Easy to please and entertain, dogs may seem like simple-minded creatures, but there's a lot more to those slobbery smiles and wagging tails than meets the eye. Everything your dog does is done for a reason, from the most common behaviors to the most complex. With the help of some pooch pros, we've figured out some of the most baffling doggie behaviors. Read on and discover the "whys" and "becauses" behind your clever canine's occasionally confusing actions.
Why are dogs often aggressive to post office workers?
Since the dawn of the delivery boy, mailmen and dogs have had a pretty rocky relationship. According to the U.S. Postal Service, 5,669 postal employees were attacked by dogs in more than 1,400 U.S. cities last year. While this may seem like an alarming number, think about it for a second -- how would you feel if some strange person invaded your property unexpectedly and left things on your doorstep? Pretty annoying, right? Your dog feels the same exact way. So don't blame Bruiser for his incessant barking -- he's only trying to protect you!
From your watchdog's perspective, his barking is what drives the "intruder" away from the house, giving him the impression that he's done something right. When the mailman comes back the next day, your dog has gained a bit more confidence and will try again to scare him off. If you can no longer handle the tension and barking, try and introduce your protective pup to the mailman. The more familiar he is, the less threatened he'll feel. Maybe you can even train him to deliver the mail to you directly from the mailman! [Free Dog Training Info]
Why do dogs have wet noses?
When your nose gets cold and runny, it's nature's way of telling you to stock up on your vitamin C because you're getting sick. But when it comes to dogs, it means they're happy and healthy! Dogs don't sweat, so the only way for them to cool down is through their mouth and nose. Between panting and a bit of moisture on his nose, your dog is able to maintain the proper body temperature.
In addition to keeping themselves cool, having a wet nose helps keep doggie smelling senses at their best. Finally, another reason your dog's nose is wet is simply because he likes to lick his nose. [Wise Geek]
Is it true that dogs can sense earthquakes before they happen?
We can all agree that dogs are intelligent creatures, but before you parade around claiming yours has psychic powers, you may want to consider the following information. ALL animals have extremely keen senses giving them the ability to pick up on things better or before we humans can. One example of this is earthquakes.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, animals can sense early, but weak shocks people may not feel. They may also be able to sense an electrical signal generated by the movement of underground rocks prior to the quake. The next time your hound goes howling for no apparent reason, you may want to take note and find refuge. You've been warned. [Gizmodo]
Why do dogs drink from the toilet?
Ah, there's nothing quite like finding out your dog just took a sip from the toilet after giving you a slobbery, wet kiss on the lips. Why, oh, why does your dog prefer the good ol' toilet over his designer water dish?
Crawl into your pup's head for a second -- the toilet water changes more often than the water in their own bowl and is held in a cool porcelain chalice which keeps it nice and cold for drinking. If this behavior is troublesome, just be sure to either shut the lid of the toilet or keep the bathroom door closed. [SeattleTimes]
Why do dogs like to kick after they poop?
There are two explanations for why your dog likes to kick the ground behind him after he does his business. It's not because he's messy or trying to ruin your brand new pair of shoes. First of all, he's just trying to be polite! Dogs want to cover up the smell and clean up the mess they've made by kicking the dirt, grass and whatever goodies they've left behind.
The second reason is that it’s just their natural instinct. Much like their wolf relatives, dogs feel the need to mark their territory by spreading their scent. There's a lot more to those fuzzy paws than you think; between the pads of their paws are scent glads. This means when they scratch and kick the ground behind them, they are able to leave traces of themselves for other dogs to sniff out later on. [Healthy Pet]
Why do dogs chase their tails?
We've all seen a dozen or so dogs in our day, chasing their own tails in pure amusement, over and over again. Yes, 'tis very cute (as demonstrated on thousands of videos on YouTube), but have you ever stopped to wonder why they like doing it so much? There are a few explanations for this common behavior, the most obvious one being that they're just bored! It all starts as a young puppy when they are figuring out all the different parts of their body and when they are separated from their litter mates. "I got your tail! Oh wait, I got MY tail!"
As dogs grow older, they continue to partake in this action for other reasons besides boredom. Anxiety or attention-seeking may also be the reason why your dog is chasing his tail. However, this habit may also signal medical issues such as an irritation in the anal region or high cholesterol. (In humans, high cholesterol can result in obsessive compulsive disorder or panic attacks.) In most cases, tail-chasing is completely normal and nothing to worry about. However, if the behavior persists and becomes excessive, it may be wise to ask a veterinarian what he or she thinks. [Associated Content]
Why do dogs love bones?
It's common knowledge that all dogs love bones, but the reason behind it is less apparent. Like many of your dog's natural behaviors, we turn to evolution for an explanation. Bones, the marrow inside it and the fat around them were considered an important source of nutrients for both man and dog, thus making bone chewing and eating necessary, nutritional and pleasurable. This behavior was carried on to man's best friend today, which explains why your dogs go crazy for a bone of any size or shape. [Psychology Today]
Why do dogs hump things?
True or False: Your dog's humping is a totally normal and sexual behavior. If you said true OR false, you're technically right AND wrong. Your puppy or dog mounting on your leg, a pillow, or another dog is completely normal, but it doesn’t mean he's trying to engage in sexual activity. While humping is most likely sexual in nature, it is also a common, playful gesture much like jumping or barking.
Humping is quite common among puppies and dogs who haven't been neutered or spayed; however, don't be alarmed if you see your older pet in action. If you're concerned your dog is too old for this kind of behavior, don't be. Your dog is merely trying to show dominance to others. If you find that your dog's humping is extreme or unusual, you may want to bring him to the vet. In some cases, this behavior can be seen when an infection or irritation is present. [WebMD]
Why do dogs fetch?
Fetching for dogs is as much of a natural tendency as barking or licking. Many of your dog's common behaviors can be explained by taking a look back at their primitive selves. In order to survive in the wild, wolves had to prey on and retrieve their own food. These skills, which included going after and fetching animals, are all inherent to their hunting instincts.
Over time, fetching has become more of a game and less of a task for domestic dogs. Playing fetch with your dog is important in his development, so be sure to throw a ball or frisbee around with him whenever you get a chance. [Dog Supplies Advice]
Why do dogs walk in circles before sitting down?
Think about your bedtime ritual -- what do you do before you fall asleep? Put your pajamas on, adjust your pillows, turn the lights off, etc. All these things you do ensure that you'll have the most comfortable sleep. Well, dogs aren't much different from us. Instead of tucking themselves underneath their comforter, your dog walks in circles to make sure wherever he's chosen to sleep is cozy enough for him to fall asleep on.
After all, dogs didn't always have comfy, quilted beds to doze off on. This habit of walking in circles was passed on from their ancestors who used to have to flatten out the grass, snow and dirt underneath them to make a comfortable sleeping place. But if you find that your dog walks in circles without lying down, you may want to pay more attention to his behavior. Your dog's ears are one of the balance centers of his body, so if he had an ear infection, it could cause him to lose his balance and begin circling around. In such an instance, best to check in with the vet. [Husky Training]