You may know and love your dog’s quirky personality, but sometimes their behaviour can be hard to explain.  

There are lots of curious canine behaviours that can baffle dog lovers. For example, why does your dog’s back leg start kicking when you scratch them in a just the right place? And why does your dog chase itself around in circles? Here we find some answers. 

Why does my dog kick when enjoying a good scratch?

Your pup is spread out enjoying a good old belly scratch, right in its favourite place. Thanks to your well-tuned scratching ability, your dog has started its usual, manic leg-jerking. 

You might reasonably associate this endearing kicking with canine contentedness, but it’s also a ‘scratch reflex’, a type of involuntary response.

This scratch reflex can actually be useful for your vet to test if a dog has suffered any nerve damage.

Why does my dog chase its tail?

Watching your dog running around in endless tight circles can be amusing. Occasional tail chasing is nothing to worry about and normally just a bit of fun for dogs, especially younger ones.

But like many dog behaviours, too much tail chasing can be a warning sign. Dogs who relentlessly chase around in circles may have a health issue, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your pup’s habits and taking them to the vet if something doesn’t seem quite right.

Why does my dog get scared by the hoover?

Both dogs and cats have been known to scarper at the first sign of the hoover. 

It’s not surprising, if you try and see things from a dog’s perspective hoovers are large, loud, fast and unpredictable. They tend to crash around the house, invading spaces that are normally quiet and peaceful. 

Some dogs are more easily scared than others so barking is a natural reaction, especially if they haven’t had much exposure to them or if they’ve been startled by them in the past.  

Some dogs can just generally be extremely fearful, so beware that a common fear doesn’t turn into a phobia

Why does my dog eat grass?

You might have often found yourself saying that your dog will eat just about anything - whether or not it’s good for them. Dogs are happy scavengers, with strong stomachs. 

But, as any dog owner knows, they shouldn’t just eat anything, and some common household items can be poisonous to dogs.

According to the Blue Cross pet charity, grass shouldn’t be high up on your list of concerns. It explains: “There shouldn’t be any need to worry about this if the habit [of eating grass] doesn’t become excessive, the grass they’re munching on has not been sprayed with harmful pesticides and you have talked to your vet to get treatment to ensure your dog is protected from lungworm, which is passed on by slugs and snails.”

No one knows for sure why dogs occasionally take to cow-like grass grazing, but they’re probably just curious and enjoying the taste. 

Why does my dog tilt its head?

It can be oh-so endearing: your dog tilts its head in an intelligent-looking posture, suggesting attentiveness. 

Like much dog behaviour, no one can explain the head tilt with any great certainty, but experts have plenty of theories, such as:

  • It’s a sign of intelligence and sensitivity;
  • They’re curious about a sound and tilting their head helps them better determine where the sound is coming from;
  • They tilt their heads in order to better hear words and phrases that mean something to them in particular;
  • They do it so they can have a full view of your face when you talk to them, especially if they have a large muzzle.

Again, if this behaviour starts happening very frequently, then you might want to consult your vet, as it could indicate something’s not quite right.

Why does my dog lick me?

Your instincts are probably right on this one: when your dog licks you it’s likely to be a sign of affection. They may also be seeking your attention, especially if you tend to react positively to their licking; or perhaps they’ve sensed a tiny, tasty morsel of food on your face or hands.

Coupled with those reasons is a dog’s innate instinct to lick, a behaviour that they’re born with. 

Why does my dog howl?

Like a human yelling, there are likely to be lots of different reasons for your dog to howl: from seeking attention to alerting you to a danger, or simply communicating with other dogs. 

It can be worrying for owners to hear their dog howling very regularly. And there’s good reason for this, as it can indicate separation anxiety, medical issues or fears of certain sounds.

Why does my dog bark at its reflection?

Your dog is part of the family, so it can be easy to assume it shares some of the same traits as other, human members of the household.

However, in a canine world, things can look very different. A mirror or other reflective surface is a good example. When dogs look in the mirror, they don’t see themselves; in reality, scientists say they see another dog peering back at them. 

When a puppy first experiences this, the result can be lots of hilarious yapping at the ‘other dog’ that has suddenly appeared. But after a while, when they realise they get no response back from the mirror-pup, they tend to move on and find something else to play with. 

Man’s best friend can be downright peculiar sometimes.

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