4 Funny Dog Behaviors Explained
Your slobbering, goofy pup may seem pretty far removed from his wild ancestors. While your dog today has shed most of his pre-domesticated traits, instinctive dog behavior still influences your pup today. Here are five examples.
1) Dogs Dig and Bury Things Out of Fear of Being Without
Whether your dog is just a fanatical digger, or occasionally indulges in digging a nice hole in the yard, that dog behavior is a clear remnant from his descendants. The pre-kibble bowl dog was responsible for finding his own food each day, and burying was a way to keep his stash to himself, or store any excess.
But today, all that digging can wreck havoc on your yard, never mind create dangerous tripping hazards for humans. If your dog has a knack for burying things, try re-directing his energy. Find an out-of-the way corner or strip of the yard where his holes won’t create an eyesore or a tripping hazard. Churn up the dirt a bit, perhaps mixing in some sand to loosen up packed soil, and even bury a few toys or large treats. Whenever you catch him digging elsewhere, re-direct him to his designated doggie sandbox.
2) He Circles Several Times to Maximize Comfort
This harmless dog behavior also stems from his days of roughing it in the wild. Experts speculate that wild dogs circled first to trample down brush, making a more comfortable spot to sleep. Some believe the habit could also be linked to how wild dogs claimed their territory.
Aside from bumping into the coffee table a few times as he goes round and round, this leftover instinct typically poses little problems for today’s house dog.
3) Dogs Shake Their Toys to Show-Off Their Hunter Skills
How cute is it when your pooch picks up a squeaky plush squirrel and furiously shakes it back and forth? Turn back the wheels of time, and that same behavior wasn’t cute, but essential to survival. If your dog was lucky enough to capture a small animal, shaking it vigorously was their best way to kill it.
Don’t worry, most dogs are no longer driven to hunt and kill, but many mimic the behavior with their toys. If you’re concerned your dog’s instinct to hunt and chase small animals is excessive, speak to a professional trainer, who can help him learn to channel that energy to more appropriate outlet.
4) He’s Howling Because He Misses You or Needs Attention
A howling dog is clearly reminiscent of a wolf or pre-domestic dog, whose pack-oriented lifestyle used howling as a way to communicate. Howling may also have served to warn intruders to stay away.
While howling may still be fun for your dog today, it can render you unpopular among your neighbors. Some dogs like to howl in the evening, others howl at certain triggers like the arrival of a delivery van or a noisy storm.
According to the ASPCA, howling today could be a sign of a problem – he could have separation anxiety or he may be ill. It could also be a way of getting attention. Inappropriate howling can be corrected through observing your dog’s behavior to understand triggers, and taking the time to do some training. A certified dog trainer may help.
While your dog today may seem more like a couch potato than a descendant of wild dogs, those traits he inherited from his ancestors add to his personality. However, anytime a behavior seems problematic, make sure to check in with your vet.
Image Source: A Place to Love Dogs
Debbie Swanson is a freelance writer, published in numerous national and local outlets. An avid vegetarian, animal lover and reader, she loves learning about healthy eating and finding natural cures for everyday ailments.