K-9 Behaviors

November 4, 2014

What Your Dogs Behaviors Mean

K-9 Mysteries Unleashed

Dogs express themselves in a “secret language” that relies on expressions, body posture, behavior and howls. Decoding canine communication is the key to both a happy dog and confident owner, but there are behaviors, body languages or social cues that can be hard for us to understand. To help you better understand your dogs odd habits, here’s 9 dog behaviors that humans commonly consider mysterious, giving you the insight to gain a better understanding of your much loved pet.

  1. Chasing Tail

This amusing behavior is simply a fun way for your dogs to expend their energy, but if a dog does this constantly they might have the presence of fleas or irritated anal glands. Tail chasing can be a sign of canine obsessive-compulsive disorder or boredom, especially in older dogs. CCD although rare can be treated with anti-obsessive medications and if you suspect it’s a medical condition, you should speak to your veterinarian.

  1. Licking You

LICKING FACES of humans and other dogs is an appeasing gesture to submit or acknowledge who is boss. When a puppy does this, it can be a food request. You may not always want your dog to cover you in slobbery kisses and licks, but it’s actually their way of showing affection or your dog has probably figured out that licking you tends to get your attention. Some researchers say licking is a sensory tool for dogs similar to reaching out and touching something.

  1. Head Tilt

The head tilt, although not fully understood, might actually signify your dog’s attempt to make sense of what it hears. Some experts believe that dogs tilt their heads when they think there is a possibility that what is being said could lead to something important to the dog — an activity they enjoy, for example. Since dogs can understand some human language, including words and tone of voice, a head-cocking dog could be concentrating on picking out a key word or inflection that relates to that favorite activity.

  1. Eating Poop

This habit is gross, but many things can cause coprophagy (medical term for consuming feces) and they might be hungry or likes the smell and taste. It’s possible they’re missing key nutrients from their diet or might just think it’s fun. It’s not a behavior we want to dwell on, so for everyone’s sake, we’ll just say that if your dog is fond of eating you-know-what, ask your veterinarian for help.

  1. Howling

Wolves howl to send messages to pack members who might be far away. They also emit the loud, low-pitched sound to enforce rank and it makes sense out in the wild, but why do domesticated canines do it? It could just be a behavior passed on from their ancestral cousins, but behaviorists think howling is instinctively necessary and rewarding for dogs.

  1. Humping Objects or Other Dogs

Humping whether it’s on other dogs, your leg or on an object is usually not for sexual reasons, it’s normal behavior and probably not an attempt to dominate. More likely, neutered and spayed dogs hump because they are excited or seeking attention. To prevent this embarrassing behavior, ignore it or try to redirect it with a treat or toy.

  1. Starring at You

Are your canine’s eyes always trained on you? Chances they’re hoping you’ll give a treat or shower them with praise and affection and it’s hard to resist those puppy-dog eyes. It’s important to keep in mind that some dogs consider direct eye contact threatening, so before you gaze back, make sure your pet is not showing any signs of aggression or fear.

  1. Circles Around Before Lying Down

Sometimes we just want to tell our dogs that no matter how many times they walk in a circle before lying down in their bed, it won’t change their resting spot’s level of comfort. You can blame your dog’s ancestors for this curious ritual because some behaviorists believe that when wolf-like dogs lived in the wild, they would walk around a spot to pat down the leaves or grass to create a nice nesting spot.

  1. Sniffs Other Dogs Butts

A dogs way of saying, “hello or nice to meet you,” to another dog is to sniff the other dog’s butt. In the dog world, this is a socially acceptable form of greeting, but why sniffs butts? A dog’s ability to smell is 10,000 times better than ours, and, well, there are a lot of revealing aromas that come from a canine’s rear end.