Strangely normal!

Reading the behaviours of our dogs.

Apologies, going straight into this republication of an article that appeared on the Care2 blogsite back in June. Didn’t get to sit down in front of my computer until 4pm.

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7 Totally Normal (But Kind of Weird) Dog Behaviors

1384665.largeBy: Katie Waldeck June 19, 2016

About Katie

It’s not surprising that our beloved canine companions’ behavior is sometimes confusing to us. After all, it’s not like they can tell us why they do certain things! But is your pooch’s behavior normal, or a sign of something more troubling?

And, for that matter, are common dog behaviors totally fine, or something we should be working to stop? Oftentimes, the answer is the former. Read on to discover some of the strangest dog behaviors that are actually totally normal.

1. Barking at Mirrors

If you show a human baby a mirror, they don’t always recognize themselves— young infants lack the self-awareness needed to do that — and dog babies are no exception. Most of the time, dogs grow out of it as they age, losing interest in their own reflections. Dogs are much less affected by visual events than humans, relying far more on their sense of smell to gather information. Since the dog in the mirror doesn’t have its own smell, most dogs tend to lose interest pretty quickly.

2. Being Scared of Thunderstorms

Dogs have far more sensitive hearing than humans, so it’s understandable that the loud noises accompanying storms don’t exactly delight our canine companions. But there may actually be more behind this fear — some scientists believe that dogs can actually detect changes in barometric pressure leading up to a storm. Thunderstorms can send even the best-behaved dogs into anxious fits, and unfortunately, it can be difficult to break even the healthiest dog of this habit. There are strategies to cope, however, such as providing a safe place for dogs to go during storms or dressing them in snug-fitting shirts that function similarly to swaddling a baby.

3. Eating Poop

Though it’s certainly not appetizing to us humans, many dogs eat poop. Eating feces is actually a fairly typical behavior for canine mothers, because it cleans the area where they are caring for their puppies. Some evidence also suggests that dogs eat feces when they’re lacking in certain nutrients. Eating poop can even be a way to get your attention and alleviate anxiety. This is not exactly a GOOD behavior for dogs, however, and solutions for it are mostly simple. Supervision and simple commands like “Leave it” and “Come” are often enough to curb most dogs’ fecal fascination, and vitamin and enzyme supplementation can work for dogs whose diets are missing nutrients.

4. Spinning Around in Circles

Plenty of dogs spin around and around for what seems like forever. Some breeds, including bull terriers in particular, are especially susceptible to this behavior. While this is often normal dog behavior, it can also be a sign of stress or anxiety. Whatever the reason your pooch spins in circles, this behavior should be nipped in the bud. The best way to do that? Well, get them moving and thinking. Take them on walks. Give them toys that stimulate their mind. If that still doesn’t work, you might need a dog behavior expert to intervene.

5. Separation Anxiety.

Many dogs experience separation anxiety — they just love you THAT much! Often, this is a result of changes in routines, moving, household membership changes or after moving in with a new family. It’s totally normal, but, unsurprisingly, it isn’t the best behavior for your pet’s mental health. The key to breaking your pooch of this behavior is to identify how big of a problem it is before you go about fixing it. Click here for detailed ways to help break this habit.

6. Hating Other Dogs.

Dogs who weren’t socialized at an early age around fellow canines will understandably have some aggression towards unknown dogs. Conversely, some dogs that have been socialized around other dogs seem to pick and choose which dogs they like. Why is that? Well, dogs aren’t all that different than humans in that regard — sometimes we just don’t like certain people. Dogs perceive a massive amount of information through scent, and two dogs may find something off-putting about each other’s smells. Dogs may also be overprotective of their owners or have something in their history that makes them especially distrustful of certain other kinds of dogs. Avoiding another dog at the park isn’t much cause for concern, but if your dog is consistently aggressive, it’s time to consult a veterinary behaviorist.

7. Having Sensitive Spots.

Some dogs have areas where they just don’t like to be touched. There can be several reasons for this — everything from a recent injury to poor socialization as a puppy — but, often, this is simply because, well, dogs just don’t like to be touched in certain spots. Think about it this way: plenty of humans don’t want to be patted on the butt by people they don’t know. In fact, most don’t! This can be perfectly innocuous — or it can be a sign of trouble. Dogs that demonstrate overly aggressive behavior regardless of where they’re touched may be in need of a behavior expert. You can read more about this here.

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Any thoughts dear people?

7 thoughts on “Strangely normal!

  1. I am sure animals do detect when storms are near Paul, seen it happen a few times with animals.. I also saw a documentary, on Eden I think, on how Elephants could detect an electrical storm.

    1. Thanks Sue. No doubt in my mind that there’s much about our dogs, and many other ‘smart’ animals, that we humans are a long way from fully understanding. (Might prompt a new post from me!)

  2. We have a “spinner” Paul! Initially we thought it was excitement, but it turns out she has something like ADHD and needs to have something to focus on and do. She gets lots of walks and loves one on one training!
    I enjoyed the post!

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