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    Why, oh why (part 1)?

    Steve-King

    As you’ve noticed, dogs do, what appear to us, strange things at times. “Strange”, as with so much in the natural world, only in the sense of us humans not understanding. This is part 1 of a 2 part series unwrapping some of our furry friends’ quirks. I would like to recognize www.cuteness.com for their insight into these canine habits.

    •Why does my dog stare at me when he poops?

    When a dog poops, he is in a very vulnerable position. The idea of staring at you is deeply embedded in a dog’s DNA and goes back to when dogs were scavenging and living wild. They needed to have someone “be on guard” in the event of a predator arriving during that critical time of defecation.

    •Why does my dog circle before going potty?

    There are 3 theories I’ve come across:

    •Dogs might go around in circles prior to eliminating as a means of getting their digestive systems ready for the task. By engaging in a little physical activity beforehand, dogs might be able to encourage a fast and smooth elimination experience.

    •Dog feet are equipped with scent glands. They employ these glands for labeling their turf. By walking around his future elimination site in repetitive circles, your dog might simply be leaving a scent trail behind; essentially communicating to the world that he owns the place.

    •Dogs might circle before eliminating as a relic of their wild origins. If a dog out in nature has to “go potty” in a setting chock full of plants, circling can be a way of smoothing the area out and therefore making for a comfortable and tidier bathroom experience.

    Personally I’m not won over by theories 1 and 3, so my money is on theory #2.

    •Why does my dog sigh all the time?

    As with humans, dogs can sigh for a number of reasons. Generally with dogs, it is an outward manifestation of being relaxed and content. Dogs will not sigh through frustration. In previous articles, I’ve highlighted the need to look upon dogs’ behaviour by looking at various factors, not just isolating one. Sighing is another example of this. So, as just noted, sighing would appear to indicate a positive wellbeing. However, deep and frequent sighing can be an indication that your dog is in pain or is ill. This is also likely going to be the case if sighing is accompanied by groaning. Finally, deep sighing can indicate that your pet is lethargic. If the sighing is accompanied by unusual behavior such as no longer wanting to play, refusing to eat, and no longer responding, this could be a sign of a much larger health problem.

    •Why does my dog drop to the ground when he sees another dog on a walk?

    So your dog spots another dog not too far away and drops to the ground. Doing this does not indicate any form of hiding, in fact quite the opposite. Your dog is showing body language which indicates he wants to play. Sharon Crowell-Davis, DVM, DACVB, professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, says that dropping to the ground is “a play solicitation.” By lying down, your dog may be making itself appear smaller or nonthreatening to the approaching dog. When the 2 dogs meet, this will often transition into a “play bow”, i.e. a desire to play.

    Next week, we’ll unravel some more strange habits of our canine friends.