Why do dogs do the things they do? Most dog owners seem to ask this question, when they get an opportunity and it’s completely understandable, because dogs have the tendency to behave in certain ways, that not only draw attention to them but also give the owners concern.
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So what then is responsible for these dog behaviors? Strangely, the answer lies in the behavioral patterns of the humans that surround a dog.
This can be seen when temperament (natural state) and behavior (action based on temperament) are considered. This helps to define a dog’s natural state in contrast to learned behaviors. Well, that’s an issue to be discussed on another day. This article aims to examine the typical behavior of dogs and why they may be doing them often.
There are so many dog behaviors to consider but we will take a look at the most common ones. This should be able to answer most of your questions on why do dogs do things they do.
Why Does My Dog Lick Me:
This is a common behavior in most dogs. While this may not be a problem when a dog does it moderately, it does become an issue when a dog licks all the time.
So why does a dog lick? From the first day of birth, a dog communicates with her puppies, stimulates them to breathe, and cleans them up by licking them. It is a very important instinct that every dog learns or exhibits naturally.
Also, you’ll find puppies licking around the mouth of their mother frequently. It is a habit that they retain even when they are no longer considered to be puppies.
In some cases, dogs tend to show submission by licking their owner. It is a gesture that does not go down well with many owners. While they may think something is wrong with their dog, the dog may just be trying to demonstrate its loyalty and affection towards them.
dogs equally like the salty taste of their owner’s skin and tend to make a habit of licking it. While licking, dogs tend to release pleasurable endorphins that bring them comfort and a sense of relaxation. It’s similar to the feeling we get when we bite our nails.
If your dog is licking you purely out of affection, and you want it to stop, all you need to do is ignore it. When your dog licks you and you ignore it by walking away, then it begins to learn that licking leads to you walking away.
You can rest assured that within a short while, your dog will stop its excessive licking actions.
However, you need to be sure that your dog isn’t having a skin condition or experiencing any pain when you notice that it is constantly licking itself. A visit to the veterinarian should clear any doubt.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass Sometimes:
Are you bothered that your dog is munching on grass? Well, you are right to feel concerned, when your dog starts to feed on a substance it normally wouldn’t consider to be food.
There are many reasons for this abnormality, but it’s important to note that dogs who eat grass are not necessarily sick. In fact, statistics show that less than 10% of dogs that eat grass were sick before they started grazing. So when you see your dog eating grass, these few things should come to your mind.
1. Your dog may be trying to induce itself to vomit when it isn’t feeling well by eating grass. As true as this may sound, some quarters believe this is not possible as dogs aren’t smart enough to carry out this act. Also, eating grass doesn’t always lead to vomiting.
2. Your dog may be experiencing improved digestion or probably trying to complement a nutritional imbalance. Most times, dogs that eat grass may be looking for a way to get more fiber into their diet or treat intestinal worms.
Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads:
Dogs do a lot of cute and adorable things and that’s why we love them, right? Of all the adorable things a dog is capable of doing, tilting their heads stand out.
It makes them look intelligent and gives you a feeling that they are trying to understand a situation. Experts would tell you that when a dog tilts its head, it is trying to show empathy. Cute right? But why do they do it?
Dogs are intelligent enough to understand human behavior and pick up some vocal tones. So when we make certain weird sounds or gestures, they tilt their head signifying that “this is weird”.
Sometimes this action may be in response to visual cues more than auditory. Dog muzzles tend to make it difficult for them to pick up the source of the sound. So they tilt their head to see our faces and try to understand us better.
Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poo:
Your dog was probably born to eat poo. Surprised? Well, before the domestication of dogs, they were mostly scavengers that fed on the waste product of other animals.
So a little of their history and natural instincts may still be left in them. However, there are some reasons why your dog may decide to start eating its own poo.
1. dogs are fast learners and they may easily pick up the habit of eating their own poop. Puppies who are in a learning process may eat their poop. This is because they learn by basically putting everything they see in their mouth and eating poop is part of this process.
2. Health issues could lead to dogs eating their own poo. This could be as a result of their bodies not absorbing enough nutrients or they are dealing with some dangerous parasites in their stomach. An issue with the pancreas could also be a major cause of this abnormality.
A visit to the vet will give you a clearer picture of what may be wrong with your pet.
3. Experts suggest that dogs sometimes eat poo so as to be able to prepare their stomach to digest certain food, by replenishing specific enzymes. While this may not be the case all the time, some dogs may find it difficult to digest some food that contains protein and carbohydrates, so they eat stool to get the enzymes that may be missing.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws:
Dogs tend to lick their paws from time to time but when they do it to the point of bleeding, then a serious problem exists. But why do they lick their paws excessively?
A reaction to a bad diet could be the issue. Most dog foods are packed with several fiber and grains which may lead to dogs craving meat since they are carnivores. Hence, excessive licking of the paws is a desperate attempt to taste blood or meat.
It could also be a reaction to a yeast infection. Symptoms of which may be excessive itching or licking of the paws.
Dog food should contain a lot of meat and meaty extract. If your dog lacks that, it’s probably wise to adjust its diet.
Why are Dogs’ Noses Wet:
The level of moisture in the nose of a dog can change for a lot of reasons. Therefore, it’s important not to panic if your own dog does not have a wet nose, which for most owners is the typical stereotype.
Dog noses discharge mucus when they are trying to track a scent. When they are sniffling along, they do pick up moisture along the way, plus, they are also sweating through their noses.
Why Do Dogs Pant:
If dogs need to cool down, they usually pant, which increases airflow. When we exercise, we sometimes can even pant and sweat.
However, because of their coats, dogs sweat through their noses and the pads on their paws, not through their skin. If your dog appears to pant too much and you are concerned, then a visit to the vet is what we recommend, as it could be an underlying reason for stress or pain.
Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt:
Experts have said that eating dirt is because your dog is bored. If you think this is the case, then ensure that you provide your dog with plenty of stimulation and exercise.
They also might have picked up this habit, when eating grass. (see this relevant part above). It is also pointed out that this behavior is not natural in the wild.
Why Do Dogs Run Away:
In most cases, a dog that runs is looking for stimulation and adventure. So please ensure that you provide this to prevent them from running.
In fact, roaming is part of the genetic makeup of the dog. A lot are searching for a mate, so this is one of the reasons to have your dog neutered.
Most dogs are happy within their home, so if they do run, the natural assumption is that the dog is unhappy. It will scare the life out of any dog owner if their pet goes missing.
Why Do Dogs Dig Holes and Bury Things:
They do this behavior of digging and burying, because of their natural instincts. In the wild, if they happen to have a food excess, they could not leave it out in the open. They ran the risk of predators finding their location or a rival eating it.
So when your favorite pet digs up the favorite part of your garden to bury a bone, just think about how their lives in the wild would be.
Why Do Dogs Circle Before Laying Down:
This type of behavior is actually very natural, though it is a bit concerting when carried out on your best carpet.
When it is in the wild, it only has cold ground, dirt, and grass, not its comfy bed or rug. So in order to warm up the ground, it would have to carry out this behavior.
Digging into the earth helps them to regulate the body temperature during the seasons. Keeping them warm in the colder weather and cooler when it was hot by digging a nest.
As you already know, there are a lot of reasons why dogs behave in certain ways. However, before we jump to conclusions, we need to make sure that our care for them isn’t to be questioned
I do hope that we have covered the most common questions concerning your dog’s behavior. However, we would appreciate a comment below if we have left one out that you would like to know more about.
If your dog’s behavior is in any way concerning you, we always recommend that you contact your local vet to reassure your valid concerns and rule out any health issues.
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