Dogs are amazing but can do some pretty bizarre things! We give you the lowdown on what it means when your pup does the following...
Ever had your pooch run at high speed, from corner to corner of the room for no apparent reason at all? This is known worldwide as the 'zoomies'. This act of craziness is as simple as that, your dog expressing a random burst of energy and showing you just how happy (and deranged!) they are. Perhaps your dog has just been out for a long run or has just eaten a delicious meal - whatever it is, they want to show you that they are elated and filled with energy. Don't be surprised if your pup goes at what seems to be 100mph during these zoomies, so watch out for things getting knocked over and going flying!
Eating dog poop
Yes it's gross, and we definitely don't fancy kissing the nose of our fur baby after they've been eating poop. But, don't get too concerned as it's quite common. Some experts believe that dogs will eat theirs or other dog's poop because they are lacking in nutritional value, but often it can just be a bad habit or curiosity and may suggest they need some behavioural training which we can definitely assist with here at Bark & Birch!
Spiked fur on their backs (hackles up)
You may have noticed your dog gets a spike of raised fur down their spine - these are known as your dog's hackles. Hackles are hairs right from your dog's neck to their tail, and they will rise in an involuntary reflex that is typically caused by some form of excitement in your dog. Your dog may be excited, surprised, angry or expressing any other extreme emotion. When your dog's hackles go up, it's important that you stay as calm as possible and try not to overload their sensory system. Identify the trigger and eliminate whatever it is that may be causing your dog fear or stress if that seems to be the reaction.
Dragging their bottom on the floor
If your dog is dragging their bottom across the floor, known as 'scooting', you should take a look and make sure that they don't need a wipe, post toilet. If not, it may be worth calling your vet. Scooting can be a sign that your dog is uncomfortable in the bottom area, or has blocked anal glands that need releasing. Keep an eye on this and note anything strange and always consult a vet if you aren't sure.
Lots of licks
There are many reasons why dogs lick us. Licking is a natural behaviour for a dog, remember that they were brought up by their mother licking at them to provide comfort and grooming. Your dog may be exploring and recognising that something is different about where you've been or what you've eaten, remember that they use their tongue to understand situations. They also may want your attention and could be trying to signal to you that they want some love. Similarly, they may be trying to show you some love, as generally a dog will only lick a human they feel content with!
Humping at things
Some dogs will hump at things such as chair legs, or even your leg (yikes!) to try and gain your attention. They may also be experiencing a hormone surge and feel sudden urges to mount. Humping can often be a sign of an energy boost. Even when a dog has been desexed, they may continue to hump, even females. Mounting isn't only a behaviour associated with mating, but is often used during excitable or frustrated times when the dog is trying to get attention!
Rolling in fox poop
Up there with one of the worst things for dog owners to deal with on a dog walk! Dogs have a sense of smell that is SO much more sensitive than our own, it's said a thousand times more! The most common theory is that dogs roll in another animal's poop to mask their natural scent, to ensure that any prey cannot sniff them out. Others may do it just because they find it fun and love the smell of it - hard to believe, yes, but whatever makes our dogs happy!
We get this question lots so definitely one to note! Dogs can be quite the strange foodies when it comes to eating unusual and bizarre things. Whether it is their toys, socks orrocks. Dogs find even the most mundane things fascinating and are a curious species, they may start out playing with arockout of boredom and then decide to sample the taste which can be worrying for us dog owners but there are many different reasons your dog is suddenly hooked onrocks.
What doesrockeating mean?
Knocking around arock, playing with it, licking it or swallowing one by mistake doesn’t always mean your dog has a problem butrockscan become dangerous for your dogs’ body if they are constantly swallowing them and could be a sign of an underlying health condition.
Train the right commands and reinforce
If your dog is just investigating and tends to put everything in their mouth then you need to look at training your pup out of this behaviour. Teaching “LEAVE IT” as a cue and then rewarding your dog for this behaviour will be a super useful tool. Never just grab something as your dog may then start to resource guard the item in question.
You need to make a trade for something more high value like a great treat or your dog’s favourite toy rather than just grabbing therock. If you just launch and grab, it means this behaviour will be reinforced by your inappropriate attention. Use positive reinforcement instead, ALWAYS be ready to offer a trade for a high value item like a tasty treat or their favourite soft toy.
Other cues and commands such as “DROP’ or “GIVE” or “LEAVE” will be super useful. Say the command, make the dog leave or drop therockthen offer the high value trade. Redirecting their attention and behaviour when there arerocksaround will also be high on your agenda. You may need to use a leash or not let them in the yard unattended.
Mental and physical enrichment
Another reason your dog could be eatingrocksis plain simple boredom… Is your dog mentally and physically enriched? Lots of dogs have displayed strange behaviour during the Covid Pandemic and need enrichment and stimulation more than ever. Why not try a doggy day-care facility if you work or organise some fun doggy play dates with other dogs your pup feels comfortable and excited to play with! Dogs that aren’t enriched can become destructive, frustrated and anxious, always on the lookout for ways to alleviate their boredom- including eatingrocks!
Try new toys or food puzzles or engage your dog by teaching them new tricks and behaviour. This will also increase your bond leading to a happier and a more fulfilled environment for you both!
We hope this helped answer all your questions on the weird and wonderful things our canine companions do! 🐶