Whether you’re a first-time pup owner or a long-time dog lover, it is important to stay informed on the more peculiar behaviors of your canine companion.
Dogs can exhibit a range of unusual behaviors that might be concerning for their owners. These include excessive licking, tail-chasing, grass-eating, humping, barking at nothing, jumping on people, digging, sniffing, strange sleeping positions, eating non-food items, separation anxiety, and more.
This article provides an overview of 13 of the most unusual behaviors that you may encounter from your dog, so read on and learn something new about your four-legged friend!
1. Excessive Licking and Chewing
Excessive licking and chewing could be linked to a few different causes. If your pup is craving attention, they may start licking things around the house to get it from their owner. Stress can also cause this behavior, especially when the dog has been taken away from their home or put into a new environment.
Finally, boredom – if your pup isn’t being given enough stimulation or playtime – could lead to too much licking and chewing. It’s important to recognize these habits early so the root cause can be addressed, as it may be indicative of something more serious like an allergy or medical condition.
Tail-Chasing is an intriguing and perplexing behavior in which a dog repetitively follows its tail. This strange action can sometimes become so intently focused that the dog will forget to eat or sleep and appears as if he or she is in a trance. It can take the form of mild, occasional chasing or may grow into an obsessive behavior that requires intervention.
Scientists aren’t quite sure why dogs do it; theories suggest it can be a response to stress, caused by fear, or even an attempt at self-medication due to emotional turmoil. Whatever the cause, owners need to be aware of this insistent behavior and monitor it for any signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder as severe cases may require professional help from your veterinarian.
3. Eating Grass
Eating grass may seem unusual for your canine companion, but it is quite a common behavior. While the exact reason why dogs eat grass has yet to be determined by experts, two main theories help explain this behavior. It is thought that some dogs eat grass as a means to settle their stomach when they’re feeling nauseous, while others may simply do it out of curiosity or boredom.
Call it a habit or call it instinct – whatever you decide, make sure that your dog isn’t consuming any sort of toxic plants or chemicals while in the process! To help ease your worries, make sure your pup has plenty of healthy snacks within reach whenever they feel the urge to munch on some blades of grass.
4. Humping Behavior
One surprisingly common behavior you are likely to observe in dogs is humping. This may occur when a dog is feeling socially dominant or as part of playtime. Some dogs may even hump objects, such as a favorite toy or pillow.
Although it’s best not to encourage the behavior, there are ways to discourage it (such as yelping and moving away) if you feel it’s inappropriate in context. However, humping between two animals can be perfectly natural and healthy as long as both animals appear comfortable with the situation. If this type of behavior bothers you, check out other resources for tips on how to manage it.
5. Barking at Nothing
Dogs are often thought of as man’s best friend, but even with that standing, some of their behaviors can still seem bizarre. Barking at nothing is one such peculiar and humorous behavior. This occurs when a canine founds itself agitated or scared by the presence of a sound or sensation that humans cannot perceive.
To us, it looks like Fido is barking at shadows or the wall, but to them, it may feel like something far more menacing. Learning about these unusual behaviors can help pet parents get to know their fur babies better and take action in keeping them safe from any outside threats – real or perceived!
6. Jumping on People
Jumping on people is an all-too-common behavior among many breeds of dogs, and it can quickly become a nuisance. It’s important to understand why this behavior occurs in the first place, as there are several potential reasons. For some dogs, jumping on people may be a way to get attention or express excitement or joy.
Other dogs may jump to avoid being petted or handled due to fear or insecurity. Whatever the cause, it’s essential to curb this behavior as soon as it begins to appear and teach your dog more positive ways of greeting people instead.
7. Digging Holes
Digging holes is an activity that many dogs take part in for a variety of reasons. It is especially seen in breeds such as Dachshunds and Terriers but can be observed in other types as well. It may seem nonsensical to humans, but most often dogs dig to escape from the heat or barriers, to seek out small prey, or even to hide toys and treats for later retrieval.
If this behavior becomes excessive or destructive there are steps one can take to curb it. Teaching an alternate activity like fetching for when a dog feels the urge to dig, removing any objects that could be dug up, as well as ensuring your pup gets enough exercise and playtime are just a few ways one can address this issue.
8. Sniffing Everything
When you first meet a dog, one of the first things they do is happily sniff your hand – but that’s only the start of their smelling journey! Veterinarians refer to this behavior as “sniffing everything” and it’s something all dogs do. From your clothing and the new furniture in your home to things they found while out on walks, dogs love to explore the world through their noses.
This behavior allows them to further understand their environment and find potentially interesting places. When you’re out on a walk with your pup, be sure to give them plenty of time for sniffing every new thing that catches their attention – not only does this provide them with an enjoyable experience but it also helps in aiding their development.
9. Sleeping in Strange Positions
It’s not just humans that have strange sleeping behaviors; our canine friends can sometimes make us wonder why they do the things they do. We’re talking about the unusual positions dogs take when resting or snoozing. Some may curl up in a tight ball, while others will nestle into a cushion and spread out like a starfish.
There are even some breeds that were specifically bred to sleep in eye-catching poses, such as the Chihuahua and Chinese Crested Dog. Although these sleeping positions may appear odd to us at first, they can be signs of good health – such as improved circulation and flexibility. So go ahead and observe your pup – you might be amazed by their interesting (and possibly comfy) poses!
10. Eating Non-Food Items
Eating non-food items is an unusual but surprisingly common behavior in dogs. This curious dietary choice is known as pica and can stem from a variety of underlying causes. While curiosity, scavenging behavior, and nutritional deficiencies are all contributing factors, it’s important to take this seriously as some objects can cause serious harm when ingested by your pup.
Most often, pet owners will recognize their dog for consuming items such as stones, sticks, socks, paper, and plastic, although more specialist items have also been reported – including ice cubes! Because of the various risks posed to the health of your four-legged friend, a trip to the vet must be made if the behavior persists to ensure a proper examination and diagnosis of underlying behavioral and medical issues.
11. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is an emotionally-based behavior that many dogs suffer from, and it can manifest itself in a variety of ways. You may find that your pup gets excessively clingy, may bark or whine incessantly when you leave the house, become destructive, experience changes in sleeping patterns, or consistently follow you around indoors—these are all common signs of dog separation anxiety.
While the condition can seem baffling at times, rest assured: with patience and a few simple strategies, you can help your dog manage his nerves and develop healthier coping habits.
12. Sudden Fear of Everyday Objects
Believe it or not, even dogs can have fear-based disorders. One such phenomenon is ‘sudden fear of everyday objects’, which, as the name implies, is when a dog develops a negative association with an object without any apparent cause. While this disorder isn’t all that common in dogs, it can manifest itself in any form, from aggressive behavior (barking/growling) to complete avoidance of the affected object.
Dog owners should remain aware of this syndrome as it’s important to recognize and try to address any developing anxiety issues as early as possible for their pup to lead a stress-free life.
13. Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors
Obsessive-compulsive behaviors, such as excessive licking, tail chasing, and spinning are fairly common in dogs. Generally, these behaviors occur due to stress or boredom in the dog’s environment. If your pup is exhibiting any of these signs, it may be time to reevaluate your home dynamics and make some significant lifestyle changes.
Helping your dog manage its stress levels can improve their overall mental health makes a world of difference and ensure they are content with its home life. Consulting an animal behaviorist or veterinarian can help if you cannot figure out the cause of the obsessive-compulsive behavior. With adequate patience and understanding, you’ll soon have the happy pup you know back in no time!
Unusual dog behaviors can be both entertaining and concerning to pet owners. Though we may not understand why our furry friends act the way they do at times, it’s important to accept their behavior as normal and observe any particular changes to address any concerning issues immediately. From burying resources to begging for dinner to rolling in the grass, understanding your pup’s quirks provides you with a deeper appreciation for the unique personality of your furry companion.