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Why Does My Dog Do That?

Why Does My Dog Do That?

Dogs are complicated and . . . not. Why they do what they do mystifies us, but when you break it down, it becomes clear that a lot of dog behavior is rooted in survival. Much of what they do comes down to primal instincts that developed over millennia to keep them safe and connected to their “pack.”

Strange behavior can also be a sign that your dog is having a health issue. So, please check with your vet if you’re concerned.


Why Does My Dog Stare at Me?

Dogs make eye contact with us for a variety of reasons. As a member of the pack, it’s a way for him to communicate for the purpose of maintaining safety. When you’re out for a walk or at the dog park, your dog may stare at you to make sure you’re on the lookout for predators. When you’re home, chilling on the couch, your dog may be trying to tell you it’s time for a walk or dinner, or may signal other needs, like needing to be let out for a bio-break. The same goes for following you around; it’s pack behavior.  He might want something, or he may be waiting for a treat.


Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

There are several theories as to why dogs eat grass. The first one is that they eat grass to relieve nausea. This is for the simple reason that dogs can often be observed vomiting after ingesting grass. Some veterinarians have speculated that dogs may eat grass in order to rectify a dietary imbalance (eat your greens!) or because they have evolved to eat greens to rid their guts of parasites.


Why Does My Dog Roll in Yucky Stuff?

This is common behavior among many animals. Rolling in smelly dead stuff or another animal’s excrement disguises a dog’s scent. This is straight-up instinct, as scent masking would have been helpful to dogs in the wild, to throw predators off their trail. The act of rolling also deposits scent on the ground, sending message that the “yucky stuff” belongs to them.


Why Does My Dog Pee on Fire Hydrants, Trees, and Tires?

Dogs are big on peeing on . . . well, almost anything, anywhere, any time. But they can be discerning. If you pay attention, you may notice that they typically pee on vertical objects—thus allowing other dogs to sniff out their calling cards at nose level.


Why Does My Dog Love to Stick His Head out of the Car Window?

In a word: the smells. Dogs have an extremely keen sense of smell, and by sticking their head out of the window, they can take in and process a lot of smell data: the other dogs in the ‘hood, the roadkill, cows in the field, etc. Plus, it’s super fun!


Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish?

This is a little gross, but dogs have two glands adjacent to the anus, which can exude a fishy-smelling substance. They use this stuff to mark their territory. If you smell this fishy smell, and it’s not from bad breath (maybe your dog found some old fish in the neighbor’s compost pile), it can be an indication that your dog needs to have their anal glands expressed (by a professional). Groomers and vets can do this. Another sign that your dog’s glands need expressing would be scooting or excessive rear licking.


Why Does my Dog Love to Fetch, Like, All Day Long?

Dogs are hard-wired to chase down prey. In nature, a rabbit running for its life might look and act a lot like a bouncing ball. The act of throwing a ball, stick, or toy serves as an alarm bell to dogs. They instinctively want to catch it and kill it. It’s fun for them to practice this skill; some breeds, like herding dogs, are more keen and have the stamina do this for hours and hours.


Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws?

Dogs lick their bodies for a variety of reasons, mainly as part of regular grooming. It could be that they lick their paws after a walk or bath because of an allergic reaction. Some dogs, prone to anxiety, lick their paws to calm themselves down, or even to occupy themselves when bored. Dry skin, ticks, fleas, and thyroid imbalances can also result in itchy, dry, irritated skin. Dogs can develop “lick granulomas,” which look like wounds. Saliva’s anti-bacterial properties can clean and protect the wound. Sometimes, licking can indicate pain, as from a cut or other injury to a paw or other area. If your pup seems to lick more than he should, it could be something to talk to your vet about.