Is Your Dog Crazy? 22 Strange Dog Behaviors Explained

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Have you ever wondered about your dog's strange behavior?

Dog with glasses and bulging eyes

Our dogs do the darndest things. Whether they are stealing our underwear or constantly pacing in circles, our pooches have some habits that make us scratch our noggins. Here's a list of pretty bizarre doggy behaviors, but don't worry, they come with explanations.

Eating tissue paper

Close-Up Of Tissue Paper In Wicker Basket Against White Background

If you catch your dog eating nonfood items like tissue paper, chances are he has a condition called Pica. Pica can develop when a dog doesn't receive nutrients from his regular diet, from boredom, or because an odd eating habit turned into a compulsion. If your dog has pica, teach him commands like "give it" or "leave it" and associate those with the paper. Regular exercise is also helpful when dealing with pica. If the problem persists, consult a veterinarian.

Sniffing your crotch

Low section of woman with dog sitting on bench against wall

We've all been there. You meet a friend's pup for the first time and his nose heads straight for your crotch while you try to casually walk away and pretend this isn't happening. With no regard for your embarrassment, dogs use their superior sense of smell to gather information about the world around them. Humans have a higher level of pheromones in their crotch area than any other part of the body making it the best spot for dogs to sniff and garner the information they need. Let the uncontrollable embarrassment commence!

Random squealing

A cute head shot of a young Cavapoo dog. The breed is also commonly known by the names Poodle x King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Cavoodle, Cavoo.

Not being able to speak dog can get in the way of knowing what your pup wants or why he keeps squealing. Truth is, there can be a lot of explanations for a random squeal. A squealing or whining dog could be exhibiting enthusiasm, fear, loneliness, feelings of neglect or discomfort. Examine the context of the squeal. Was your dog just presented with a treat or is he walking on rough concrete? Gather more information before making a final verdict.

Pacing in circles

High Angle View Of Dogs Lying On Floor At Home

Beware! Constant circling can be a sign of doggy distress. Pacing in circles can mean your dog has behavioral or health problems. If the pacing seemed to come out of nowhere with no explanation, be sure to take your dog to the veterinarian for an immediate examination.

Stealing your underwear

Laundry time with dog

Aaand we're back to the pheromones. Underwear is the second most popular non-food item dogs eat after socks. Undergarments carry your scent as they are near that high concentration of pheromones. Your dog is either gathering more information or stealing your undies to find comfort in your scent. Be sure to put your underwear away in a place your pup can't get to them. Ingesting chewed up pieces of cloth is not good for your dog's digestive system and constantly having to replace your undies is no good for your budget.

Leaning on you

Best friends love

Did you tell your dog that when he's not strong, you'll be his friend and you'll help him carry on? Maybe you sang the lyrics to "Lean on Me" to your pup and he's taking the suggestion a bit too far. A dog that's constantly leaning on you can mean an assortment of things. Your dog can be showing fear or even his dominance. A lot of the time, he just wants your attention.

Eating poop

Shit in the toilet

Now that's just nasty. So why, oh why, do dogs eat poop?! The technical name for this dirty habit is Coprohaga and it can be difficult to break. Dogs ingesting poop can stem from latent medical problems or a lack of nutrients like vitamin B. If you have multiple dogs in the household, more submissive dogs may eat the poop of the more dominant dog. We.Can't.Even. If you have this problem with your dog, try to make his stool unappealing. Add in some meat tenderizers, sulfur or even crushed pineapple to his diet. These additives will help with his digestion and make him finally think his poop tastes gross.

Licking tile floors

The Counter Jumper

Sure, you appreciate the clean up help but why is your pup always licking the tile floor? Perhaps your dog is just hoping to pick up a crumb or two or maybe something more serious is going on. Compulsive licking can be a sign of nausea or anxiety. Licking tile floors specifically can be due to a dietary deficiency. If your floors are clay or brick they can smell like certain minerals that are missing from your dog's diet. Make sure your dog is getting all of his necessary vitamins!

Aggressive humping

High Angle View Of Puppy Jumping On Woman

No, it's not just sexual! Okay, sometimes it is, but a dog humping your leg (or another dog, or an object) can have a long list of explanations. This behavior can be a dog's way of sizing up another dog, expressing anxiety, or simply a way to get attention. Humping is normal canine behavior and starts at a young age. Make sure to stay ahead of the game and discourage this behavior as soon as it begins.

Smelling fishy

dog scratches

Let's be real: pet ownership can get downright awkward. Doggy parents that have a fishy-smelling pup know all about this. A fishy odor coming from your dog's behind is a sign of backed up anal glands. Increasing the fiber in your dog's diet is sure to help the problem, but you should definitely consult a veterinarian if the problem persists.

Crying while asleep

Dog on the beach

Can you think of anything sadder than a dog crying in his sleep? We sure can't. Luckily, this crying or whimpering may not mean your dog is depressed. He's just dreaming! Dogs that make noises in their sleep are likely dreaming about the events of their day. If you hear your dog crying in his sleep, don't wake him up. You may startle the poor pup and end up getting bitten! Let lying dogs sleep.

Staring at you

Close-up of cute dog at veterinary clinic

Staring competitions are fun ... until they just get creepy. Your dog may stare at you specifically while you dress. Why? Canine scientist, Julie Hecht told Cuteness: "Dogs often watch us! Period! Watching, or attending to us, is a major way dogs get information." That or ... if your wants something from you. Dogs may watch us dress for a cue of what's coming next. Your clothes can tell him if you're leaving for work or taking him on a walk so he must pay attention, even if it does creep you out.

Biting his paws

Close-Up Of Person Holding Dog Paw On Field

Dogs chew on non-food items all the time but if your dog is biting his paws, this is a sign that something is wrong. Continuous biting or licking of the paws can indicate a skin problem, parasite, an injury, or an internal health problem like arthritis. This is one that warrants a call to the vet right away.

Sleeping between your legs

Low section of woman using laptop computer with beagle on bed at home

Cuddle time! Your dog loves to be near you. Small dogs especially will sleep between your legs because they can fit there. The reasoning behind this one is clear: Your doggy wants comfort and affection and this is the best place for him to feel close to you. Precious!

Running around after pooping

Cocker Spaniel dog pet playing outdoors

Pooping can make you feel free, for sure. But, why do some dogs run around after they poop?! This explanation is a bit disappointing because we don't actually know for sure why a dog would run around after pooping. We do know that running feels good. Your dog may run around because he feels relieved ... and lighter!

Hiding under the bed

Dog hiding under bed

Here's another that requires some more context clues. A hiding dog can be a sign of anxiety, fear, or a need for comfort. Is there a new person in the home that your dog is not comfortable with? Were you just in the middle of trying to give him medication? Maybe it's a hot day and it's nice and cool under the bed. Read the room before making any final decisions with this one.

Sitting on other dogs

Close-Up Of Puppies

Your dog can look downright silly as he goes up to another dog and well, sits on them. The behavior looks odd but it's fairly common among canines. A dog will sit on another dog if he's feeling playful or if he wants to establish dominance. Regardless of his reasoning, train your dog not to do this (especially if you have a big dog with an eye for poodles). Keep it safe, people.

Only eating when you're home

Cropped Hand Of Person Giving Food To Dog At Home

It's heartbreaking enough to make you stay at home forever! A dog who refuses to eat without his human may suffer from separation anxiety or merely be a slave to habit. Puppies "learn how" to eat from their bowls when humans are their instructing them. You probably praised your puppy the first time he found his bowl on his own and chowed down. You may even stand over him and watch him eat those first few months. So yes, it's your fault. Kidding. Try taking your dog for a long walk before leaving the house. Get him good and hungry before you go and leave his food where he can see it ... he'll figure out the rest.

Sitting on your feet

Close-Up Portrait Of Dog Sitting On Bed

A precious pup lying on your toes can hold a variety of meanings. Your dog can simply be showing you affection or trying to establish dominance. If your pup is feeling uneasy, he can lie on your feet to feel comfort and safety. Your dog might also be guarding you from someone or something he perceives to be a threat. You may see a lot of dogs sitting on the feet of pregnant women!

Peeing during play

Full Length Of Puppy Running On Grassy Field

Hey, man. It's happened to the best of us. Sometimes we get a little too excited and whoops, a bit of pee escapes us. It's no different with your dog! Potty accidents are common in puppies while they adapt to a new home and get house trained. Excitement urination is a very real thing in puppies who don't have full control over their bodily functions yet. Try not to reprimand your pup for this behavior. Instead, try to stop the problem before it arises. Give your puppy attention when he's relaxed instead of hyper. Your new sheets and shag carpet will thank you.

Refusing to pee on fake grass

Dalmatian Urinating On Plants

Dogs are notoriously picky about where they potty. When a dog refuses to pee on fake grass it's usually due to a matter of smell. Astroturf might not smell like other dogs. Dogs want to pee on grass that smells like dogs. This way they know this is an appropriate place to potty, and they can cover the scent with their own, asserting their dominance. If the fake grass is cleaned and doesn't smell like a canine companion, what's the point?

Chewing on wood

Wet Dog Carrying Stick In Mouth While Running In Lake

Catching the stick is one thing, but everything changes when your dog starts gnawing on your new coffee table. Chewing on wood can be very satisfying to your pup. It's a natural behavior as chewing is a primal instinct for foragers (which dogs are). Beyond his natural instincts, your dog may chew on any wood he sees out of boredom, anxiety, or if he's teething. Keep your dog stimulated with chew toys that can ease his anxiety or any oral pain while saving your furniture.

Why Do Dogs Stare At You When They Poop?

Have you ever wondered about your dog's strange behavior?

Our dogs do the darndest things. Whether they are stealing our underwear or constantly pacing in circles, our pooches have some habits that make us scratch our noggins. Here's a list of pretty bizarre doggy behaviors, but don't worry, they come with explanations.