5 Quirky Dog Behaviors and What They Mean

by Sydney Hess

Golden retriever walking outside

Here are five of the most common quirky dog behaviors and quick explainers to help you better understand why your dog does what they do.

Dogs are weird. It’s one of the things that we love most about them. Some behaviors are so strange that they leave owners scratching their heads, wondering “why does my dog put their paw on me, like belly rubs or [insert any other burning question here]”. 

All dogs come with their own unique quirks, but some peculiarities are not all that uncommon in the canine world. Here are five of the most shared oddities among our four-legged pals and quick explainers to help you better understand your buddy’s behavior. 

1. Dog zoomies 

The zoomies are arguably one of the best dog behaviors one can witness. When a dog gets the zoomies, they have a burst of energy seemingly out of nowhere and will run wildly in whatever space is available to them. Zoomies are known to be a happy behavior, as dogs seem to be full of joy while zooming about. 

While zooming is a normal behavior, a dog that does this multiple times a day may be hinting that they need more exercise. This behavior can also be used by dogs as a way to release built up stress or anxiety. Often, dogs will get the zoomies right after having a bath. Post-bath zoomies help relieve the bathtime stress, with the added bonus of helping to dry themselves off.

2. Wiping their face after eating 

Many dogs find it satisfying to rub up on your couch or carpet after enjoying a meal or a yummy snack. The obvious reason for this is that they are wiping and cleaning their faces, same as humans do. However, there may be other explanations as to why dogs do this as well. Rubbing their faces is a way to express gratitude, happiness and contentment when their belly is nice and full. Dogs find all sorts of silly ways to express their emotions, and this behavior is one of the ways they can release their inner joy. 

Note: With all of the above being said, if your dog is pawing at their mouth after eating and seems uncomfortable, you may want to check their teeth for any dental problems. 

3. The dog head tilt

Head tilts are the golden standard of photo opportunities when it comes to dogs. How can you not be captivated by a pup tilting their head side-to-side? The majority of the time this behavior occurs, the dog sees or hears something that intrigues them. Dogs have a unique perspective of the world and tilting their head may help them get a better visual or to hear something a bit better. 

This behavior can often be triggered by your dog's favorite words, such as “go bye-bye” or “squirrel”! Dogs aren’t the only creatures who display this behavior, humans also tilt their heads when deep in thought or while recalling a memory. Humans and dogs alike can relate to this behavior, but dogs undoubtedly look cuter while doing it. 

4. Eating grass 

For a long time it was thought that dogs eating grass means they’re sick or missing nutrients in their diet. While this behavior can be caused by a deficiency or an illness, a dog munching on grass doesn’t necessarily mean they are sick. 

Some dogs will grab and rip grass out of excitement, while others will eat grass just because they like the way it tastes. Owners often notice this behavior more in the spring when the grass is green, fresh, and apparently, extra tasty. Grass eating from time-to-time is not an issue in and of itself, just make sure the spot that your dog frequents is not treated with any harmful pesticides or herbicides. 

5. Underwear thievery

As gross and taboo as it is to talk about, an unfortunate yet common dog owner experience is having a pair of underwear dragged out of the dirty laundry hamper by your dog. This can result in needing to buy new underwear, feeling grossed out, or in serious cases if they accidentally ingest it–a trip to the veterinary emergency room. Underwear has a unique and concentrated scent of their humans, causing some dogs to be especially drawn to it. In a weird way, it is a compliment and shows that they love us. Flattery aside, it is best to keep underwear out of our dog’s reach to avoid any unexpected vet visits.

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