it uncomfortable for your dog to eat. Another consideration: Your pet’s collar or tags may make a bothersome noise if they hit the edge of the bowl. If you have multiple pets, try moving your dog’s bowl to a secluded area. If your dog is your only pet try switching out the bowl for a different type or more appropriately sized dish. 

Or, if it doesn’t bother you, do nothing.

Why Do Dogs Hump Everything In Sight?

Reading this type of dog body language can be challenging,  especially when your pet has been neutered or spayed. As a pet parent, you may be witness to your dog humping everything that moves (your leg) and doesn’t — stuffed toys and couch pillows are not off-limits when it comes to this type of behavior. It’s easy to assume that your dog’s actions are sexual when in truth, it could be his way of playing or responding to anxiety, over-excitement, or stimulation.  Although this typical dog behavior can be comedic and embarrassing (depending on who or what is being humped), ignoring the behavior or giving your dog an alternative activity such as chewing on a bone can help reduce this behavior.

Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts?

Out of all the funny things dogs do, one of the most common behaviors is they smell each other’s butts — we know, ew!  Here’s the down-low (pun intended): Dogs have a sense of smell that surpasses humans by 10,000 to 100,000 times. With this heightened sense of smell, a dog can pick up many details about another dog or even a human (when they come up and smell your groin area). That’s right: A quick sniff can reveal information about humans and other dogs like their diet, gender, emotional state, and state of health. Embarrassment aside, it is a dog’s way of saying, “hello, it’s nice to meet you.” 

Of course, this wacky, weird behavior brings many a laugh; however, if your pet displays sudden strange dog behavior, it’s best to discuss it with your vet as it may indicate an underlying health issue.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top