It’s no secret that dogs and humans often exhibit very different behavioural habits.
After all, if you walked around sniffing others people’s butts in an attempt to get to know them, you might be sent in for a mental evaluation.
Yet, some of these odd behaviours—like sniffing butts or rolling around in stinky things—are very important behaviours for dogs.
And today, I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and take a deep dive into 5 things—odd behaviors—that we humans don’t understand about dogs.
Want to know why your dog feels the need to eat poop or smell everything in sight? Keep reading to find out…
Odd Behavior #1: Why does my dog feel the need to smell everything?
Your dog’s primary sense is his sense of smell.
In fact, according to Purina.com…
“The area of the canine brain that is devoted to analyzing scent is 40 times greater than that of the human and dogs can identify smells at least 1,000 times better than we can! The dog’s superior sense of smell comes from 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose. Compared to the human’s paltry 5 million, it’s no wonder smell is considered to be the dog’s primary sense.
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When a dog sniffs, air is taken in and passes through the olfactory epithelium (nasal skin cells). These calls are also found in a special organ that dogs (and cats) possess, called the Jacobsen’s or vomeronasal organ. This organ is thought to be important in the detection of pheromones (body scents), perhaps giving the dog its tremendous ability to identify and recognize animals and people.”
There’s also a great post from our friends at Your Dog Advisor on Why Sniff Time Is so Important to Your Dog
Odd Behavior #2: Why does my dog like some people and not others?
Much like humans, dogs have preferences on whom they like to hang around.
This preference can be dependent on a large variety of factors.
First and foremost, our dogs have the ability to sense whether someone has good energy generally and if they are a good person or not. It’s the reason some dogs will lie on the floor happily when friends are over, yet, in an instant, turn into an attack dog when someone breaks into the home.
We don’t really understand how dogs are able to “feel people out,” but it’s clear that they have the ability to judge whether someone has good intentions or not.
Another way dogs pick whom they want to hang around is by observing human behaviour.
If you have a very social dog who loves to be fussed over and petted, he might choose to hang around the people who are willing to give him unlimited attention.
On the flip side, there are dogs that are less social or get overwhelmed by people who want to be all up in their business.
This type of dog might choose to hide from people that seem too overbearing or children/adults who are too loud, obnoxious, and don’t respect the dog’s space.
Odd Behavior #3: Why do dogs love being around people so much?
As I just mentioned above, most dogs are very social creatures.
By nature, dogs are pack animals and often desire to feel as though they are part of a pack or family.
If your dog has had positive experiences around humans, it’s likely that he’s going to want to be a part of everything you and your friends do.
Not to mention, if you regularly play with your dog, shower him with love and affection, and provide him with treats, he’ll never want to miss out on an opportunity to be spoiled by you.
Odd Behavior #4: Why doesn’t my dog like toys?
Dogs are a lot like kids in the sense that they all have very different play preferences and personalities.
The environment in which your dog grows up contributes to these play preferences.
To set the foundation, I want to be very clear on the fact that while toys are a lot of fun for most dogs, not all dogs need toys to be happy!
For this reason, some people opt to never give their dog toys, or the dog only has one or two favourite toys—especially if their dog is known to chew up toys and swallow dangerous materials.
When a dog grows up in this environment, he will learn to enjoy playing in other ways, such as a trip to the park, a walk around the block, or some quality time wrestling on the floor.
Another reason your dog might not like toys could be because he grew up without them. For instance, you may have adopted a dog from a shelter who never had access to toys.
Because of this, your adopted dog may simply have no idea how to even play with toys.
Finally, as I said above, all dogs have different play preferences that come naturally programmed.
Some dogs love hard toys, some dogs love soft toys, some dogs love to play fetch, and some dogs don’t care about toys at all.
Odd Behavior #5: Why does my dog eat poop?
Eating dog poop is by far probably one of the most disgusting dog habits that we humans simply don’t understand—and for good reason.
It’s gross, unappetizing, and downright nauseating.
But, there are many reasons our pups do it.
First and foremost, eating poop could be a sign that your dog has a deficiency of something in their diet.
The most likely culprits are…
- Enzyme deficiencies.
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
- Mineral deficiencies.
It’s a dog’s natural instinct to curb these deficiencies by eating poop as other foods often contain the nutrients your dog might be missing.
If your dog regularly eats poop, talk to your vet about your dog’s food and what you could be doing differently to give him the nutrients he needs in an attempt to curb the behavior.
Believe it or not, another instinct that causes dogs to eat poop is cleanliness. This is especially true if you have a dog that has had puppies before.
Mama dogs are programmed to keep their pups’ environment safe and clean—and in the wild, that often means eating poop out of their pups’ living space.
While this instinct is mostly present in dogs with new puppies, the instinct can carry over into later years of a dog’s life.
Lastly, some dogs simply just think it tastes great.
This is especially true when it comes to cat poop—what a delicacy!
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to curb this behavior aside from keeping your dog away from other animal droppings. Although one very popular tip is to feed your dog a little bit of pineapple! Yep, that’s right. A bit of pineapple may do the trick in stopping them from eating their own faeces.