Why Does My Dog Do That ?
Have you ever watched your dog as he spins in circles before lying down, or listened as he howls at sirens, and just thought, “WHY”? We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about your dog’s behavior and health.
Read on to learn more about some of the fascinating quirks that help define our four-legged friends.
Why Does My Dog Rip Apart His Squeaky Toy?
Dogs enjoy playing with (and gutting) squeaky toys because it satisfies their natural hunting instincts. When a dog captures small animals in the wild, they vigorously shake them to kill them - and, small animals will make squeaking noises as they are being shaken. While savage to us, the primal hunter inside of your dog may like this sound. Dogs enjoy ripping apart and shaking their stuffed toys because it gives them a satisfaction similar to that of hunting and killing their prey. Many dogs will remove the squeaker before discarding the toy, while others enjoy “gutting” the entire thing and leaving the stuffing lying around on the floor.
Why Does My Dog Hump Things?
Mounting, thrusting, and humping are all normal behaviors exhibited by most dogs, both males and females alike. While this conduct can be sexual, there are several reasons why your dog may try to mount you, another dog, his bed, the air, or a guest in your house.
It’s a reaction to stress or excitement. Many dogs resort to humping as a response to anxiety or new experiences such as meeting an unfamiliar person or dog, loud noises, or other overstimulating circumstances.
He’s trying to be playful. Some sexual behaviors such as mounting are considered normal play behaviors in dogs. Some canines, however, are not socialized well and can easily become overstimulated, trying to mount other dogs in playful situations.
He’s communicating dominance. Some dogs will often hump people and each other to assert their dominance or establish social status.
Why Does My Dog Paw At Me?
He’s trying to get your attention. This is one of the most common ways that dogs are known for requesting the attention of their owners. When your dog paws at you, he is trying to direct your focus onto him. An occasional tap from your pup’s paw should not lead to any issues, however, if he learns that pawing at you will grant him what he demands - your attention - then you may have the beginnings of a behavioral problem on your hands.
Why Does My Dog Have a Wet Nose?
The better to smell you with, my dear” - a dog’s nose discharges a thin layer of mucus that helps absorb scents (odor molecules). A dog can then lick his noses and draw the molecules onto the roof of his mouth where sensitive olfactory (sniffing) glands process the scent before sending it to his brain for interpretation.
It helps keep him cool and regulate his body temperature. Dogs are covered in fur, and they are unable to sweat through their skin as humans do, so their bodies are equipped to “sweat” through their noses and the pads of their paws.
Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?
The last time you checked, your furry friend did not resemble some type of livestock!! So why, then, is he grazing in the yard like a cow?
First, rest assured that it is not uncommon for dogs to eat grass. The term pica is used to describe behavior that involves eating things that are not food. However, this particular type of pica has been seen in all types of dogs, both wild and domesticated, and does not indicate any evidence of a problem. Dogs can eat grass for a variety of reasons, most of which are completely normal.
Upset stomach - Many pet parents assume that their dog is eating grass to induce vomiting, but evidence suggests that more than 90% of dogs who eat grass are not unwell, to begin with, and less than 25% of the dogs that eat grass throw up. It is possible, however, that dogs eat grass because of gastric upset, as research shows that grass-eating does tend to facilitate vomiting6 in dogs who are already showing signs of illness.
Hunger - one particular study shows that dogs see grass as a food source7 and are more likely to eat grass when they have an empty stomach rather than after they have eaten their regular meals.
Purging intestinal worms - research conducted on wild wolf droppings finds evidence of grass in 11 to 47% of the stool samples studied, indicating that eating grass could help purge parasites from the animal’s intestines. As the grass passes through the intestinal tract, the fibrous matter causes intestinal contractions and wraps around the worms or nematodes which may be infecting the dog.7
It tastes delicious - while there is no evidence to support this claim when all other factors are considered and ruled out as possible reasons for your dog’s lawn-munching, it is possible that he could just like the way that it tastes.
Another common belief is that dogs eat grass because of nutritional deficiencies, however, no evidence has been found to support this claim. Grass eating is just as frequent in dogs who have their diets supplemented with plant matter as those who are fed a carnivorous diet.
While most experts agree that eating grass isn’t harmful to dogs, keep in mind that that certain lawn pesticides and herbicides can be toxic to your pup. It is essential to keep a watchful eye on your dog while he is munching on the grass, and always make sure that the plant life that he is eating is non-toxic and chemical-free.
Why Does My Dog Have Cloudy Eyes?
While your dog ages, you may notice that his pupils take on a cloudy, grayish-blue appearance. Nuclear sclerosis, also known as lenticular sclerosis, is the most common cause of cloudy eyes in dogs over the age of six. It is a normal change experienced by dogs as they age. It is characterized by both a hardening and clouding over of the lens. It is painless, comes on gradually and affects both eyes equally so your dog should be able to adjust to any minor changes in his vision over time.
Other causes of hazy blue eyes can be more serious and require veterinary attention including:
Cataracts - clouding of the eye’s lense
Glaucoma - increased pressure in the eye due to fluid buildup
Corneal dystrophy - an inherited disorder which causes the abnormal deposit of substances on the cornea
Anterior Uveitis - inflammation in the iris and front of the eye
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Around?
He’s your biggest fan, so he’s stalking you - or at least it may feel like it. Your dog lies on your feet, follows you to the bathroom, watches every move that you make. From the very beginning of their lives, dogs instinctively follow their littermates around in search of food and adventure. Dogs are pack animals by nature, and even as adults they are hard-wired to stick with the members of their community, particularly the alphas who provide them with food, shelter, and affection. Whether you find it annoying or endearing to have a furry companion constantly underfoot, rest assured knowing that this is a sign of your dog’s loyalty and camaraderie.
Why Does My Dog Chase His Tail?
He may have fleas. Dogs with flea infestations typically bite or chew the area at the base of their tail.
It is possible that his anal glands (sacs) are irritated. Anal glands are small pouches under your dog’s skin, near his anus. They secrete an unpleasant-smelling, fatty substance when your dog passes stool and can become impacted or infected.
He may be bored, and his tail serves as a mobile form of entertainment.
He may have been confined too long in a crate or cage.
He could have Canine Compulsive Disorder. Not unlike Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, found in humans, CCD occurs when a dog displays one or more compulsive and repetitive behaviors, over and over again, to the point where it interferes with its normal life and functioning.
It could just be in his genes. Heredity can play a role in tail chasing, and certain breeds such as German shepherds, Australian cattle dogs, bull terriers, and Doberman pinschers show a greater propensity for the behavior.
Why Does My Dog Spin in Circles Before Pooping?
A recent study, published in 2013, found that dogs prefer to eliminate with their body axis aligned with the Earth’s magnetic field3. The researchers discovered that dogs prefer the North-South axis and will spin in a circle until they align their bodies accordingly. While the study did show a definite preference for the North-South axis and a clear avoidance of the East-West axis, researchers were unable to understand the reason why dogs use the Earth’s magnetic fields to determine where to eliminate.
However, in a more recent study that was published in 2016, researchers in Germany learned more about this particular sense which is known as magnetoreception. They have found evidence that magnetoreception is also linked to the visual systems of dogs and other mammalian species—meaning that dogs (and certain other mammals) might have the capability of seeing these fields, not just sensing them for the purpose of relieving themselves.
The German researchers discovered a light-sensitive molecule called cryptochrome 14 in the eyes of dogs as well as in other mammals. They examined 90 different species of mammals and determined that cryptochrome 1 was present in the blue-sensitive cones of the eyes of dog-like carnivores such as dogs and wolves, bears, badgers, foxes, and even in some primates.
Cryptochrome 1 bears a striking resemblance to the cryptochrome 1a molecule which is present in migratory birds and gives them the ability to recognize magnetic fields. The research team concluded that the presence and location of the cryptochrome 1 molecule within the dogs’ retinas might provide them with the ability to recognize magnetic fields in much the same way.