13 Odd Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask Your Dog
Dogs do pretty weird stuff sometimes! Here are expert answers to some questions you've been begging to ask your dog.
Why do you kick up the lawn after you pee?
Kicking up dirt after peeing isn't actually a common behavior. According to Rosie Bescoby, a clinical animal behaviorist who spoke with LiveScience, only 10 percent of dogs will actually carry out this kind of behavior. This behavior is called "ground scratching," and is a passed down trait from wolves and coyotes. In order for pack leaders to claim proper territory, they would use this behavior to set a boundary of where "not to cross the line." Peeing in the spot doesn't just send the signal—spreading the dirt helps to draw that line. Learn more about this strange dog behavior here.
Why are you afraid of the vacuum cleaner?
Has your dog been exposed to a vacuum sound besides when you're actually vacuuming? Probably not. PetMD states that dogs will feel sound phobia when they are exposed to noises they aren’t familiar with. It's probably the reason your dogs like to run and bark at passing cars, or other unfamiliar noises. Check out two other possibilities for this behavior here.
Why do you eat grass?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), they just like the way it tastes! According to Andrea Rediger, writing for the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, "another theory states that undomesticated dogs are naturally omnivores (meat and plant-eaters), therefore domesticated dogs instinctively include plant material in their diet. Alternatively, some speculate that undomesticated dogs would ingest plant material in the stomachs of their prey, and therefore the species developed a taste for it." Here are some other interesting possibilities for why dogs eat grass.
Why do you sniff other dogs' butts?
With a couple inhales, any dog can ascertain if another dog is an old acquaintance or a new one, if they're male or female, and if they're aggressive or passive. Amazing, right? Learn more about how dogs are able to do this here.
Why do you stick your head out the car window?
Because dogs have a greater sense of smell than humans, when they stick their head out the window they're exposed to an intense smelling experience. The air getting forced into their nose might intensify the odors, making it extra exciting for the dog.
What's more is dogs can recognize locations based on the smells, which might also help explain their desire to stick their head out of the window.
Do I really need to pick up your poop?
Back in the day, when you took your dog for a walk, they would do their business, and then you'd keep on walking. It wasn't until Boomers were growing up and plastic bags were everywhere that people started picking up their dog's waste. Fast forward 50 years, and dog poop totals about 10 million tons per year (that's more than human waste in 1959). Dog owners everywhere are determined to keep their yard tidy and are required to keep public spaces clean.
But, there's a problem—a plastic problem. Americans use close to 1 billion single-use plastic bags per year, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. So, as a responsible dog owner, what should you do? Leave the waste where it lies? Wrap it in plastic and throw it away? Here's where things stand today.
Why do you follow me into the bathroom?
Your dog is the furry companion you can always count on to be by your side, even when you don't need it ... like when you're using the bathroom! While it's true we often attend their potty breaks, do they really have to attend ours? If you've been wondering, "Why does my dog follow me?" we've got answers.
If your dog follows you into the bathroom, it's likely a result of their animal instinct and pack mentality. Canines who do this are referred to as "Velcro dogs," due to their desire to be attached to your side. They may follow you around, even to the bathroom, to protect a part of their pack. Without you in sight while you're home, they may feel a sense of vulnerability. Learn more about this odd dog behavior here.
Why do you spin around before you poop?
Most dog owners have probably been puzzled (and possibly impatient) waiting for their dog to do its business. Instead of just finding a soft area of grass to go number two, they make a whole ritual out of it, spinning in a circle before finally squatting. Luckily, the ultimate pet owners' question may finally have been answered.
A few theories have circulated about why dogs might circle before pooping, and most are similar to the reasons they spin before lying down. Trampling around in a circle would flatten the grass around, which would keep tall blades from trapping their waste and hitting their tushes while they poop (yuck). Another explanation could be that they're scanning for snakes and predators before they become completely occupied. Check out another interesting theory for this dog behavior here.
Should you be wearing a seat belt?
Chances are, you buckle up when you're on the road but think nothing of leaving your dog untethered. If so, join the crowd—84 percent of pet owners don't restrain their dogs on car trips, according to a survey done by the AAA along with Kurgo, a pet company, in 2011. Even if you've got the chillest dog on the planet and see no reason to confine her (as 42 percent of survey respondents believed) or you're just going on a quick drive, the short answer for "does your dog need a seat belt" is: Yes they do, says Lindsey A. Wolko, founder of the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), a nonprofit research and consumer advocacy organization. Learn the reasons why here.
Why do you eat poop?
According to Pet MD, one of the more common reasons dogs will eat their poop is mimicking what they've seen while growing up. It's typical for mothers to eat the puppy's feces in order to protect the puppy from predators. Without feces, there's no scent to track. The puppy will obviously mimic the behavior of the mother. See other possibilities for this gross dog behavior here.
Why do you dig in flower beds?
Dogs often dig due to boredom. To prevent your pet from heading to your flower beds for some fun, create a play zone all their own. Dig out a shallow area in your yard, then fill with sand and some toys. This play pit should be much more enticing than your flower beds. Check out other smart ways to prevent your dog from digging in flower beds.
Why is your nose wet?
Anyone who has just gotten nuzzled by an affectionate dog knows you'll probably need to wipe your face afterward. Turns out that dogs have wet noses for several important reasons, says Pete Lands, DVM, Director of Emergency and Critical Care at Saint Francis Veterinary Center in Swedesboro, New Jersey.
First, dogs' noses secrete mucus, which helps them track smells in the air. "One of the reasons that the noses are going to be wet is because the secretion will come out of the inner part of the nose and sit on the top of the nose," Lands says.
Another reason? Dogs don't sweat the way humans do. Their noses act as a cooling mechanism and evaporating fluid from their nose to help cool their bodies. Check out a third reason here, plus learn what to do if your dog's nose is dry.
How much exercise do you need?
Family tree that is. Hundreds of years of breed-specific genetics run through your dog's veins, and it's best to cater to their genetics for optimal mental and physical health. For example, dogs that were bred to herd, pull carts, or hunt will need more exercise because historically, their days were filled with activity and their bodies were made to move more often. On the other hand, some toy breeds, such as the Shih Tzu and Pekinese, prefer snuggle time over leash time—these breeds were bred to be lap dogs for royalty. Learn how much exercise is recommended for your dog's breed here.