Unlocking The Mysteries Of Your Dog’s Odd Behaviors

If you’re a dog owner or just a dog lover, you may have noticed that our furry friends often exhibit some strange behaviors.

But have you ever wondered what these behaviors mean?

This article will explore the meaning behind 10 odd dog behaviors.

Understanding these behaviors gives you a deeper appreciation for your canine companion.

This also helps you to communicate with them more effectively.

Taking Your Spot

brown dog lays on colorful couch

One of the most common behaviors dogs exhibit is taking the spot of their owners, whether on the couch, the bed, or even on the floor.

While this behavior may seem cute and endearing, it can also be frustrating for owners who want their personal space.

So, why do dogs do this?

One reason is that dogs are pack animals, and they have a natural desire to be close to their family members.

In the wild, dogs would sleep huddled together for warmth and protection.

This instinct remains in their domesticated counterparts.

By taking the spot of their owner, a dog is simply trying to be close to their “pack leader” and feel safe and secure.

Another reason is that dogs are creatures of habit and often find comfort in routine.

If a dog has gotten into the habit of sleeping in a particular spot, it may continue to do so out of habit, even if its owner is not present.

This behavior is reinforced when the owner returns home and finds their dog in the same spot, providing a sense of familiarity and security for the dog.

It’s important to note that some dogs may also exhibit this behavior as a sign of dominance or territoriality.

In these cases, the dog may be trying to assert their dominance over their owner or other pets in the household. This behavior can be problematic and may require training and behavior modification to address.

Rolling In Poop

Dogs rolling in poop is an instinctual behavior that many people find strange, yet it’s actually quite common.

This behavior is inherited from their wolf ancestors, who used to roll in their prey’s carcasses to mask their scent and avoid being found.

Today’s scientists have found evidence that this innate behavior frequently involves rolling in the excrement of adjacent smaller animals.

One theory is that in order to defend themselves from predators who would find it challenging to distinguish between the scent of the dog and its victim in the case of an attack, dogs wear the scent of their prey.

In some cases, dogs might even use this as an opportunity to mask their own scent from other animals or predators.

Simply put, rolling in poop is just another way for our canine companions to keep themselves safe!

Burying Bones

white dog with a big bone in his mouth

Recent studies have suggested that dogs bury bones because it helps them to protect their food from other animals.

Hiding food is a basic survival instinct among canines, and this behavior has been identified in wolves and foxes as well.

Bury behavior may also indicate an attempt by dogs to hide evidence of their consumption habits, especially when scolding or threats are constant.

Dogs may also use burying as a way to save bones and treats for later consumption – comparable to our concept of “saving for a rainy day”.

All these theories demonstrate why dogs bury bones – even when they are not hungry!

Sleeping With Open Eyes

Dogs, unlike most other animals, have developed the ability to sleep with their eyes open when they feel threatened or insecure.

This is an instinct that has been developed over thousands of years and is still true today.

Dogs’ open-eye sleeping ability allows them to keep an eye on potential predators and danger while they rest, providing them an extra sense of security and protection.

In addition, dogs may also sleep with open eyes if their environment is particularly unfamiliar or loud.

This will help them stay aware of coming danger so that they are better prepared to react quickly if needed.

Although some people find it unnerving to see a dog “sleeping” with wide-opened eyes, there’s no reason for concern since it’s simply the dog’s built-in self-protection mechanism at work.

Pick Up Food And Carry It Away

white brown dog gets mouth open by hands

Have you ever seen a dog take some food and run off with it?

This act, known as “resource guarding,” is an instinctive behavior of canines that helps them to protect their valuable possessions. 

According to research, resource guarding usually occurs when a dog views the food or object as valuable.

Examples of this behavior may include a dog picking up food from the floor, covering it with its body, growling or snapping when people come near, and taking the object away from the area.

This behavior is a reflection of wild ancestors’ need to protect their resources in order to survive.

It demonstrates how dogs will do whatever is necessary to be sure they have enough resources for their individual needs.

Resource guarding can occur with other forms of valuables too – toys, beds, bones – as well as with humans!

Although this behavior is often seen as negative by humans, it really just shows us how instinctive dogs are and why we must understand and view it in terms of survival rather than punishment.

Lick Each Other’s Butt

Dogs licking each other’s butts is a strange behavior that can seem gross to us humans, but it actually serves different purposes.

Dogs often lick each other’s behinds to show submission.

When an Alpha dog licks the behind of a subordinate dog, the submissive dog can gain confidence in their relationship.

Butt-licking can also distribute scents and pheromones from anal glands to other dogs.

They can transmit stress and reproductive status by butt licking.

So the next time you see a dog licking another’s butt, it doesn’t necessarily mean they need a bath.

Rather, it could very well be just a part of how their furry family communicates with one another.

Wink At You

brown dog with white nose winks

You may have noticed your dog winking at you from time to time and wondered why.

Well, the fact of the matter is that dogs don’t actually wink – what they’re doing is a similar gesture known as ‘eyelid closure.’

Most researchers believe this behavior is used by canines as a sign of submission and friendliness.

That means that when your pup winks at you, they are likely trying to show you how loyal and affectionate they are!

Another interpretation is that dogs are trying to signal an invitation to play or interact with their human.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to take notice and enjoy those special moments with your furry friend!

Circle Before Pooping

Although the exact reason remains unknown, scientists have some theories.

For example, dogs might circle in order to locate a spot that is suitable for them to do their business.

Very often, it will be where a scent has been left previously, indicating that the territory has already been claimed by another animal.

Additionally, circling may help them pack down the grass and dirt in the area of their chosen bathroom spot.

This allows for easier pooping later on.

More than any other reason, circling could simply be an ingrained habit.

Wild ancestors would have circled around and then defecated in a shallow hole they had begun digging with their paws moments before.

Like Squeaky Toys

white dog lays on brown ground with his toy

Dogs love squeaky toys for a variety of reasons. It’s the sound that gets their attention the most, as it is unique and can help them to stay focused on their game.

The sound itself is also fun for dogs to interact with, leading them to indulge in continued playtime activities.

Not only that!

The texture of many squeaky toys is usually softer and easier than other types of toys.

This makes them even more appealing and addicting since they don’t push any boundaries!

The mental stimulation may not be obvious at first glance, but dogs are able to take analytical cues from the environment around them.

This is making the prospect of playing with a squeaky toy an exciting one.


One of the primary reasons dogs pant is due to an increase in their body temperature.

There are a few causes for this.

Exercise, heat, stress, or excitement can all cause an increase in the body temperature, prompting panting in order to reduce it.

Panting is also a way for dogs to express themselves – pain, excitement, or distress can all be communicated through panting. 

Similarly, rapid breathing is used as a response cool down from overwhelming emotions like fear or anxiety.

Panting is common and usually nothing to worry about for healthy dogs.

white brown puppy walks and looks exhausted

But excessive panting could be indicative of an underlying health issue and warrants further investigation by a veterinarian.

We may never know exactly what our dogs are trying to say when they display certain behaviors.

But by understanding the science behind these actions, we can better appreciate the ways in which our furry friends try to communicate with us.

Next time your dog does something odd, take a step back and ask yourself what might be going on inside their head – you just might be able to figure it out.

Before You Go…

Knowing these odd dog behaviors is important.

There are also behaviors dogs don’t like humans doing.

Read our article “18 Human Behaviors Dogs Hate The Most” to get to know and get a chance to stop them.

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.