We’d like to think we have dogs all figured out, but some of their behaviors are baffling. For instance, we humans do not lie on each other’s feet, and we don’t shred paper with our mouths. So why do dogs? Thankfully, animal behaviorists and other experts have decoded some of these mysterious habits.
Here, are five strange canine habits and what they mean…
The Truth Behind Your Dog’s Strange Habits
Kicks Grass After Pooping
Your dog isn’t intentionally destroying your lawn when he kicks the grass after pooping; he’s probably just trying to cover up his mess. He also could be marking his territory. Dogs have glands in their feet that secrete hormones, and a few kicks can help release those chemicals. Still, if you want your yard to be in better shape, try walking him somewhere else to go potty.
Leans on You
Some dog owners can hardly sit or stand without their canine leaning against their legs or standing on their feet. You may have heard that this behavior is a sign that your dog is trying to dominate you with his weight, but that’s merely a myth. Leaning is actually a sign of affection for many dogs. It’s a way for your pup to cuddle and get attention from his favorite human. So next time your pup leans on your legs, smile and show him some love.
Ever come home to find a room covered in toilet paper confetti? Has your dog actually eaten your homework for real? Well, you’ve got a canine paper shredder on your hands. And the reason all your favorite paperbacks are ruined is simple: Shredding paper can be fun. Some dogs just enjoy the feeling of tearing something up with their mouths. After all, in the wild, dogs often tear up their prey. Beyond the fact that cleaning up this sort of mess gets old really fast, this behavior can actually be dangerous. Dogs who swallow paper can have digestive issues, and ingesting too much paper can cause an intestinal blockage. So keep paper products out of your dog’s reach and redirect the behavior by giving him a toy to chew on, like a stuffed Kong or food puzzle.
Twitches in His Sleep
Your dog is sound asleep, but he starts moving his legs and perhaps barks a little bit. What gives? Is he chasing something in his dreams? Actually, yes, he might be doing exactly that. Just like humans,dogs dream and go through different stages of sleep. Animal experts think that dogs dream during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage and act on their dreams by moving their paws or twitching as if they were chasing a squirrel. For unknown reasons, puppies and senior dogs seem to exhibit this behavior more than adult dogs. While it can be startling to see your dog moving in his sleep, it’s usually nothing to worry about. If you want to wake him, gently call his name — or better yet, just let him sleep.
Buries Bones and Other Objects
You can go ahead and blame wolves and other wild canine ancestors for all the holes in your yard filled with treats, toys and other treasured objects. In the wild, a wolf may not know when his next substantial meal is coming, so he’ll bury the prey or prized food item and dig it up later when he needs to eat. Similarly, your dog may place high value on a treat or toy, and decide that he needs to hide it so he can enjoy it later.