Why Does My Dog Do That? 9 Weird Dog Behaviors Explained

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated: March 8, 2023 / Published: January 16, 2023

You’re sleeping comfortably in bed, and you open your eyes once the alarm sounds off. When you do, you realize your adorable pup is staring at you (and has been for some time). You laugh and hug them.

As you’re sitting at the dining table drinking coffee, you realize your dog does some weird things. As the day unfolds, you catch yourself looking at your dog to see if they do anything else that’s bizarre. Maybe the compulsive licking or the digging at random places seem odd to you. You wonder to yourself, why does my dog do that? That’s just so weird! 

All these things have a reason! Sometimes they are rooted in something psychological, and at other times, they are just part of your playful pup’s personality. The important thing is understanding them and working on those behaviors if they aren’t good for your dog.

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CitizenShipper understands that your pup is part of your family, and we’re dedicated to ensuring dog parents understand their beloved pets. So, we’ll take a closer look at some weird dog behaviors, explain them and see if we answer your questions.

The List of Weird Dog Behavior Explained!

Adorable Chasing Tail GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

#1: Tail Chasing

Typically, tail chasing means that your dog is bored or wants attention. Make sure your dog’s getting enough physical and mental stimulation.

Keep in mind that if you reprimand them for doing something bad, your dog can perceive that as attention, even if it’s negative. Tail chasing could also be an underlying medical condition. If your dog is suffering from an intestinal tapeworm inside their body, they may be itching and want to scratch themselves. You should go to the vet ASAP if it seems unusually excessive. If your dog chews its tail, it could be a sign of OCD and it’s smart to take them to the veterinarian to see what can be done.

Regardless of the cause, if you want to redirect their behavior, the first step is to simply ignore them when they chase their tail. You can also avert their attention once they start chasing their tail. You can distract them with their favorite toy or a delicious treat. Over time, your dog will learn not to chase its tail.

Dog Lick GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

#2: Compulsive Licking

You probably think that licking means doggie kisses. Well, unfortunately, that’s not exactly true. Experts have stated that in wild canines, like wolves, puppies lick their mother’s mouths after a hunt. This all means that your dog probably wants the food you just ate (or you taste delicious to them).

Licking isn’t usually a problem until your dog is compulsively licking themselves or other objects. It can be a sign of stress, anxiety or even pain. You should watch out for this and visit a veterinarian if it becomes a noticeable problem. If the vet rules out an underlying condition, try redirecting the problem. Distract your dog with other things when they start licking and reward them with a treat. After a while, your doggo will decrease or even stop the licking.

Dog Digs Impressive Hole GIF by ViralHog - Find & Share on GIPHY

#3: Digging

Your guess on digging is probably the correct one. Digging goes back to the days when dogs were wild animals. So what about in the present day, for your domesticated dogs? The answer is simple. They are instinctively looking for prey or they may be wired to dig a little bed and a comfortable, safe place to lie down. The digging could also be a way to bury food (to eat later), as their wolf ancestors did.

If your dog digs holes in your beautiful yard and you are afraid they’ll destroy your prized hydrangeas, you need to stop them from digging by redirecting the behavior. Identify the why first. Boredom means your dog needs stimulation — take them out for walks and give them a lot of exercise. Anxiety means your dog needs confidence boosting — give them treats and spend more time with them to achieve that. Another great idea is to provide them with a digging area and attach learned mechanisms, like rewarding them for digging them there (or castigating them for digging outside the area).

#4: Howling

Just like humans, dogs love to attract attention. Howling is a form of making their presence seen (or heard, in this instance). It’s really a form of communication. Of course, if you want your dog to stop howling all the time, you need to identify the why first and then redirect the behavior. It could be anxiety-related or an underlying medical condition.

If the howling is something a vet can fix, then bam, you’re good. Anxiety (most likely separation anxiety) or stress-related howling can best be addressed by redirecting the behavior. If that isn’t enough, you can take them to a special dog behaviorist for treatment.

#5: Eating Feces

Let’s be honest: our beloved doggos can be the most adorable things in the universe, but they can also do some repulsive stuff. Drinking from the toilet? Sniffing other dogs’ butts? Eating feces? Yeah, yikes! When a dog eats feces, don’t worry. It’s actually in a dog’s genetic disposition to eat feces (also called coprophagia). It was a way for ancestral wolves to get rid of bacteria and not pass it on to the rest of the pack. Mother dogs also push their puppies to eat their poop as a way to clean up after themselves.

Now that this weird dog behavior has been explained, what can you do about it? Redirect their behavior. Or, there may be an underlying medical condition or stress, so it’s best to check with a vet before redirection (and have treats handy when they do not eat their poop). Besides that, you can also use give your dogs supplements, because they sometimes miss essential nutrients from their diets.


#6: Stealing Objects

Have you ever seen your pup chewing on a shoe? Then you chase them around until you can finally take it away? Yep, it happens to everyone! What you’re doing is teaching your dog to take the shoe. Why? Because when you chase them, they think it’s a game. When you pull the shoe out of their mouths, they tug back because they think it’s a game.

The smart thing to do is to ignore them the next time they steal something. Don’t “reward” the behavior. Of course, there will be casualties to this. Another way to get rid of this behavior is to teach them to switch the belongings they want to take by playing with their own toys instead. And, of course, giving treats out when they don’t take stuff is always a good go-to.

You can always spray your precious objects with bitter apple to deter your pup. This is a popular solution among frustrated pet parents!

#7: Head Tilting

Dogs usually do this to let their owner know they are listening or want the conversation to continue. Pretty adorbs right?

Now, what if this behavior is something new you never saw in your dog? It could mean an underlying medical condition, like the neurological problem called vestibular disease. It’s always smart to take them to the vet to check them if it seems excessive or like it’s happening out of the blue.

If that’s not the case, then it’s safe to assume that it’s fine your dog is tilting its head. It’ll just provide you with a few laughs and smiles!

#8: Zoomies

Consider this scenario: you’re watching television on the couch, and suddenly your dog starts running around the living room like a crazy animal. You do several double takes and jaw drops. 

Well, that’s called the zoomies (or Frenetic Random Activity Periods). Dogs do this because sometimes they experience the need to release a burst of energy. But don’t panic, it’s perfectly normal.

If you want to ensure they don’t do this too often, then give them plenty of exercise daily. Taking them out on longer walks several times a day is one way to accomplish that, as well as playing with them more often. You can also buy them some toys and “puzzles” that will provide mental stimulation.

#9: Cuddling with Clothes

This is the most adorable of dogs’ behaviors and also the cutest! Why do dogs do this, though? The answer is simple and really sweet. The clothes have your scent on them, providing comfort and ease to your pups. Not to mention that your clothes are soft and warm.

So the next time you see them cuddling with your clothes, know that they love you and want to smell you so they can feel safe and at peace.

Recommended Toys For Your Dog

One dog behavior doesn’t need to be explained: Your dog loves toys! Whether they are nice and fluffy or chewy and squeaky, your pup will enjoy every minute of playing with that toy. Toys can also help with boredom and provide healthy stimulation. Here are some product recommendations that I’m sure your playful pup will love!

Five Pack Squeaky Plush Dog Toys

  • This adorable collection of toys contains a lion, fox, bear, pig and turtle.
  • These toys create a great sensation for your dog that will make your pup love them.
  • They are made from safe materials but are not for aggressive chewers.

Wobble Wag Giggle Ball

  • Perfect for any dog of any age and size to play with.
  • A noisemaker inside the ball will make your dog go gaga.
  • Completely safe to use and very durable.

Puppy Teething Chew Toy

  • This toy is definitely for aggressive chewers, as well as teething puppies.
  • It’s tough and durable, which is great for long-lasting fun.
  • You can also apply toothpaste, which works for  tooth-cleaning!

Tough Dog Toy

  • This toy is sturdy and specially made for aggressive chewers.
  • Made of nylon, which is safe for your dog and will not harm their teeth.
  • Your dog will love this toy because it will be exciting  and interactive.

Snuggle Puppy Toy

  • Apart from reducing stress, it also reduces negative behaviors.
  • Easy to use and safe materials for your dog.
  • Great for puppies who need a little extra comfort.
  • Your dog will absolutely enjoy playing with this toy!

Dog Interactive Puzzle

  • This puzzle will stimulate your dog’s mind.
  • Your dog can flip the puzzle to find the treats you hide in the puzzle.
  • This will encourage your dog to play positively.

Dog Behavior Explained — The Bottom Line

These interesting behaviors can be normal or coping mechanisms, and it’s important to understand why they are happening. As weird dog behavior is explained, much of the time it turns out your lovable pup is reacting to environmental factors. We want your dog to be happy and healthy, and the more you understand your cherished dog, the more you’ll have a harmonious home.

CitizenShipper is committed to ensuring pet parents bond with their cherished animals. These weird behaviors shouldn’t stop anyone from loving and caring for their pets — in fact, this behavior is part of what makes them such loveable creatures! Apart from that, we are the best place to ensure affordable, safe pet transportation, because drivers compete for your business.

Our platform offers many advantages over traditional pet transporters. Drivers are background-checked and USDA-registered  and will send you quotes within minutes when you post your pet’s transport. You can compare bids and chat with drivers across our network before you book your trip. You can also discuss your transport details directly with the driver using our instant messaging system. The driver will give you updates while on their journey.

You can save up to 60-70% compared to traditional shipping services by using CitizenShipper. And being the #1 pet transporter, CitizenShipper provides some amazing added benefits. This includes a $1,000 Pet Protection Guarantee, Booking Assurance Guarantee, direct communication with the driver who provides updates and 24/7 TeleVet access through our partner FirstVet.

If you want a hassle-free, transparent process, booking a driver through CitizenShipper is for you. It’s affordable and there are no hidden fees. Most importantly, your driver will make sure your pup is properly taken care of. 

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