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7 Weird Dog Behaviors With Explanations You’d Never Expect

Every owner knows there are certain dog behaviors that have us scratching our heads. And while the reasons why may seem obvious to some, it’s never what you’d expect.

Like, why do some dogs turn away from us when we try to hug them? It’s not that they don’t love you…there’s actually a reason why some dogs absolutely hate this. And, why do dogs love to roll around in patches of mud?

Well, the real reason is both weird and disturbing. You’ll see exactly what these behaviors actually mean, but here’s the scariest one first. 

1. When dogs give you the “side eye”

The side eye, or as some like to call it… the “whale eyes,” is a quick and subtle glance or a sideways look from the corner of a dog’s eye. Yeah, it may seem cute and amusing, but the reason behind it may not always be. 

It’s possible that this may just be a playful expression from your dog, but it can also be a warning sign! For example, your dog may give the “side-eye” when guarding resources such as food, toys, and even a favorite resting spot.

And if you’re not careful, they can snap back at you. The side eyes can also mean the dog is uncertain or uneasy about something. They’re incredibly perceptive creatures and are often sensitive to changes in their environment, including the behavior of the people around them. 

Discomfort, stress and anxiety are also possible reasons for it, as side eyes can be a way of gauging the situation or assessing potential threats.

But the scariest reason they do it…may be to assert their dominance. In some cases, dogs exhibit this behavior to show their position in the social hierarchy. It can be a way for them to communicate their confidence, or even challenge your authority.

2. The reason why dogs eat grass

Sure, it’s entirely possible you have a bored and hungry dog with you, but the real meaning tends to be something much more bizarre. When humans suspect they’ve ingested something toxic, they’ll trigger vomiting by pressing the “button” at the back of their throats. 

Dogs, however, might eat grass when feeling unwell or have an upset stomach. You see, grass is not at all digestible by a dog’s digestive system. If they consume a moderate amount of grass, they most likely will vomit the grass, along with anything else they’ve eaten. 

But if you see your dog eating grass, stop them immediately. Not all dogs will vomit after eating grass. And if enough grass accumulates in your dog’s stomach, it can cause blockage and lead to some serious problems.

Instead, if you see this behavior, be extra attentive to your dog to see how they’re feeling throughout the day. If it’s obvious that they’re feeling down, take them to the vet immediately.

3. When dogs spin in circles

This next dog behavior may appear the most harmless, but it could be hiding the biggest cause for concern. And that’s when dogs spin in circles.

Dogs do this for various reasons. They spin when they’re excited to see their owners, or when they know they’re about to get their favorite treat. They may do it as a way to communicate with humans, or even as an invitation to play.

However, some dogs spin in circles as a result of a medical condition, called “Vestibular Disease.” This distressing condition affects your dog’s balance and coordination.

When they’re spinning in circles, the dog believes they’re walking straight or at least attempting to navigate towards an intended direction. But there are ways to identify whether your dog’s spinning is normal or an underlying neurological condition.

Normal dog spinning is controlled and purposeful. It’ll also be unpredictable and non-repetitive, as they may have short bursts of enthusiasm or pauses to bark and stare. 

A dog spinning due to Vestibular Disease is often uncontrolled, repetitive, and almost feels like there’s no real purpose.

Dogs with this condition may often lose their balance when they’re just standing, as they’re likely dizzy all the time. So, If you suspect your dog has this, it’s important to contact your vet immediately. 

4. When dogs “sploot”

Now here’s a much funner and light-hearted dog behavior that many owners find odd. And that’s when dogs sploot. Splooting is the amusing (and funny-looking) behavior where dogs stretch out their hind legs behind their bodies while lying down. 

In fact, it’s been popularized by short legged dogs, such as the Corgi and Dachshund. Now the reason they do this may seem real obvious. They’re just stretching their legs out and relaxing.

And while this is true, they’re also splooting as a means to regulate body temperature. We call this thermoregulation. You see…dogs don’t sweat like humans do. They rely on other methods, such as panting or adjusting their body posture to regulate body temperature.

Splooting increases the surface area contact of the body with the floor, which helps in dispersing heat from their bodies. This usually works best on cold surfaces, such as marble floors or even a patch of mud.

5. When dogs rollin mud or dirt

However, cooling down isn’t the only reason why dogs love to roll in mud. Have you ever wondered why dogs seem to always gravitate towards that one patch of mud, dirt, or other strong-smelling substance?

And they always seem to do this right after taking a bath. Or is that just my dog? It’s certainly possible that the dog is just bored, as rolling in mud can be a fun and entertaining activity for some dogs.

But the weirdest reason has to be because they’re attempting to mask their own scent. Why would a dog do that? Because it’s in their natural instincts. 

In the wild, this behavior would help camouflage their smell from potential prey or predators during hunting. That’s why this behavior is especially common in hunting, sporting, or retrieving dog breeds.

In a modern domestic setting, dogs may not need to rely on these instincts for survival, but the behaviors are often deeply ingrained in their DNA. But of course, it’s also possible that your dog is just having fun.

6. Dog turns away from your hugs

A good ol’ “mud rolling” may be mildly infuriating at times, but it doesn’t compare to how frustrating this next behavior may be for owners. And that’s when dogs turn away, or try to run from your hugs.

What can be more frustrating than trying to show your dog some love, only to be rejected? In fact, dogs are often stressed and anxious when they’re being hugged by humans. How do we know this?

Julie Becth, a psychologist who specializes in studying dog behavior, says there are three common signs of stress in dogs. The first being when dogs show the whites of their eyes. The second is the lowering or pinning back of the dogs’ ears.

And finally, turning their heads away from what’s bothering them. So if your dog is turning away from you during your hugs, you’re likely causing them some amount of stress. It’s not that your dog doesn’t love you, but rather they feel trapped when being hugged.

The restriction of movement can surely cause some dogs major anxiety, as these creatures are naturally active and enjoy having personal space.

But it could also be because of sensory overload from all that perfume, or the fact that you haven’t showered in a week. Hugging is how humans show affection….not dogs.

Some dogs can tolerate hugs, but it doesn’t mean they enjoy them. So if you want to show your love for your furry companions, we suggest gently petting them on their backs, scratching their bellies, or even giving them positive praises.

7. When dogs stare at you

Our final odd canine behavior is when your dog stares at you. Owners often interpret a dog staring at them as a sign of various emotions or intentions. Sure, it might simply be their way of expressing affection, admiring the human they love so much.

Dogs could also just be seeking attention, whether they’re looking for some play time or hoping to receive their favorite delicious treat. However, the most interesting reason why they do this is because of curiosity and empathy.

According to recent studies, when dogs stare at their owners, they might be trying to understand their emotions, or trying to sense if something isn’t quite right. 

In fact, multiple studies show that dogs are particularly good at reading human facial expressions and body language. They can pick up subtle cues like changes in facial muscles and even minimal eye movements. 

Do you find it unusual that some dogs change their personalities when their owners are feeling down? If you’re sick and lying in bed, a normally-active and energetic dog may choose to cuddle by your side instead of his usual antics.

Dogs are highly social animals, and they’ll do everything they can to get as much information from their owners – even if that means kicking off a staring contest with their humans. 

Let us know in the comments below, which behavior does your dog do? Were you surprised at the reason why they do it?

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