Last Friday, whilst sitting in the sunny back yard, I was doing some light reading and wondering what to blog about next. After noticing Rex stealing logs from the woodpile, I heard a strange sound that can only be described as a cow peeing on a flat, metal rock. I put down the Silmarillion, walk around the corner, and there’s Duncan peeing in Rex’s empty food bowl! Why? I mean, I know why. He’s marking it as his, but – oh never mind, at least I know what to write about this week: the many bizarre antics these wacky woodchucks insist on perpetrating.
Rare and weird dogs:
The Phone Freebooter
Nitro did this as a puppy back in the flip-phone days. He didn’t chew and shred the item (it was sometimes a shoe or pen), he just STOLE it. It was particularly vexing after leaves had covered the backyard, making the item nearly impossible to find. He never stashed things in the same place either.
The Tub Raider
Dogs are big on those awkward visits while we’re in the bathroom, but I knew a lab named Mocha that liked to sneak in and out of my bathtub alone. She didn’t nap or camp out in there, it was just a weird visitation fetish. She hated baths so perhaps her doggie therapist had been advising her to face her fears.
The Rake Robber
Most dogs do not approve of brooms, vacuum cleaners, or leaf blowers, and unscheduled noises are likely to make them flee in terror. I once knew a long-haired shepherd named Kaiser that would get very vocal and attack any operating rake in sight. It was horrifying and hilarious all at once. I didn’t stop raking of course, and it’s worth mentioning that dogs are quite cognizant of the behaviors that crack us up.
The Wall Licker
The first time I saw this I thought, oh I guess some food splashed on that wall. Then I realized how absurd that sounded. I had a regular client named Brewsky that liked to do this often, and usually he would stare at me while licking the wall. I tried staring back at him, but that just made everything creepier. Tempted to begin licking a TV remote or a PlayStation controller to one-up the goofball, I decided instead that a treat and toy was a better (and less enabling) distraction.
The Lifebuoy Looter
As a rule, dogs like to eat the most disgusting things they can find. Our Weimaraner Rueben, however, preferred to sneak into the tub and eat a bar of soap whenever he thought no one was looking (now I’m wondering if that’s what Mocha was looking for). In any case, I’ve never known another dog to eat soap.
The Distorted Dozer
Dogs like to nap in all sorts of peculiar positions. Although this indicates they feel comfortable and safe, I cannot begin to estimate how they endure such egregious ergonomic errors. I’ve seen dogs do the corkscrew, the belly up, the superman, and the feature photo today shows Duncan in what I call the “Swiss army knife.”
The Peering Pooper
The whole poop ritual is an outlandish oddity to begin with. Owners routinely have to pretend they are NOT waiting for their dog to poo, but some dogs are able to dump another variable onto this ostensible occasion by staring at you while they poop. Doggie psychologists say they do this when they are waiting for a reward for pooping outside.
The Spry Sprinter
Zoomies are quite common but only the most talented dogs zoom acrobatically. These guys employ a leap-froggy and butt-skoochy scamper as they scurry, twirl, and deal hip or shoulder checks with astounding precision. This rare and hilarious behavior is a well-received fan favorite. Between the positive reinforcement and all the dang fun they are having, even the spectators get worn out.
Common (but still weird) things dogs do:
Scrutchling a dog on the belly (or wherever his “spot” is) will cause a reflex result where a singular sewing-machine-leg erupts in rebellion. Doggie experts say the dog is trying to make you stop, but I don’t believe them. Besides, it’s an excellent way to test that your dog’s interneurons, afferent neurons, and efferent neurons are all in good working order.
The conventional wisdom here is that dogs eat grass to alleviate an upset tummy. This instinctive trait may also be implemented to rectify a fiber deficiency, or maybe it’s because grass feels cool. I’ve even seen dogs eat grass when they’re thirsty.
Butt dragging is humorous but it could be a sign that something is medically wrong. Most of the time it’s because they are trying to pass something weird (like a Lego or a big blade of grass). They may need to have their anal glands expressed, but if it is a chronic problem, definitely visit your veterinarian.
Disagrees with the Sneeze
Rex does the “reverse sneeze” whenever someone comes over to visit since that makes him very excited. During this respiratory event he uses forceful attempts to inhale through his nose. Doggie doctors say it is caused by a muscle spasm at the back of the mouth. Other experts say that it occurs when the dog’s soft palate is irritated, causing spasms. This harmless and terrifying phenomenon will go away by itself in about half a minute but presenting them with a treat or rubbing their belly will serve to reverse the reverse sneezing.
The Dream Weaver
Dogs dream more often than not, and they always seem to be chasing something (or running for their lives). A dreaming dog makes a weird, suppressed barking sound, and their legs may twitch or mime a running motion. For some mystifying reason, a dreaming dog doesn’t usually phase other dogs nearby. Maybe they are all in the same dream together?
Humping phases other dogs, and either gender, whether intact or not, may mount another dog to exert dominance or initiate play. Normal humping is one thing, but you may catch these rascally rascals engaged in head humping, side humping, reverse humping, or the famously apprehensible coup de grace of humping: air humping.
Oh, just admit it, if you had a tail, you’d chase it too. Dogs usually do this when they’re bored or as a way to get attention. However, if they often chew on their tail, they could be having an issue with fleas or another medical problem.
Circle the Wagons
There are a number of things going on with this crowd-pleasing vestigial behavior. Circling before lying down serves to check the surroundings, clears the bedding zone of snakes or insects, and pats down the grass or otherwise makes the ground more comfortable. It is likely that all that berth banding could also be a way to mark ownership.
Post Pottie Celebration
No, they aren’t covering their poop. Some dog doctors tell us that canines kick after pooping to mark their territory with scents from their paws. They have sweat glands in their feet that make pheromones, and scoop-kicking soil after elimination is their way of “signing” their work. Other experts report that kicking around the freshly soiled soil spreads the dog’s expellant, thereby accentuating the mark.
To be sure, dogs are an unusual bunch, and like humans, they do weird things for more than one reason at a time. Unlike humans, I don’t think they spend a lot of time wondering why they do these things.