Five common dog behaviours and what they mean

From zoomies to bum sniffs - our furries all have these behaviours in common… and now you’ll know why they do it.

What better welcome, after a hard day’s slog, than your dog’s tail-wagging joy?

They shower us with unconditional love, entertain us when we’re low, and cuddle us when we’re lonely… but wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could understand them better?

Animal behaviourist Michelle Moll gives us the lowdown on what our pets are telling us with these five common behaviours:

  • Crazy zoomies, not boring Zoom meetings

When our dogs suddenly go tearing around the house or garden in gay abandon, it usually brings a smile.

Also known as Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs), this is normal behaviour to release energy.  

  • Checking their social media feed

Otherwise known as sniffing other dogs’ bums. Every creature has a unique scent signature.

And, with their 220 million scent receptors – we only have 5 million – this is the dog’s way of checking out social status through sniffing the pheromones picked up from anal glands and crotches.

  • Ball, ball, ball!

We stimulate dogs’ play or prey drive by throwing balls for them and encourage this behaviour. The dog’s forefathers hunted to survive so it is an instinctive and an innate ability.

But it is not healthy for the dog to become obsessed or dependent on ball play, so vary games and play-time interaction.

  • Tell-tail signs

When biting their tails, dogs are just having fun and exploring their own bodies. Or, they could be bored, lacking physical and mental stimulation so their tails become a distraction.

When it becomes an obsessive or compulsive behaviour causing damage, professional intervention is necessary.

  • The scent of bird poop… or a dead fish 

Your hound may choose to roll in anything from Hadeda poop to a dead fish as this is an instinctive “scent rolling”  behaviour to mask the dog’s own odour if it had to hunt; or a way of telling to its peers there is a delicious treat nearby.

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