Here Are The Explanations Behind 20 Distinctive Dog Behaviors

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We welcome dogs into our homes, our lives and our families to share some of our most personal moments. But what do we really know about the mutt in our midst? What’s going on behind those adorable puppy-dog eyes, and why do they insist on watching you poop? Don’t be dogged by insecurity at being left in the dark; here is an enlightening list of 20 bow-wow behaviors laid bare…

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20. Why do pooches lean against you and give you paws?

You’re watching TV, and you suddenly feel the extra weight of your dog pushing against your leg. Perhaps the pupper even pats at you with a proffered paw – what’s that all about? Well, it means that your pet wants your love. Such behavior is a sign of doggy devotion, and the obvious answer is they just want to be close to you. It is also a subtle request for more affection – so ignore the screen and don’t forget those ear scratches, human!

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19. It’s restraining cats and dogs

Dogs love to chase cats so much that the two species are seen as being mortal enemies. But, in reality, the reason for this seemingly antagonistic behavior is more complicated. It stems from the fact that dogs are inquisitive creatures who are very forward when they come across other critters. The cautious cat, meanwhile, sees this boldness as a threat and flees. The canine’s instinct to pursue rapidly moving objects – honed through millennia of chasing prey – kicks in, and so a chase ensues. And it is not just felines who face a race – balls and cars are fair game too.

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18. The reason puppers pant in hot weather

When summer arrives and the weather gets warmer, it is not unusual to see your dog with its tongue hanging out, panting in the sun. Canines have a coat, so it is no surprise that they get hotter than humans do. But unlike us largely furless apes, dogs do not have the ability to perspire through the skin. Instead, puppers sweat through the soles of their paws, and panting helps regulate their body temperature. Fluids help too, so remember to give your furry friend plenty of water in hot weather.


17. Why does my mutt mirror my yawn?


Yawns are contagious movements amongst us humans. Just thinking about yawning makes you want to have one too, and seeing a friend or loved one in the act often elicits a mirrored response. Some animals catch yawns too – chimpanzees for one, and also man’s best friend. It has even been postulated by British dog listener Stan Rawlinson that mirrored yawning is actually proof of higher emotions in hounds. In April, 2016, he told U.K. tabloid The Metro, “If dogs yawn when we yawn, they have empathy with us.”

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16. Can we rely on the comfort of canines?

Another reason people believe dogs are capable of empathy is because they are often seen to approach upset humans. A study published by the University of London in May, 2012, revealed that canines responded to crying people. In tests, the animals were observed displaying passive and seemingly comforting behavior towards weeping human subjects, rather than those talking or humming to themselves. However, it is important to note that it has not been scientifically proved that puppers are empathetic with us. Nevertheless, Jennifer Mayer, a university researcher who took part in the exercise, said she found their actions “suggestive of empathic-like comfort-offering behavior.”

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15. Why do bow wows love belly rubs?


You know your pet pooch is thoroughly enjoying your affections when they roll over and present their undercarriage for belly rubs. However, although doggos derive great joy from the physical sensation, there is more to their reaction than meets the eye. To be more specific, a canine’s stomach is a vulnerable area, and exposing it in this fashion underlines your pet’s trust in you. Furthermore, it is a submissive act which tells you that the animal respects your dominance over its life. However, experts do not advise humans to turn a dog over themselves – it is best to wait for an invitation first.

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14. Doggy zoomies – what’s that all about?

When Fido dashes around the house like crazy for no apparent reason, your canine has got a case of the zoomies. Some animal specialists refer to these episodes as Frenetic Random Activity Periods, and reassure pets owners that it is perfectly normal behavior. As the scientific terminology suggests, it is just your dog releasing pent-up energy. If you can work out what triggers the zoomies in your pupper, you can use it when outside for walks. This way, the cur in question can get it out of their system, wear themselves out in the process, and thus spare your living space.

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13. Why do pooches constantly pee on things?


Have you ever noticed your dog lift their leg in the exact same spot when they are out on a regular walk? Well, the waterworks are not necessarily due to an overwhelming urge to pee. Canines are territorial critters, and both genders carry individual scent in their urine. Consequently, they spray small amounts to mark their territory and to let other mutts know who is top dog in that area. On the other hand, if you think your pupper is peeing more than usual, the advice is to look into the exact reason why. It could be a symptom of anxiety in your pet.

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12. You can’t lick doggy kisses

Did you ever notice that your face is one of the first places an affectionate doggo will take a lick at? Doggy kisses serve different purposes, depending on the mutt’s mood, but nevertheless they are a very important form of communication. One of the first sensations a puppy feels is its mother’s tongue. Therefore, throughout their lives, dogs use face licks to strengthen emotional bonds. The loving act marks you as part of their pack, as well as providing a lot of personal information about you to the animal’s heightened senses.

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11. Why your dog has the jump on you


Excitable dogs love to jump up to greet you, assuming that they have not been trained out of the habit. Leaping up like that is a show of happiness in your hound, and it comes as a consequence of them being closer to the ground than you. Face sniffing is a canine greeting, so all they are trying to do is say hello to their taller human friend. However, not everyone appreciates such boisterous shows of enthusiasm, especially around smaller children. So if you want to avoid your dog jumping up, make a fuss of them only when their paws are on the ground.


10. Why do growlers go for grass?

You feed your four-legged friend well, so why the hell do they make like a cow and eat grass in the yard? First and foremost, eating non-food items is a common practice amongst canines. In moderation, this is not usually thought of as a problem in a mutt, and some observers speculate that it aids the animal’s digestion. Ultimately, however, no-one is sure why dogs gulp down grass. They could be bored, looking to fill a gap in their nutritional intake, or it might just be that they like it! Regardless, a dog owner is advised to ensure their yard is not host to poisonous plants before they let their fur buddy out of the door.

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9. What’s with the puppy-dog eyes?


Unlike something as obvious as tail wagging, doggo staring sessions are not as easy to interpret. But the plain truth is that sometimes your pupper wants nothing more than just to be with you. Various studies have shown that prolonged eye contact with loved ones – including dogs – raises levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin. And this increase works in the eyes of both of the beholders. In one 2015 Japanese experiment, a loved-up trial dog’s oxytocin was seen to rise by 130 percent, while the human subject benefitted even more. They received a massive 300 percent dose of doggy delight.

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8. When puppers poke their noses in

Poking your nose into other peoples’ private business is an invasion of personal space to most humans, but dogs have different sensibilities. The unapologetic sniffing of private parts is not only the doggy equivalent of a handshake; the act also doubles up as an intimate canine investigation. That is because, apparently, a dog’s nose is anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than the human sense of smell. Consequently, pheromone-rich centers, such as another mutt’s butt or a human groin, offer a wealth of chemical information to the sniffer.

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7. The doggy down-low on dirty laundry


It is probably hard to imagine anything nicer than having a good chew on someone’s sweaty socks. At least, this would be the case if you were a dog. Canines are much more interested in your unwashed undergarments than your clean clothes. One reason is that doggos simply like the sensation of chewing things. But, nonetheless, there is also a deeper meaning behind a pooch’s laundry preference – it reminds them of their human. Believe it or not, but your dirty socks and similar are the items that smell most like you. Chewing on them allows your pet dog to feel close to you when you are not around.

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6. Getting to the bottom of why pooches are so keen to eat poop

As a human, watching your dog heartily chow down on poop is a first-class ticket to revulsion. Your canine companion clearly seems to love the stinky stuff, but exactly why is opaque. Studies from animal behaviorists have put forth various theories down the years – a few of which are easier to swallow than others. Some suggest that the repellent practice serves to rebalance a lack of nutrition in the doggie diet or prevent the spread of fecal parasites. Whatever the reason, puppers’ palates are actually more discerning that it may seem, as apparently only fresh feces will do.

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5. Why do hounds howl?


Just like their wolf ancestors, doggos howl to communicate with each other. So when canines create an aural fuss like this, it is usually a call for attention. They could be hurt, or suffering from some kind of mental anxiety. Additionally, some dogs howl along with high-pitched sounds such as sirens or music. In April 2012, animal psychologist Deborah Wells told Psychology Today magazine that dogs might actually appreciate music – so they could be howls of approval. Wells revealed, “It is now believed that dogs may be as discerning as humans when it comes to musical preference.”

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4. What’s the story when dogs chase their tails?

You would have to have a heart of stone if you failed to raise a smile at the daft sight of your dog chasing their own tail. In puppies, this often represents play behavior akin to pursuing a toy. Adult dogs have probably noticed your delight at the activity in the past, and when they chase tail they actually want to engage you in playtime. However, if your animal nips at or compulsively chases their tail, it can be a sign of ill health and this behavior should be checked out by a vet. Strangely, tail chasing is more common in terriers and German shepherds than other doggie breeds for some barking-mad reason.


3. Chewing over the problem of bones


Canines are carnivores and they just love meat, so what is their obsession with clean bones? There are multiple answers, and the first is that the animals simply love chewing. The action alleviates a natural urge in a dog, as well as having the added benefit of naturally cleaning its teeth. Moreover, bones contain tasty and nutritious marrow inside. But owners beware – too much of a good thing can damage your doggo’s teeth, and cooked bones can splinter during chew time to injure your pet.

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2. Why do dogs like to get down and dirty?

Whether it be feces, rotting carcasses or any number of equally noxious niffs, dogs just adore stink! They love it so much that they will roll around in the source like it is a fragrant body wrap in a high-end spa. To us, it is an utterly vile activity, but canines live in a world of smells that we simply cannot comprehend. No-one knows exactly why doggos decorate themselves with such dirt and nastiness but, needless to say, there have been plenty of theories aired on the subject. Some likely suggestions are that rolling around in revolting material scent-marks the discovery for prone puppers, or simply that getting down and dirty feels good to our four-legged friends.

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1. Why do canines dog you in the bathroom?


Finally, the biggest question of all – why don’t dogs let their human companions visit the bathroom in peace? Without being able to get an answer from the animals directly, we can only guess. If pack mentality is anything to go by, your pooch is just guarding you while you are in a vulnerable position. A canine in the wild has the pack watch their back while they are indisposed, so when your pet follows you into the smallest room in the house, they are actually protecting you while you poop. They are making sure you are safe when nature calls, and you would do the same for them… right?