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Deciphering Dog Demeanor: 16 Most Fascinating Dog Behaviors And Their Meanings

Dogs are a man's best friend. It's true! But did you know that they have a lot more going on than just being your pal? They are bizarre creatures too. You may have heard trivia like dogs detecting fear through human breath, dogs having about 230 million olfactory receptors in their nose (while humans only have about 5 million), or that a Border Collie is capable of herding up to 1,000 sheep at once! 

Closer to home, dogs have some fascinating characteristics and habits you’ll notice, especially if you live with them. If you want to decipher your dog's behaviors, these 16 facts could explain them. Let’s start!

  1. Wetting their noses

Whenever you touch your dog's face, you may end up with wet hands because of your dog’s moist nose. If this has got you thinking about whether the wetness is expected, the answer is a resounding ”Yes!” The damp nose contributes to your dog’s ability to smell scents 10,000 times more sensitively than you can. Plenty of sweat glands are found on the nose making it wet, and it even gets wetter because of the dog’s instinct to lick their noses. Nevertheless, if your dog has a dry nose, this is perfectly normal too. 

  1. Panting excessively

Dogs are naturally active, and like humans, with too much activity comes the feeling of tiredness. When your dog comes up after a play in the yard, a sprint on the picnic grounds, and after other strenuous dog exercises, panting is normal. Nevertheless, when panting occurs even when your dog is in a relaxed or calm state, it could be a sign of a canine respiratory system problem. Seeking assistance from a veterinarian is your best option to know the underlying reason and treat the cause of panting. 

  1. Eating poop

Many of the behaviors you will notice in your dog are cute, but some of them aren’t too good to see, like your dog eating poop. This behavior is more prevalent in puppies as they might have imbibed how their mothers ate their poop to keep them clean as newborns. While some grown dogs eat poop because of boredom and curiosity, it is best to check with a veterinarian as the root cause may be an imbalance in diet or a digestive problem. 

  1. Butt-sniffing

A dog norm that may seem weird to you but is completely normal to them is butt-sniffing. Think of butt-sniffing as a dogs’ way of shaking hands; it’s a way to get to know other dogs. They sniff other dogs’ butts as it is the best source of a dog’s scent and profile. It is like an ID containing important information like sex, age, position in the dog hierarchy, and any illnesses the dog may have. So the next time you see a group of dogs sniffing each other’s butts, rejoice as these dogs are making friends!

  1. Walking in circles before lying or sleeping

Do you sleep with your dogs? Then, you have probably seen them walking in circles before finally laying down to sleep. This behavior dates back to their canine ancestors sleeping in the wild; they circle for terrain checks and scent imprinting. These doggy ancestors would flatten the ground they are lying on for comfort and safety from any outdoor insects. Despite the presence of dog accessories, beddings, and pillows these days, some DNA imprints remain like walking in circles before sleeping. 

  1. Staring

The look of love is what you often see when your dog stares at you, but what if their heads tilt while giving you a questioning look? What does it mean when your dog stares at you? There are a couple of explanations:

  • Your dog may be confused about your actions and words, so they stare at you in bewilderment.
  • Your canine friend needs something from you, so they use their charming stare to get it. 
  • They miss you after a long day away!
  1. Howling alone or in unison

Does it give you the creeps when your dog starts howling, especially in the dead of night? The feeling is more intense when dogs in the neighborhood howl together. This howling behavior is typical in dogs—domesticated and wild. Have you ever noticed how a pack of wolves howl together in their dens? It is their way of marking their territory and showing pack pride. It is also a territorial introduction and a way to communicate with other dogs. 

  1. Eating grass

Cows, goats, and horses are animals whose primary nutrition source is grass—but not dogs! Nevertheless, you sometimes see your dogs eating grass, and you wonder if you have a vegetarian pet. It may be the case as veterinarians suspect dogs eat grass to add some fiber to their diet. Still, playfulness and boredom could be other reasons. As long as the grass your dogs are eating isn’t toxic to them, there are no red flags in this. 

  1. Barking excessively

Barking is a dog’s instinct. It is how they communicate and “talk.” When they are delighted, sad, fearful, and alarmed, they bark. But what if dogs bark excessively to the point of disturbing you and the neighbors? Barking excessively is also an unwanted behavior among aggressive dogs. Despite the action being engraved on a dog’s biology, you can train it. Train your dog using commands to reduce barking when they see triggers. Positive reinforcement also works. Give them a treat when they can control themselves. Do so until you see behavioral changes in your dogs. 

  1. Chasing and biting their tails

In humans, an individual with obsessive-compulsive disorder often poses symptoms like being overly clean and doing repetitive tasks over and over again because of anxiety. Some early signs of compulsive disorders in dogs are excessive tail biting and tail chasing. If you notice that your dog bites and chases its tail excessively, visiting a specialist may be the best way to rule out the disorder. On the other hand, tail-chasing may happen only occasionally, and your dog may just be playful, or you can also check for allergies and fleas. 

  1. Rubbing their backs on the grass

You might be wondering what is going on while your dog rubs their back on the grass. The reason behind this action revolves around scent. Either the dog wants their scent to be on the grass to mark it as their space and territory, especially when there are other dogs, or they want the smell of grass to be on them to conceal their smell. The latter is an ancient way of hiding from predators. 

  1. Chewing toys and other furniture

Some dogs are notorious for chewing toys and different stuff at home like shoes, socks, slippers, and anything they see on the ground. These dogs are probably from the hunting, herding, and sporting dog breeds. In the DNA of these dogs are instincts to bite or shred things as these are their tasks: chasing farm pests and rodents. Even if they are already domesticated, they may still exhibit the same behavior. 

Meanwhile, another cause of chewing, especially for puppies, are swollen and itchy gums. In chewing, they find relief with the friction from toys. 

  1. Wanting belly rubs

Belly rubs are some of the favorite activities of dogs. Belly rubbing for your long-time pets is a time for play. However, if there are dogs you just met or are new to the family, you must be hesitant to rub their bellies in fear of getting scratched or bitten; these dogs feel the same way. Asking for belly rubs is their way of socializing with you and letting you know that they are lovable. 

  1. Scooting on the floor

A dog scooting on the floor may look funny. The oddity occurs because dogs usually do not do this—unless there is something wrong. Indeed, scooting can be a sign of a dog illness or anal infection. They scoot because there is an itch caused by bacteria and infection, or they feel pain in the area. The act is a desperate way to remove obstruction and pain in their anus. The only way to relieve them is through the help of experts and veterinarians. 

  1. Kicking after pooping

Did you know that kicking after pooping is not every dog’s habit? There is more to kicking dirt than covering their poop for cleanliness. Kicking after pooping is usually an act showing dominance among other dogs. If you see one kicking among a group, they are probably the leader or dominant member of the pack. They want to mark the territory by putting their scent on the ground through the glands on their paws. The pile of dirt that they build is also a sign of territory. 

  1. Licking

The dog gesture of licking is the earliest action you’ll decipher as a dog owner. You’ll know that your dog licks you after seeing you come home, when you give them treats, when you are feeling sad, or when you are happy. Licking is your dog’s way of showing affection. It is their way of saying Thank you, I love you, and I am here for you. If you want to have some doggy love, raise dogs that are comfortable giving you cuddles and kisses. 

Practice Raising Dogs With Perfect Petzzz

We hope that this blog post has helped you understand what your dog is trying to say. From wetting their nose, chewing toys, and howling—there are many ways that dogs communicate with us and each other. Understanding these behaviors can make for happy pets and owners as both of you won’t be left confused. As an owner, you can also provide exactly what your dog needs

If you aren’t ready to have real pets yet, at least you already have an idea about dog behavior when you finally have one. While you are waiting to be ready, you can practice with Perfect Petzzz handcrafted dogs: these pets require minimal maintenance while bringing maximum joy. 

Have any of these behaviors ever happened before? Let us know if we've helped answer any of your questions about canine behavior by leaving a comment below. We'd love to hear from you on social media too!

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