Dog Behavior Explained: Why Do Dogs Do That?


Have you ever looked at your dog and wondered what they are thinking? Dogs exhibit all sorts of strange behaviors that we don’t understand. Some are very entertaining, while others can be a sign of a problem going on with your pup. Here’s some of the more common weird dog behaviors and what they could mean.

Why do dogs chew/lick their feet?

Do you find your dog lying down and constantly licking or chewing their paw? Licking their paws could be something as simple as your pup grooming themselves. But excessive licking or chewing could mean they’re dealing with some sort of inconvenience. This could range from something stuck in their paw, to a food sensitivity—depending if the skin and fur around where they’re chewing is red, flaky, or bare of fur.1 If your dog is chewing their paw due to a food sensitivity, be sure to have them try some AvoDerm Natural® Vegetarian Formula to help with any sensitivities to common proteins.

If your dog continues to chew their paws, consult with a vet to better understand their discomfort.

Why do dogs sneeze when they play?

No, your pup is not allergic to fun. Dogs use sneezing as a sense of communication, just like with their tails and eyes. If you find two dogs playing aggressively and one or both start sneezing, it’s their way of saying “I’m just having fun, nothing to be worried about.” Sneezing is a simple way to tell whether your dog is having a good time, or if the playing could turn south in time.

Why do dogs eat grass?

As a dog owner, you’ve probably witnessed your dog eating grass from time to time. This is completely normal behavior with several potential motives. Boredom is one of the most common reasons for chewing grass, so make sure you’re giving your pup plenty of playtime and walking. Another reason is that your dog might have a nutrient deficiency, most often linked to low fiber.² For a tasty fix, have your dog try the AvoDerm Natural® Trout & Pea Recipe, which provides a healthy amount of fiber.

A common theory for dogs eating grass is that they are trying to purge themselves of an upset stomach. This can be true, but sometimes it could be something as simple as they like the taste of grass. Contact a vet if grazing becomes a constant behavior from your pup.

Why do dogs circle before lying down?

Watching your pup walk in little circles as he gets ready to rest is an adorable behavior to experience. But why do they always circle before lying down? Well, it all stems back to their ancestral habits. Back when dogs ran wild, they would use the method of circling to fend off insects, snakes and other creatures from their resting place. This would also make a more comfortable sleeping position with the flattened earth and grass, which is why the habit has carried over all these years later.

Why do dogs roll in stinky stuff?

Perhaps one of the most off-putting behaviors of any dog, is their propensity to roll around in any disgusting, dead, or smelly thing they find. Why is it that when your dog sees a big pile of garbage, they want to dive into it? This behavior also traces back to ancestral habits. Because dogs are predatory animals with great senses of smell, they would often cover themselves in any disgusting scent. This tactic would be used if they found any food or anything of interest. By covering themselves in a disgusting smell, dogs would disguise themselves from predators or other dogs looking to scavenge the discoveries.

Has your dog ever done this after a bath? That could be because their new scent is too much for their advanced sense of smell. Either that, or they just don’t enjoy their new scent. Though frustrating, this problem can likely be addressed with a milder-scented shampoo next time.

Dogs are very entertaining creatures. With all of their weird behaviors, it can be hard to understand what they want, or if they’re just being goofy. This is just a small list of common weird dog behaviors and what they could mean. Every breed has their own unique behaviors, and that’s why we love our pups.


  1. Perreault, Jet. “Why Is My Dog Biting His Paws? (And How to Stop It).” Petful, Petful, 30 June 2016.
  2. “Why Do Dogs Eat Grass – Dog’s Q&A.” VetBabble, 27 Feb. 2018.

AvoDerm Natural® is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.

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