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Why is Fido Doing That?
10 Strange and Amusing Dog Behaviors Revealed

There are nearly 75 million pet dogs in the United States, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey -- each with their own unique quirks and personalities.

10 percent of pet dogs in the United States were adopted from an animal shelter.

Have you ever wondered what some of those quirks mean? Here are some common, and not-so-common, dog behaviors finally explained.

Why Does My Dog ...

1. Wag his tail?

A dog wags its tail to express emotion. As it turns out, a study published in Current Biology found that dogs wag their tails to the right side of their rear ends when they feel positive about something, and to the left when they have negative feelings.

2. Lick my face?

Dogs lick as a submissive social signal, so it could be their way of submitting to you (as their "pack leader). In a young dog, it could also be a request for food, since puppies lick their mothers to show they're hungry.

3. Eat grass?

Some experts believe dogs eat grass simply because they like the taste. Others believe they do so because it's cleansing for their body.

4. Walk around "forever" before urinating?

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According to Tony Kremer, a veterinarian and dog behavior expert, they do this to "scan the terrain for predators so they don't get 'caught with their pants down ... They may [also] be [homing] in on just the right spot to mark with their scent."

5. Burrow under the covers?

"Dogs are denning animals," says Kellyann Conway, treasurer of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in an article.

So they burrow under your covers because it helps them feel safe, secure and comfortable. While all dogs may do this, hounds, terriers and huskies are especially likely to do so.

6. Circle before lying down?

Dogs in the wild circle to mat down the grass and make a bed for themselves. This instinct has likely been genetically passed down to your dog.

7. Chase her tail?

In most cases, just because it's fun. However, if the tail chasing becomes excessive, it could be the sign of a medical problem, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

8. Run in his sleep?

Yes, dogs do dream, and when his paws move or he yips while sound asleep, it's because he's dreaming.

9. Drink out of the toilet?

Toilet water is probably fresher and colder than the water in your dog's bowl, which is why he may seek out this personal "water fountain" to take a drink.

10. Like to roll in smelly things, especially right after a bath?

Most likely he is trying to mask his scent. This is an instinct passed on from wild dogs that needed to mask their scents while hunting.


About 39 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog.

Recommended Reading

How Can Having Pets Improve Your Health? Let Us Count the Ways...

The Top Household Dangers to Your Pets


Current Biology Volume 17, Issue 6, 20 March 2007, Pages R199-R201

The Humane Society of the United States Dog Central December 25, 2007

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