What Is the Meaning Behind These Cute Dog Behaviors?

We love our dogs, but sometimes they’re a little weird. Even some of the cutest things they do might leave you wondering, “What was that about?” 

After generations of domestication, dogs still hold onto some of their instinctive behaviors, even if they don’t make much sense in the modern world. And we love them for it! 

In today’s post, we’ll explore some common cute behaviors your dog might perform, and why they do them. 

Watch the adorable video version of this post by clicking HERE! 

You can also download the audio-only podcast by clicking the download button above.

#1: Why Do Dogs Walk in Circles Before Lying Down? 

One of the cutest (and strangest) things that dogs of all ages do, is that they insist on walking around in circles before lying down to go to sleep. 

But why do they do this? 

Although humans have been breeding dogs for millennia, they still hold onto some leftovers from their wild ancestors. One behavior that stuck was circling the spot they’ll rest in. 

In nature, dogs will circle the area several times before feeling comfortable enough to sleep. This flattens out the dirt and leaves, and creates a softened indentation to lie in. 

Additionally, this will also clear the area of any insects or small animals nearby. 

And lastly, this sends the signal to other dogs not to invade their personal space!

This is an instinctual behavior, so your dog likely isn’t “marking its territory” or clearing the space of pests, but it is trying to get as comfortable as possible! 

#2: Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads? 

When a dog tilts its head slightly sideways, we might assume it’s confused. After all, when one of us is confused, we might tilt our head a little bit to indicate that we don’t understand. 

It turns out, that’s exactly the reason our dogs tilt their heads! 

When dogs see or hear something they don’t recognize or understand, they tilt their heads in order to see and hear it from another angle. 

Adorably, this behavior is much more common among puppies, since there’s a lot about the world that they don’t understand yet! 

#3: Why Do Dogs Kick Their Leg When They Get a Belly Rub? 

If your dog enjoys belly rubs (as most of them do), you might be alarmed when they start kicking their back leg repeatedly as you scratch them. 

Since the dog seems happy, it’s strange to see it kicking its leg as if it’s irritated. 

This is due to a behavior known as the “scratch reflex.” And like the other behaviors in this post, this is an involuntary reflex that dogs retained from their wild ancestors. 

Dogs kick their back legs in response to an itch or irritation, in order to get rid of the source. In the wild, this is typically a bug or small animal. 

Sometimes, the spot on your dog’s belly that you’re rubbing is actually triggering this reflex. Your scratching actually creates an itch, causing your dog’s leg to flinch. 

But at the same time, you are scratching the itch you created, providing instant relief for your dog! 

This reflex is actually very similar to when a doctor hits your knee with a hammer to test your involuntary reflexes. A dog that kicks during a belly rub is a healthy dog! 

Are Your Pets Safe? 

Sometimes, the weirdest things our dogs do are also the cutest. We love our dogs, quirks and all! 

But although our dogs still carry some traits from their wild ancestors, they aren’t well equipped to survive in nature. So it’s important to keep them safe from nearby wildlife. 

If your property has been contaminated by pest animals like rats, raccoons, or squirrels, there’s a high risk that your dog may get attacked, or contract a disease like rabies. 

Don’t put your pets or family at risk of a wildlife infestation. 

Please contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com for more information. 

Thanks for reading! 
-Wildlife x Team International 

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  • If you have raccoons in your attic, garage, or other areas of your home, call Wildlife X Team® at (817) 431-3007 today! Wildlife X Team are experts in raccoon removal and exclusion services.
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