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Decoding Your Dog’s Odd Behaviors

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Learn the reasons behind your dog’s puzzling habits.
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Image matrix of multiple happy dogs.

Ever wonder why your dog turns around five times before laying down? Or why they lick everyone they meet? Many of these quirks resemble the basic survival behaviors of their wolf ancestors.

Here’s how some of your dog’s behaviors might stem from evolutionary instincts like safety and security, finding sustenance, and socialization.

1. Why does my dog turn in circles before bed?

2. Why does my dog eat poop?

3. Why does my dog lick me so much?

4. Why do dogs sniff each other there?

5. What does tail wagging signal?

1. Why does my dog turn in circles before bed?

The next time your dog seems fussy settling into a comfy spot, remember that their ancestors would walk in circles to ensure an area was safe for resting. Flattening the grass not only creates a level space to rest on, but also clears out snakes or other threats and exposes cooler earth on a hot day.

2. Why does my dog eat poop?

Despite it being fairly common, many pet owners balk when they see their dog eat poop. While researchers offer various explanations for this odd — and gross — behavior, a recent paper from the University of California, Davis, points to ancient wolves. Your dog’s wolf ancestors may have kept their dens free of the droppings of sick pack members by eating their poop. Doing so helped prevent the spread of intestinal parasites among the rest of the pack. This innate behavior was then passed down over generations to the dogs we know and love today.

3. Why does my dog lick me so much?

Mother dogs lick young pups to clean them after birth, and pups lick back as a sign they’re hungry. In older dogs, licking becomes a sign of submission in packs; less dominant members lick the alpha dog. There’s no doubt your dog loves you, but when they lick you, remember that they’re simply acknowledging your dominance — not just giving you kisses!

4. Why do dogs sniff each other there?

A dog’s backside contains two critical glands that can tell other dogs everything they need to know about their new friend: whether they are male or female, if they have met before, or if the dog is friendly or aggressive.

5. What does tail wagging signal?

Like so many behaviors, a wagging tail is all about communication. A tail held high might mean your dog is curious or angry, while a low “U” shape may indicate a more neutral disposition. If your dog’s tail is curled between their legs, it’s most likely a sign of submission: “You’re the top dog, so I’ll move along now.”

Your dog is all dog.

So many of the behaviors dogs are known for can make us fall in love with them. These quirks are what make our dogs, well, dogs — which makes protecting them from distractions like fleas and ticks all the more important.

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Image matrix of Seresto® packages showing 3 different types of products: cat, small and large dogs.

Want to learn more about flea and tick protection that lasts for 8 continuous months?
Meet Seresto®.

Seresto is a registered trademark of Bayer.
Seresto® is protected by U.S. Patent No. 7,910,122.
*Seresto® is water-resistant and remains effective following a shampoo  treatment, swimming or after exposure to rain. Under normal conditions, effectiveness lasts for 8 months. In order to maintain an eight-month duration, dogs must not be bathed more than once per month. For dogs that swim once a month or more, the control duration is reduced to 5 months for flea control and reduced to 7 months for tick control.

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