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Why Does My Dog Do That?

Behavior and Training  •   Jasey Day  •   May 09, 2016

Do you ever look at your dog's antics and wonder, “why are you doing that?” Here are some quick answers to the common queries!

Why is my dog eating grass?

Is he going to get sick? Not necessarily. According to WebMD, less than 25% of dogs that eat grass vomit regularly after munching on the green stuff. Although some dogs may feel ill and may then eat grass to help themselves empty their upset stomachs, many dogs simply eat grass because they are bored, they like it, or they have a nutritional deficiency (such as lacking fiber). My dogs eat grass for fun – the taller the grass, the better. I joked the other day that I own goats and not dogs. However, be sure your dogs are not consuming harmful pesticides or other lawn care products.

Why is my dog rolling around in grass/stinky stuff/gross things?

First, your dog may want to brag to all his doggie friends (via smell) about where he’s been! Second, your dog may be acting out his ancestral desire to “mask his scent” when hunting for prey. Third, your dog may just be scratching his back or drying off. How clever! And finally…they’re just rolling around in smelly stuff because they are dogs and it’s a normal dog behavior.  What’s appealing to your dog may not be appealing to you! Scents that my dog considers to be awesome cologne - dead fish and rabbit droppings - are usually unappealing to me! I bet it’s vice versa, too.

Why is my dog digging on his dog bed?

My dogs sometimes dig so hard that they tear bed covers! This drive to dig in their beds is actually genetically wired – dogs want to create a “nest” or a “den” as if they were sleeping in the wild. Dogs sleeping outdoors often dig a little half hole in which to sleep. You can see the dogs in the Disney movie “Eight Below” waking up in their little dog-made igloos – the insulation of snow, or even dirt, helps dogs regulate their body temperature! Finally, your dog may just want to rearrange his bedding. Don’t you ever fluff your pillows?

Why is my dog kicking up dust and dirt after he eliminates?

Your pup is double marking his spot! He isn’t covering up his scent – he’s trying to further indicate, “I’ve been here and this place is mine right now! Muahahahahaha!”  Dog have glands in their paws that secrete pheromones. A great way to release those scents is that sliding, heel-kicking dance!

Why is my dog “mounting?”

My dogs only seem to hump when they are playing with dogs outside of their “sibling” dogs or when I have company over.  Seeing our dogs bust out their best mounting moves in front of company can be embarrassing! Contrary to popular belief, few dogs use humping as a status builder to dominate other dogs or for solely romantic endeavors. Humping is often driven by (1) Anxiety  - Who isn’t anxious when some company is over? (2) Excitement displacement – “I’m so happy and excited that I’m going to hump you or a nearby object.” After all, your dog needs to put his energy somewhere! (3) Play and (4) Pleasure – This doggie move feels nice!

And now you know!

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