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38 Quirky Dog Behaviors and What They Really Mean!

Lea Lomas

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There is nothing quite like having a dog for a pet. These furry little creatures are as fascinating as they are loving, offering us their entire hearts in return for our genuine care. While we cannot talk to our dogs, we can communicate them by learning to understand how our dogs behave. Today, we are going to explore 38 quirky dog behaviors as well as what they signify! If you’ve ever wanted to know what your dog was thinking, now is your opportunity!

Squinting/Blinking Eyes Repeatedly

If you see your dog staring at you with squinting or blinking eyes, you might be a little worried. Is something in your dog’s eyes? Does your dog have an allergy? While those are possible reasons, the more likely trigger for this behavior is that your pup wants attention. If your dog wants a few extra pets, you might notice slow blinking or squinting behavior.

Sniffing the Rear End of Another Animal

Dogs don’t have hands, so they can’t just shake hands when they greet one another. While we don’t advocate sniffing your buddies behind, dogs use the technique to learn to get to know one another. As it turns out, a dogs’ butt has the strongest concentration of pheromones in their entire body.

Excessive Digging

Digging is an instinctual action for many dogs, though it is especially common in terrier breeds. Typically, dogs like to dig when they are hunting for something that has been buried. Being as dogs like to bury things and their memories aren’t perfect, excessive digging could be explained away by a forgetful pup looking for lost toys.

Flashing the Puppy Dog Eyes

The secret weapon in the arsenal of every pup is their Puppy Dog Eyes. Puppy dog eyes are one of the most adorable ways your dog can beg for attention. When you see your furry friend flashing their big round eyes, they are trying to signify just how much they love and trust you. Pay back that trust with a treat!

Staring At You 

There could be a thousand different reasons as to why your dog is staring at you. Typically, you’ll look at other actions aside from the staring to gauge the goal of their action. When your dog is simply staring at you without any other factors, it simply means that they are respecting of you.

Tail Tucked Between Legs

If you see a dog with its tail tucked firmly between its legs, the reason is likely due to anxiety. You can tell a lot about how a dog is feeling by looking at their tail. When the dog’s tail is relaxed and hanging loose, the dog is comfortable. When the tail is tucked away between the dogs’ legs, that means that the dog is scared.

Scratching at the Floor

There is nothing quite like seeing your full-grown Husky scratching at your brand-new carpet to raise your blood pressure. When your dog starts scratching at the floor, they are likely trying to leave their mark. This is a common behavior in ‘snow breeds’ like Husky, Malamute, and Samoyed breeds. For more information on this behavior, key in ‘dog burrowing’ on your favorite search engine.

Staring With Tongue Out

There are many variations of staring that can lead to different outcomes. When you notice your dog staring at you with its tongue out, the reason is quite simple: your dog is happy! When dogs stare with their tongues out, it is a sign of happiness and relaxation as well as trust.

Howling at Night

If you live out in the country, howling at night can be triggered by any number of things. If you live in the city and hear howling, it is likely because your dog is imitating a characteristic of its past. Most howling-heavy dogs are closely related to wolves which means that your pup is trying to communicate with its pack.

Chewing On Your Blankets

If you see your toddler chewing on the end of a blanket, you probably don’t flinch. If you see your little Pug chewing on a blanket, you are probably wondering why! This is a common behavior found in dogs that were separated too early from their mother. Much like your toddler, this behavior is done to comfort and soothe the dog.

Open Mouth, Relaxed Tail, Pointed Ears

Have you ever seen a German Shepard trotting around at a dog park? You’ll likely notice their open mouth, pointed ears, and relaxed tail expression., This expression signifies that the dog is in a neutral behavior, though relaxed and secure within its environment. If you want to pet a friend’s dog for the first time, this is the correct behavior to look for.

Shaking Toys Vigorously

There is nothing more fun for a dog than a hardcore play session with their favorite rope toy. When your dog viciously shakes their chew toy, they are tapping into behaviors remembered from their past. This behavior is done in the wild when a dog is ensuring that its prey has been killed.

Bowing Before Playtime

The ‘play bow’ is the ultimate sign that playtime is about to start in earnest. If you notice your dog bowing toward you or one of your other pets, that simply means that they are excited and ready to play. Don’t leave your furry friend hanging, grab a toy and get in on the fun!

Looking at You Before Acting

When you notice your dog staring at you for prolonged periods of time and you aren’t holding food, something might be up. Typically, a long and enduring stare signifies that your dog is waiting for you to respond to what they are about to do. If your dog has ever found where the treats are hidden, you know this expression quite well!

Straight Pointed Tail + Forward Ears

There are many different ways for a dog to position its tail and ears to signify a behavior. When your dog has its tail pointed straight out with its ears resting forward, your dog is likely curious about something in the area. Your dog might have noticed a new smell or sound.

Shaking Water Off Their Coat

Every dog will shake its body when they get out of the water. Whether after a bath or playtime at the lake, dogs will shake to get water off because it is the most efficient way possible to get dry for them. A wet dog can shake away at least 70% of the water soaking its body!

Dog Follows You Everywhere

Some people might think their is a deep meaning as to why your dog follows you everywhere. Well their is and their isn’t. Some dogs will follow their owners everywhere because they know that they might get a treat or some food. And some dogs are bred to be by your side. Dogs have been breed to work side by side with people for generations and that is why they may follow your everywhere as well. Some breeds are more so to follow you side by side then others.

Open Mouth With Loose Floppy Tongue

Have you ever noticed your dog watching you while you tended to some activity? Maybe you were sitting down for a Netflix binge when Lassy hopped up on the couch to stare at you with her tongue hanging out. A loose floppy tongue is a positive behavioral sign that states absolute comfort for the dog.

Hiding Under Your Bed

There are a multitude of reasons for a dog to hide under a bed. Some dogs will hide in dark spaces when they are scared or injured. Other dogs will just want to have their own private and quiet space to relax in. If your dog suddenly begins to hide under the bed, check to ensure that they are okay but otherwise let the dog be.

Circling An Area Before Going to Sleep

One of the most commonly reported dog behaviors is when a dog walks in circles before laying down to go to sleep. This is a common trait for dogs that sleep outside or on the ground. Before dogs were domesticated, this circling behavior was used to smash trample grass for a soft sleeping place.

Teeth Bared + Snarl

You don’t have to be a behavioral expert to understand that bared teeth can rarely signify something positive. When your dog bares its teeth or begins to snarl, the odds are good that they are upset or afraid. Never approach a growling or snarling dog and especially avoid animals that have flashed their teeth.

Any Kind of Staring

No, Fido isn’t trying to read your mind by staring into your eyes. Dogs stare for many reasons, most of them benign. If you notice your furry best friend staring at you from across the room, all they really want is a little bit of love and affection. Who could resist such a cute behavioral tactic?

Running in Their Sleep

Sleep running is one of the funniest and most adorable things our dog regularly does. This cute behavioral tic signifies exactly what you probably already guessed, your dog is running in its sleep! Who knows what exciting adventures your dog gets up to while it is asleep. Maybe they finally caught the mailman?

Bark That Slowly Gets Higher Pitched

Dogs have all sorts of barks that they like to whip out for special occasions. If your dog starts with a slow and low-pitched dark before working it up to a high-pitched bark, your dog probably wants to play. Of course, all dogs are unique so make sure that you understand the dog you are interacting with.

Aggression Toward Mail Carrier

It is a tale as old as time. The mail carrier arrives to deliver your latest Amazon package and Scruffy goes wild. More than just a trope, barking at mail carriers is an outward signifier that your dog is staking a claim on its territory. Your dog is just doing its job to protect you and your family. We aren’t sure that the mail carrier loves this behavior, though.

Seemingly Random Howling

We’ve touched on a number of different reasons for your dog to be howling, so let’s dig a little deeper. If your dog begins to howl at seemingly random times, they could be responding to sounds from their environment. Sirens and train whistles, as well as other high-pitched sounds, can trigger your dog to howl in response.

Powerful uh Flatulence

Flatulence can signify a thousand different things when a human exhibits the behavior. If you notice that your furry friend is sporting some intense flatulence, well, that is likely due to a mix between their breed and diet. If you notice ongoing flatulence paired with strange and sudden new behaviors, there might be something else at play.

Low Keening Growl

Growling can signify so many different behaviors that you need to know your dog in order to understand their growls perfectly. That being said, a low growl will typically indicate that your dog is anxious or afraid. Any time that an animal is scared or anxious, they become unpredictable. Never approach a scared or worried animal.

Sleeping With Limbs Upward

This adorable sleeping position makes us want to just cuddle our pets even more. When your dog stretches out with its limbs straight in the area, they are likely trying to cool down. This sleeping position also signifies that your dog is comfortable with exposing its most vulnerable area (stomach) to the world.

Barking At Other Animals With Ears Pressed Tightly

Is there anything more entertaining than watching your dog meet another dog? If you notice your dog barking with its ears tightly pressed to the side of its head, this is likely a sign of submission. When two dogs are interacting via barking, the one with its ears held high is typically going to be the alpha.

Sleeping on Their Side

Dogs will sleep in just about every position possible, though cats still hold the sleeping crown. When your dog sleeps on its side it is likely due to the fact that they completely trust their surroundings. Side sleeping is a signal that your dog is comfortable and has trust in the leader of its ‘pack’, i.e. you!

Stashing Treats in Hiding Places

When you give your dog a treat or toy, do they immediately hide it? While you might think it strange for your dog to stash its treats and toys, this is actually a common behavior rooted in evolution. Prior to dogs becoming domesticated, being able to hide food was an absolute necessity to survival in the wild.

Sleeping in the ‘Superman’ Pose

Does your dog like to splay out like Superman when they rest? With paws stretched in all directions and hips splayed flat, you’ll think that your dog has begun to melt into the floor! Most dogs assume this sleeping position because the dog has completely run out of energy. If you have a puppy, you’ll notice this sleeping position all of the time!

Everyday Panting

Panting is a common behavior that every dog will exhibit. Dogs do not sweat as we do, so they have to have another way to reduce their internal body temperature. If your dog is panting on a sunny day, the odds are good that your pup needs to cool down with a cold bowl of water.

Excitedly Sticking Head Out Car Window

Your dog experiences the world through its snout. So, when your dog sticks its head outside of the car window, they are doing it to take in as many new experiences as possible. While dogs enjoy sticking their head out the car window, you still need to be careful as this could be dangerous for the animal.

Sleeping on Back With Paws Over Chest

Have you noticed your dog sleeping on its back with its paws tucked atop its chest? This cute pose may make you want to scratch your doggos belly, but you might be better-served backing away. A dog that sleeps in this position is likely doing so because they are overheated and need space to cool down.

Slow Tail Wagging

When your dog slowly wags its tail, what do you think is going on? Some dogs will wag their tail slowly to signify that they are anxious. This would be similar to a human that laughs when confronted with something uncomfortable. Some other dogs will slowly wag their tail to signify submission.

Evading Being Petted

There is nothing quite so hurtful as when your dog avoids your affection. If your dog is pulling away when you try to pet it, there has to be a reason. Most commonly, this kind of body language signifies discomfort with the way that you are petting the animal. Change your technique and see if your dog is more receptive!

Sleeping Like a Fox

A dog that sleeps in a tight ball with its paws curled beneath it may look like a fox. This sleeping-fox position is likely due to the fact that your dog is cold. This position allows your pet to retain as much body heat as possible to stave off the cold.

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Animals

The Rescue of a 46-years-old Elephant after Years of Life in Captivity

Mackenzie Freeman

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Karma, a 46-year-old blind elephant, had been a captive all her life as a victim of human abuse and neglect. She had been used by her owners as a tool for begging for many years. Karma was also forced to carry heavy loads through the busy and chaotic streets of India and give rides to tourists. Since she was absolutely blind, any interaction in the streets was extremely fearful and hard for her. As time passed, Karma lost her hope of experiencing freedom. 

However, miracles do happen. In December 2019, Karma was rescued by volunteers of the group Wildlife SOS.  The mission of this non-profit organization is to rescue wild captive animals, help them to rehabilitate, and contribute to preserving India’s natural heritage. They have helped thousands of animals so far, including elephants. 

In the touching video Wildlife SOS shared, Karma is getting out the trailer helped by two volunteers and taking the first steps towards her long awaited freedom. 

Karma received a totally new life at an animal sanctuary and rehabilitation center Elephant Conservation and Care Center located in Northern India. She loves her new home and environment and feels confident by strolling around the sanctuary’s green grassy plains and peaceful fields. Because of her blindness, Karma is cautious and takes every step slowly by using her trunk to guide her. This is the only tool she has for smelling and feeling the ground in front of her.  For now, caregivers are trying not to leave Karma alone and stay close enough while she is becoming familiar with the new environment and discovering the sanctuary. 

She has to stay under quarantine for a while, until it will be safe for her to see other animals. However, the staff of the sanctuary hopes that once the quarantine is over Karma will be able to meet other elephants and become a part of her new elephant family. 

Caregivers say that she has a long way to recover.  However, already after a month at the sanctuary, she is feeling much better, getting stronger and becoming more confident. The organization has also started a fundraising company and has already raised money to cover Karma’s medical expenses.

Karma definitely benefits from freedom and life in a safe, natural environment. She finally looks like a happy elephant enjoying every second of her existence. 

According to statistics, there are over 4,000 elephants living in captivity in India today. The average life expectancy of elephants is 60-70 years. However, captive elephants usually die before 40 due to such chronic disorders as tuberculosis, foot abscesses, and arthritis. Moreover,  most of the keepers do not understand the needs of these giant animals and fail to provide them with proper living conditions. 

Wildlife SOS was established in 1995 as a group of people inspired to preserve India’s natural heritage and protect the wildlife of the country. They have launched dozens of initiatives with the purpose to protect India’s endangered animals and prevent their extinction. Karma became the seventh rescued elephant at the sanctuary in 2020. 

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Local Hero UPS Driver Saves Dog Trapped In Ice

Mackenzie Freeman

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What’s your normal work day like? For Ryan Arens, a UPS driver in Bozeman, Montana, a normal day would be delivering packages to people. He’s been working for UPS for 14 years, so his day is pretty routine and he likes to stick to a schedule. 

In January of 2019, he broke routine when he heard something strange during his route. He thought he heard a dog in distress. He could hear it yelping and crying, but it was getting dark so he couldn’t see it. There was a pond near the neighborhood he was in. He went around to the other side of it to get a closer look. That’s when he saw the dog. It was a wire-haired pointing griffon and it was in the middle of the pond. It had fallen through the ice into the cold waters and was trying to stay near the surface. He didn’t know how long the dog had been in the water, but he knew he had to do something.

There was another good Samaritan on the water in a rowboat that was trying to save the dog as well, but he was having no luck. Ryan always keeps a dry change of clothes in his backpack, so he would do what any rational person would do, jump in the freezing cold water and save the dog. 

Getting the dog out of the water was easy and the dog was very thankful. Ryan brought the dog to the good Samaritans house where they tried to get her warm. She had been in the water for a very long time and her legs were weak. She could barely stand when they put her in the tub in warm water. Ryan held her up while the homeowner gently bathed her in warm water to get her blood flowing properly again. They then dried her off and gave her food and Ryan showered and changed his clothes before heading back to finish his route. 

The next day, he thought about whether the good Samaritan was able to find the dogs owner. He thought about going by after work to check, when the dog he saved from the frigid waters came bounding over to his truck during a delivery. The package he was delivering belonged to the owners of the lucky dog and they were happy to thank the man who saved their Sadie, which is the dogs name.

Ryan Arens did want any person would do, especially one whose an animal lover. He has a dog himself, a 14 year old Malamute Shepherd mix. They love going on walks and snuggling on the couch together. His dog is his world and he hopes that if his dog ever got out and got themselves in a sticky and scary situation, that someone would be there to save her, like he did Sadie. 

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Animals

How to Name Your Male Dog in 2020: 10 ideas

Mackenzie Freeman

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Getting a dog is always exciting because you are adding a new member to your family. However, one of the biggest questions that most new dog owners have is “How to name him?”. If you are having trouble thinking of a name for your male four-legged friend, here are some ideas based on popular trends of 2020. 

Luke

If you are a fan of Star Wars, this name is familiar to you. In 2020 it is one of the most popular names for male puppies. Moreover,  Luke was also the name of Staffordshire Bull Terrier who acted in silent films at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Bailey

If you grew up in the 90s, you must be familiar with the Scott Wolf’s character in Party of Five named Bailey. Puppies named Bailey are characterized as strong, good-natured and loyal canines. 

Max

If you want to have not just a dog but a best friend, name your pooch Max. It was the dog’s name from the movie of the same name Max released in 2015. The movie was about the dog who has to relocate from Afghanistan to Texas after his owner passed away. 

Jack

It is another great name for a loyal dog. It is also a great choice if you have Jack Russel Terrier. Fans of the NBC drama This is Us might also want to name their male dog Jack after the heroic character played by Milo Ventimiglia. 

Milo 

It is a great name for a dog because it is classic, and is easy to remember and pronounce. Milo was the name of the orange tabby cat in the 80s movie Adventures of Milo and Otis that tells about the friendship between a cat and a pug. 

Toby

According to the statistics provided by PetPlace, dogs named Toby are loyal, friendly, and playful. Even though it is a human name, it is more known as a male dog name in 2020. 

Charlie

Charlie is the third popular dog name today. Charlie was also a dog character in the animated comedy series Looney Tunes produced by Warner Brothers in the period from 1930 to 1969. Therefore, if you are looking for a really old, classic name for your pooch, here is the one. 

Rocky 

If you have a large and strong dog, you can name him Rocky – after Rocky Balboa. You might also remember the animated comedy  The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle – one of the most iconic shows in the 1960s. Rocky was the name of one of the main characters – a flying squirrel. 

Jake

For those who do not like the name Jack but still want their dog’s name to start with J here is an option – Jake. It is among the top 10 most popular names in 2020. If you are a fan of animated television series Adventure Time,  you should remember its main four-legged character named Jake, who is a great example of a human best friend. 

Oliver

Being a classic name, this name is good for both dogs and babies. It is also capable to produce many different cute nicknames, such as Ollie, Olly, or Olley.  Most dogs named Oliver are active and curious pooches with a lot of energy. 

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