What in the World Does that Mean??!!

Say what?!
Say what?!

I don’t know about you and your fur-iend but I’ve noticed some really weird behaviors, a couple of which Sam does and some that he doesn’t which makes me wonder: what the heck is that all about?  Like why do dogs circle around before laying down? Sam walks around and around and around some more just before flopping down on his bed.  The answer is actually interesting: the dog is trying to create a safe “nest” like their ancestors did eons ago. By walking around in circles wild dogs would flatten down the vegetation and chase out large crawly things.  It also left a visible sign that this spot had been occupied and warned others of their territory.  What that means in my living room though is still up for debate.

Then there’s the kicking the ground after pooping thing.  Thankfully Sam doesn’t do that but several dogs in the ‘hood do because they will kick mulch all over the sidewalk. When pet parents let their dogs do that (and then don’t sweep the mulch back) it really bugs me. I wouldn’t allow Sam to do that and think it’s kind of rude. Besides, it’s MY territory, not theirs.  It kind of ranks up there with those people who let their dog hop over a short fence into my iris bed to do his business. And then not pick it up. Grrrr.  One of these days I’m gonna bust them and remind them in an oh-so-not nice way to (a) please not do that in the flowers and (b) to PICK IT UP!!!  I mean, come on…I already supply the bags in the front yard for dog walkers, the least they can do is use them, right?  But back to the kicking part. Dogs actually have scent glands in their paw pads and that kicking out of the back legs triggers those glands and marks their territory.  It’s something akin to drawing an arrow to the poop, like yelling “I was here (so scram..I’m very big and powerful).”  Sheesh, talk about a power trip.

Then there’s that frantic leg kicking when you’ve reached your pet’s “tickle” spot. I’m scratching Sam’s belly and he’s looking almost perplexed at me (which I’ve previously interpreted as pleasurable so inevitably I scratch even more). Turns out dogs have a scratch reflex which results in a completely involuntary reaction.  Seems as though that scratching (or tickling in my mind) can irritate the nerves under the skin which are connected to the spinal cord.  A message is relayed to the leg muscles to kick in an attempt to be rid of the irritant.  Guess sometimes those tummy rubs are more annoying than enjoyable.  Who knew?

Does your dog display any weird traits?  What do you make of it?

10 thoughts on “What in the World Does that Mean??!!

  1. As soon as I get outside in the morning I go all around the edge of the garden having a good sniff to see what wild things have been there during the night.

  2. My wife says I display weird traits but I don’t agree at all. As for Max, he circles when he poops. It starts slow with a wide circle and lazy movements and then the circle gets progressively tighter as he speeds up to a dramatic finish. Well, that was probably more than I needed to share. Perhaps my wife is right.

    1. LOL! Sam also does the circle thing when he pees (it just absolutely has to be the perfect spot-he’ll sniff and circle, left to right, then right to left, then back again) and then…he overshoots anyway. Doofas!

  3. Have you ever been, what I call, “Nose-Butted” (head butted, but with a cold wet nose)? I usually get this in the morning after the (new) little one has been let out, and she comes back in, leaping up onto the bed, as if to say, “C’mon!!!! GET UP!!! The day is starting!!!!”
    Almost as good at waking me up as a cup[ of coffee… ALMOST.

  4. This was illuminating as my dog Ottie displays all those behaviours (and Portia none of them). I intuitively deduced a couple of them but I didn’t know about the scratching reflex (which we always thought to be very cute). Another inexplicable thing he does, when he hears a fire truck siren, he howls like a wolf. Mind you, not the police siren, just fire trucks. I have been wondering whether it sounds like some primal call!

  5. Seriously? People don’t pick up the poop in your hood? So rude!

    Little Lily Belle kicks her feet after she goes potty, or when she’s barking at someone walking by. It’s so darned cute and just sends a few blades of grass flying. Interesting blog this mornin’!

    1. 🙂 Can you tell I’m grasping at straws? But I have seen as many females kick as males. I guess they want others to know about their territory, too. And yes, there are a few that don’t bother to pick up after their pets. Go figure!

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