10 Unusual Dog Behaviours Decoded

I sniff some revelations coming right up!

You'd be lying if you said your dog never went around in circles, or stole your favourite pair of polka-dot sockies, as you continue to rummage for them around the house. All pet owners—and doggo lovers, of course—can confirm some rather strange dog behaviours they witness, day in-day out. From sniffing dem booties to the absolutely 'paw'dorable head-tilt that'll (more often than not) get them what they want; Tanya Patel, Dog Trainer and Behaviourist, decodes 10 unusual pooch behaviours that'll give you an insight into what actually goes on in the world of your beloved fur-baby.

Tanya Patel, Dog Trainer and Behaviourist

1. Sucking or chewing on a blanket

The American Kennel Club explains that even when the mother’s milk dries up, puppies may go back to suck on a teat just for comfort. Sometimes they derive this comfort from any nearby object like a blanket or basket edge. Early-weaned pups are likely to exhibit displaced nursing behaviour in the form of blanket sucking. There is nothing wrong with this kind of self-soothing behaviour, as long as it isn’t destructive or happening constantly.

2. Stealing your underthings

It’s not uncommon to have your dog grab your pretty, laced bra out of the laundry bag, leaving all the other contents completely untouched. Most often, this is just a call for attention, as you wouldn’t scream as loud if he just grabbed your top, would you? Dogs are smarter than you think, really smart, and from your tone and responses they can gather exactly what will fetch them the best reactions. In such a situation, its better to walk off and leave your dog wondering why you aren’t chasing after him the way you usually do. Alternatively, it wouldn't hurt giving him what he wants!

3. Eating poop 

Yes, you heard that right. Dogs sometimes eat poop (of course only their own),and while you might retch at that thought, its perfectly normal for them to do so. A mother licks up her young puppies’ poop to keep the area clean and safe from the threat of prey. Some dogs also eat poop because they are hungry, some simply like it, and some may eat it to look for nutrients which they may not be getting in their daily diet. So all I can is - feed your pupper a well-balanced, nutritious diet. 

4. Kicking as you scratch their belly

We've all noticed this, haven't we? This reflex action is comparable to the knee-jerk reactions that humans show when hit with a hammer just below their knee. It is an involuntary reflex that you’ll see when you scratch your dog at a certain point on his belly, or on a certain part of his hind body. A rhythmic kicking of one leg that goes faster or slower with the scratching.

5. They like big butts and they cannot lie

Hmm, it is a little embarrassing when you introduce your dog to your friends and family, and the first thing they do is make a beeline for their crotch. When two dog’s meet each other, its natural for them to sniff the others butt. This is because there is a lot of information in the chemicals secreted by their anal sac. By doing so, they can ascertain the other dog’s gender, health, emotional state, diet etc. So when a dog goes head-forward for your crotch, just figure that he's trying to get to know you a lil better!

6. Licking your face constantly

Doggo kissies > hooman kissies. Any day. Don’t you just love it when you lift your pup up, and he showers your face with all that saliva? Contrary to popular belief, these aren’t really kisses, but a very deep-rooted behaviour. It can be explained by the fact that mothers in the wild would regurgitate food for their young pups because they couldn’t eat completely solid food. When the mother was back from a hunt, the pups would jump all over her, licking her mouth and face, and this would cause the regurgitation. Consequently, the pups would gobble up this partly-digested, chewed food, to feed themselves.

7. Howling to music or other sounds

Howling is a common behaviour exhibited by dogs. Some people make their dogs howl by howling themselves (umm, husky videos?), or by playing some music. Sometimes dog’s also howl when they hear a loud horn or siren at a distance. This is a defence mechanism wherein dogs in a pack howl to alert one another of an upcoming threat or invasion of their territory. Usually in the middle of the night you’ll hear a stray dog howling, and many pets will join in.

8. The cute head-tilt

You must’ve seen that cute head tilt when your pup hears a high-pitched sound or whistle (if you haven't, you'll find a bunch of videos online.) Dogs usually do this to angle the ear so the sound can enter the ear-canal better. It's basically a way of catching the higher frequency noise and determining the source of the sound.

9. A humper

It’s completely natural for a dog to hump your leg, or his bed, or even another dog. And mind you, this may not be a sexually-induced behaviour at all. Some dogs hump in excitement or to get attention, so just politely push them way and walk off if it happens to you. If he’s humping his bed, by all means allow him to do so, and if it bothers you, distract him with a chew-toy or a bone.

10. The classic circling

I won't blame you if you confessed that you sometimes get worried as your dog rapidly spins around in circles. Is he going berserk? No, he is certainly not. Most doggos go around in circles at the same spot, or even dig in between, just before they lie down. This gesture can be traced back to the wild, an instinct that arises in dogs who are trying to settle down all the grass, leaves etc, to make a more comfortable bed for themselves.