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Top Weird Dog Behaviors Explained

Do you ever look at your dog and think, “what exactly is going on in there?”  I know I do every time I turn on the shower and my two come running in barking their heads off like they are trying to save me from the evil H20 Monster.  In fact a lot of viral dog videos feature weird behavior that can be a sign of happiness, stress, or that there is something wrong.  It's important to know if what we are laughing at is actually funny, or a cause for concern.

dog scooting, why do dogs scoot, dog butt scootch
Why do dogs scoot?

Let's face it, even the name is funny. Who doesn't want to see a dog scoot, (dog dragging their butt across the ground) as a new means of transportation? While it could simply be a mild irritation from grooming or a food allergy, It becomes much less funny when we learn that this often happens after a bowl movement and can be a sign of impacted anal glands. Usually when a dog poops, the fluid in his anal glands is squeezed out as well (sorry for the visual). When that does NOT happen, problems can occur which can be a very serious issue if not treated. If you notice your pooch scooting more than usual, find a groomer experienced with expressing anal glands or go to your vet. 

Will dogs be in pain after anal glands get expressed?

It should not be painful for your pooch to have his anal glands extracted unless there is an obstruction or infection. If any pain occurs it should be mild. To make the process easier have someone help you by holding and soothing your dog while you are extracting the ana glands. OR call in a professional. 

Can dogs get hemorrhoids?

Dogs do not get hemorrhoids but they can have other issues in that area such as anal gland problems, anal tumors and a prolapsed rectum. 

Why do dogs lick their butt?

A dog excessively licking their butt may be an indication of discomfort, anal gland obstruction, parasites, skin infection, itching or allergies. If you are concerned, call your vet. 

 

dog chasing tail on beach, why do dogs chase their tails, dogs chase tail and crying, how to stop dog from chasing tail, why dogs run in circles

Adorable dog chasing his tail on the beach

Why do dogs chase their tails? 

Self preservation

Dogs often spin in circles before they sit down and it's nothing to be concerned about. It's the equivalent of a human rearranging pillows or getting the bedding just right before going to sleep. Dogs are just trying to find the exact right place and position before settling. Dog behaviorists even think this is an inherited trait and a method for survival. Dogs are instinctually trying to position themselves in a way where they can smell and detect and potential danger. 

Exploration

A puppy chasing their tail is not only super adorable but also a way for them to explore and get to know their bodies.  Go ahead and take lots of videos! Dogs like to repeat rewarded behavior which is why food is such a good tool for training dogs.

Reward 

Love and praise creates the same effect. If your dog notices you laughing and hugging him everytime he chases his tail, he may tend to repeat the behavior.  

TIP: Just like humans scratch an itchy spot or rub a pain, a dog will do the same if there is any irritation on the tail. 

Why do dogs chase their tail and cry?

If your dog is chasing his tail and whining or crying it may be in indication that he is in pain. Check his tail and his nether regions for irritations, redness, infection or bleeding. This can also be an indication of anal obstruction. Call you vet if you are unsure. 

How to stop a dog from spinning in circles?

If you think your dogs spinning in circles is excessive it may be an indication of stress, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder. Try making a loud noice, using a clicker to stop the behavior the moment you notice it. You may want to schedule a vert visit. 

 

Can Dogs Have OCD? 

YES!!! BUT… just because your dog scoots, chases his tail, licks his paw etc does not mean he has OCD (it’s called CCD Canine Compulsive Disorder in dogs). How can you tell the difference between normal behaviors and CCD? 

How to tell the difference between normal behaviors and CCD

Your dog should do any of the above activities (scoot, chase the tail, lick paws etc) in short duration, and/or you should be able to distract your dog from what he is doing with a treat. Use your intuition.

When to call the Vet: If your dog is chewing his paws for hours and hours on end and you are unable to distract him then a visit to the vet may be in order. 

dog tilting head, why do dogs tilt head

"Hello? Can you tell what I am thinking?"

Why do dogs tilt their heads? 

There is nothing cuter than a head tilt from your dog when he looks at you. You know there is so much going on in that cute furry head of theirs but what could it be? There are a few reasons behind this picture perfect moment that can help us understand our BF’s better.

Locating sounds

A dog's hearing is a lot more sensitive than ours. In addition, the shape of their ears can affect their hearing. Dogs with long ears or hair covering their ears can cause an obstruction in hearing, tilting their head can help them catch the sound better. So, dogs usually move their heads back and forth to make sure they don't miss anything! 

Positive Reinforcement

Does your pup give you an irresistible head tilt when you ask if she wants a treat or if he is a good boy?  That treat or the pet can be the reward that keeps them repeating the adorable behavior

Better Vision

Dogs generally have great vision, but it's not always clear when they are looking at things far away or close up.  They see things best when things are at their eye level, So, sometimes head tilting can be a way for dogs to see you better, depending on where you are standing.

Medical Concerns

If you notice your dog's head tilted a lot or if he is pushing his head against walls or furniture, barking, scratching, or whining, you need to check with a Veterinarian.  Head tilting combined with these other behaviors can be a sign of Allergies, ear infections, stroke, or hearing  loss. 

Don’t ever hesitate to give your vet a quick call.

At Pride+Groom we love all the Vets but 2 of our favorites: 

BOND VET

SMALL DOOR

dog licking human, why dogs lick

Is the doggie saying "I love you?"

Why do dogs Lick? 

Doggie kisses are usually a sign of happiness and affection. It is often a friendly greeting, but at times it can happen for a few different reasons.  

Salt

Do you ever feel like a chicken flavored lollipop?  You may not be far off, dogs love the taste of salt on our skin. So we are especially tasty after the beach or a workout.

Calming

Licking is also a stress reliever.  Usually dogs will lick their own lips for this reason but their favorite humans will also do the trick.

Pack Instincts

Licking is an old pack behavior where younger dogs showed submission to elder pack members.  Also puppies would lick their moms mouth to stimulate milk production and pick up extra left over treats.

Positive Reinforcement

We often welcome doggies kisses with laughter and pets.  This ensures that the kisses keep coming!

How to stop a dog from licking paws

First of all, it is completely normal for a dog to lick his paws! There are many reason dogs lick their paws: itchiness, boredom, a food allergy, an infection, an abnormal growth or simply out of habit. Examine the paws for any abnormal signs. If all looks status quo, start by trying to distract him by giving him more exercise, taking him for more walks or giving them more toys to play with. If concerned a visit to the vet may be in order. 

TIP: Do not use a toy, walk, attention etc as a reward. Do not scold them for licking but do not reward them either.

Why does my dog keep licking his lips?

Dogs can't speak (duh) so they use different signals to communicate. Licking their lips is just one of them. They may be telling you they are uncomfortable or stressed. They may be confused by a command you are giving. They may be trying to soothe a threatening dog or person coming their way. Like everything else, excessive lip licking in dogs could indicate most pain or another health issue. If you are concerned... call you vet!

How can you tell if your dogs licking is out of control?

Now that you know the cause and effect of normal licking habits, you can judge whether your dogs licking is excessive.

Usually it’s just about teaching them some manners.  Positive reinforcement such as giving a treat after a quick lick or getting up and walking away when licking crosses the line, can teach your dog just the right amount of kisses that are acceptable.

humping dog, stop dog from humping. dog humping leg

Why Do Dogs Hump?

Decidedly the most taboo of all WDB’s (weird dog behaviors), humping is often especially embarrassing for pawrents.  

Is Humping Sexual?

Against popular belief, humping most often doesn't have anything to do with sexual arousal.  It’s often an act of dominance that can be directed at another dog or their human.  Sometimes it’s a sign that the dog is acting out either because of stress or over stimulation.

Why does my dog hump me and no one else?

While your dog humping you may not seems like a sign of love, dogs hump the people there are closest to and have formed an emotional bond with. Just like your human child who may be mean to you but very nice to everyone else. It's extremely frustrating but often because you are the person they feel the safest with, dogs do the same thing in that they hump the people they feel safe with. 

Why does my dog hump the air?

Dogs usually hump the air out of pent up frustration or excitement. Before a dog is neutered it can be a sign of rising testosterone levels. 

Why does my dog hump and bite me?

Although it feels counterintuitive, your dog humping or biting you is not sexual. It is normal for both male and female dos to do this. It could be as simple as being excited to see you. It could be a way for your dog to get your attention. Dogs are super smart and if this has worked to get your attention in the past than guess what... it may work again!! Even if your response is negative it's still you engaging with your pooch. 

how to calm dogs, best dog bed

Waffles and Seashell, two Chihuahua "sisters", choose to share their bed

I recently got my dog Penny a “calming dog bed”  a donut shaped floofy pillow with a soft feathery cover.  Lets just say this bed had the opposite effect on Penny, she really liked it and couldn't control her animal instinct in its presence! Sometimes a stuffed animal or in Penny’s case dog bed can overstimulate a pup into humping behavior. 

That said, in most cases a calming dog bed is very soothing for a dog and they will lounge in it at your feet all day long. Our favorite is The Best Friends Calming Dog Bed by Sheri which comes in lots of sizes and colors 

TIP: Sometimes Humping can be a medical problem. Irritation, or in male dogs, prostate issues can result in humping. Call or email your vet if you are concerned. 

In the case of unspayed puppies or dogs humping is a result of what it looks like which is a sexual impulse.

Can You Stop Your Dog From Humping?

First it's important to rule out any medical issues.  If your dog is licking, scratching or biting itself in addition to humping, please make an appointment with your veterinarian.

You should also consider if there is anything that is stressful in your dog's life that can be causing this behavior.

If both the problem isn’t medical or emotional the best approach is training. Humping is an act of dominance, so it is important to teach your dog that although they are your best friend, they are not in control of this relationship!

How to set boundaries with your dog

Setting boundaries will result in less stress for you and your dog.
One of our favorite training devices at Pride+Groom is the Pet Convincer. We don’t know exactly why it works as all it does is emit a little air but our dogs hate it. It’s gotten to the point where all I have to do is hold it up and my dogs stop in their tracks 

dog running like crazy in grass, dog zooms

Why do dogs get the ZOOMIES?

ZOOMIES, last but not least our absolute favorite WDB deserves a blog all its own!

Check out our bog on Zoomies!

Our blog has been listed in Top 50 Dog grooming blogs, we are #6!

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