Our dogs are a lot of things. They are sweet, cute, sometimes naughty, but always loyal. We may even think we have them all figured out. And then they start turning in circles and pawing at the floor before lying down! Despite sharing our lives with dogs, sometimes we are left scratching our heads about their weird habits. Here are six strange dog behaviors, decoded.
1. Eating tissue paper
If your dog likes to eat tissue paper and cardboard, he might have a condition called pica. It can develop when a dog lacks nutrients in his diet. Or, it may just result from boredom. If your dog has pica, teach him to “leave it” or “give it.” Regular exercise can also alleviate pica.
2. Leaning on you
Whether you like the “hug” of a doggy lean, or you worry about your pup getting underfoot, leaning is an unusual behavior. A dog that leans constantly may be exhibiting fear – literally leaning on you for support. Or, she may be displaying dominance over you. Often, though, your dog is just itching for some attention.
3. Licking tile floors
It’s always nice to have help mopping the floors, but why does your dog enjoy licking the tiles? Sometimes, she might be licking up stray crumbs, but her behavior might also signal a problem. Compulsive licking can be a symptom of anxiety or nausea. It can also be the result of a nutrient deficiency. If your floor is brick or clay, it can smell like minerals that are missing from your dog’s diet.
4. Staring at you
Unless you’re having a staring contest with your dog, his staring habit can be downright weird! Not only do dogs gather information by sniffing, but they also watch the world around them to see what is going on. Dogs can be especially curious while we get dressed because the kinds of clothes we put on provide clues as to what is going to happen next. Work clothes mean you will be leaving, and workout clothes mean a walk is in the works.
5. Biting her paws
Dogs chew on plenty of non-food items, but biting the paws means something is wrong. For example, continuous biting might signal a skin problem, parasite, injury or even arthritis. This behavior requires a trip to the vet right away.
6. Circling before lying down
Finally, why does your pup like to circle around a spot before settling down to rest? His ancestors slept outdoors, in the elements, exposed to cold temperatures and dangers. Walking around a spot, or denning, is your dog’s way to stamp down grass, leaves or snow to create a soft and level surface, like making a nest.
Does your dog display any of the strange behaviors above? What other habits does he or she have that leave you scratching your head?