Common Yet Confusing Dog Behaviors Explained

Sometimes your dog does the cutest things, sometimes your dog does hilarious things, and sometimes you wonder what the heck your dog is doing! If you're like us, there are times you wish your dog could talk to you and explain what is going on but since this is highly unlikely (hey, it could happen!), here is some insight into some of the most common, cute, and confusing dog habits.

Not the yard!

Does your yard resemble a polo field after a match? You may not have a steaming divot, but all those chunks of grass your dog keeps unearthing is making your landscaping unsightly.

It is perfectly normal, post toileting behavior. Your dog wants to cover up where it went to the bathroom. Wild canine family members like dingoes, foxes, and wolves do it also. This behavior also marks territory. Yep! That is actually your dog's yard, not yours. The pheromones in the glands of the feet activate when the ground gets pawed. According to Vetstreet, you can temper this behavior by walking your dog twice a day or visiting a dog park, so your dog will potty while out and about.

Smiling... even with no camera

Like humans, dogs smile for multiple reasons. In the wild, wolves smile to indicate their submission to another wolf or to indicate nervousness. Well, dogs do the same thing. You can train your dog to smile more often by rewarding it with pets or a treat when they do. If you smile back and compliment them verbally, the dog will love it.

You probably won't see an alpha dog smile as he leads his pack. You also won't see a dog who feels completely confident in his home smile at visitors since he doesn't need to indicate subordination, even to humans.

Keep in mind, a smile that bars the fangs does not indicate a means back off. Read our article, “Keep Everyone Safe: Warning Signs That A Dog May Bite,” to learn more.

Pet me already

Your dog may randomly flop to the ground and roll over on its back, hind legs up. This adorable and submissive behavior says, "Pet me." Your dog wants to be pet on its stomach. (Do not try this with a cat.)

Dogs are smart and know how to look cute to get your attention. They want pets and you are the dog's petting slave (you didn’t know?). Other adorable behaviors meant to get your hands fluffing their fur include: tail lowering, lifting its paw, or licking you.

Chasing its own tail

Your dog may chase its own tail for good or bad reasons. Boredom will make a dog turn to chasing its own tail for amusement or to get your attention. Take time out to grab a toy or a stick and play with your dog.

If you do play when you see your dog chase their tail and the behavior doesn't stop, you may need to consult your vet. Your dog chasing its tail may indicate compulsive behavior which an animal behaviorist can treat. If the behavior includes nipping and chewing at that area, it could be a physical problem like fleas or worms. Both are easily treated and you'll have a happy dog again in no time.

Head tilt

This quizzical expression should only cause concern if constant and accompanies shaking of the head. A persistent tilt can indicate a balance issue. Your canine pal might have an ear infection, have hit their head, or have a disease that produces an ear tumor. Take your dog to the vet and follow their treatment indications. Otherwise, your dog is simply reacting to a strange noise or expressing confusion.

Your dog probably does 100 mystifying things a day. While most of these behaviors are harmless if they are unusual for your dog, contact your vet.

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