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5 Strange Dog Behaviors Explained

If dogs could talk, we would have all kinds of questions for them. Pretty high on the list would be things like “Why can’t you just look at the squirrel quietly?” or “Why do you roll around in stinky things?” Though we are all too familiar with the quirks and behaviors of our furry friends, that doesn’t mean we know why they do them.

Here are a few of the best educated guesses and answers to questions you have always wanted to ask your dog.

Why does my dog roll in stinky things?

While experts have a lot of ideas about why dogs roll in stinky things, the American Kennel Club cites the wolf research of Pat Goodmann to give us some potential answers. Her research suggests that rolling in stinky things may be about more than hiding their scent. It could be a way to bring an interesting scent back to the pack. A sort of “look what I found!” message. Then the wolves can hone in on that scent and track it down easier. So your dog may be rolling in the trash at the park because she wants to tell all her friends about the interesting things she has found!

Why does my dog sneeze when excited?

As with the theories about why dogs roll in stinky things, there are a lot of ideas out there about why dogs sneeze when they are excited. One potential answer from a Norwegian dog trainer is that dogs sneeze when they are excited as a self-soothing technique to calm themselves down. However, a veterinarian from England doesn’t agree. He believes it’s as simple as the dog wrinkling his nose, which tickles inside the nose and causes the sneeze. Either way, playtime usually includes lots of sneezing! At our house, we like to call it “the sneeze of displeasure”. We often see it when Elley is on the outside of the sliding glass door and is ready to be let back inside.

Why does my dog yawn when stressed?

You may be waiting just a little too long for your dog’s liking to throw the ball again or doing an activity around the house that your dog doesn’t like (vacuuming etc.), but the stress response is often the same: a long yawn usually paired with a high-pitched whine. The simple answer here is that dogs can’t talk, so they manifest their stress in other ways. Yawning is only one of their potential stress responses. You should also keep an eye out for other anxiety responses like licking, shedding, and pacing. If your pup is stressed often, the first step would be to try and remove the cause. But if that isn’t possible, try pawTree’s Chillax or Chillax to the Max green bone.

Why does my dog kick her feet after pooping?

While it’s not uncommon to think that dogs are “wiping” their feet after they poop, that doesn’t appear to be the reason dogs kick their feet after pooping. Just like cats spread their scent by kneading, dogs do this by kicking their feet across the ground. Both dogs and cats have glands in the pads of their paws that release pheromones. (Fun fact: the scent from the pheromones are so strong that they last longer than the scent of urine or feces.) So your pup is likely leaving a scent that communicates territory or even that an area is safe for other dogs. If you notice your pup has kicked her feet so much that her pads are cracking, you can nurse those back to health with some healing shea butter balm balm.

Why does my dog circle before lying down?

Domesticated dogs generally have a soft place to sleep, but the ancestors of your pup had to make their own beds in the wild. Circling before lying down is a way to trample down long grass or flatten uneven dirt. One sociologist from the University of Colorado at Boulder suggests that the ritual also helped drive out snakes or large insects from their resting spot. So when your dog circles in his bed before going to sleep, he’s channeling the traditions passed down from his canine ancestors!


Dr. Diaz’s nurturing nature led her into medicine where she became a Board Certified Anesthesiologist. While she loved her career and her patients, she also wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. After retiring from her practice and achieving her goal of being a home-based parent, Kristi began looking for ways to give back to her community. At the same time, she and her husband were looking for home-based business opportunities.

Kristi knew she found the perfect opportunity when she discovered pawTree. The value Kristi placed on diet and nutrition for health and wellness, coupled with her family’s love of animals, aligned seamlessly with pawTree’s company values.

Dr. Diaz’s philosophy is that diet, genetics, and luck all work together to create the quality of a pet's life. While owners can’t control their pets’ genetics or luck, they can control their diet. Pets have no choice but to count on their owners their entire lives for great nutrition. Feeding dogs and cats high-quality food and supplements will give them the best chance to live healthy, vibrant lives.

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