8 Strangest Things That Dogs Do and Why

Dogs do the strangest things but there’s usually a reason behind the madness. Find out why dogs sniff butts and eat grass.

Jun 26, 2024byDarren Ryding

strangest things that dogs do and why


You may wonder why your dog stares at you while it’s pooping. Or why it insists on rolling in garbage or hiding its toys. Often evolution is a key factor in why dogs do weird stuff or act bizarrely.


However, sometimes there’s a darker reason. Your dog may have a medical or behavioral problem. Some pooches crave attention and want to provoke their owners. Here are some of the strangest things that dogs do and why.


1. Sniffing Butts

dogs sniff butts
Image Credit: Outward Hound


Dogs always sniff each other’s butts when they encounter each other. This is something that humans always find strange but it’s a crucial part of canine social dynamics. Dogs have 150 million olfactory receptors in their noses so smelling is one of their key senses. To put it in perspective, humans only have five million!


Dogs sniff each other’s butts because it allows them to identify each other. Their rectums contain anal glands that release a unique scent. This helps them establish which dog is dominant or submissive and informs them about each other’s personalities. It may seem like weird dog behavior, but it’s extremely complex.


2. Chasing Tails

dog chasing tail
Image Credit: Wag!


One of the strangest things that dogs do is chase their tails. There are several reasons why they might do this. Boredom or excess energy are often key factors. They’re restless and trying to find some stimulation so they chase their tail in circles. This isn’t a big deal for puppies but it can be an issue for older dogs. Try taking your dog for walks or giving it new toys so that it doesn’t engage in this behavior.


There may be a more sinister reason why your dog is chasing its tail. Maybe it has fleas or ticks. These parasites may be irritating your pooch. If they’re chewing and tearing at their hair, it’s time to take your pet to the vet. Dogs also may chase their tails if they’re feeling anxious.


3. Eating Grass

dog eat grass
Image Credit: Oakhurst Veterinary Clinic


Sometimes our canine pals chew and swallow grass. This may even make some dogs vomit. Owners may find this to be concerning behavior. One theory why they consume grass is because they may lack fiber in their diets. Grass provides roughage and may help their body to function better. It’s rarely a problem if they only do it once in a while. It may even be an instinctive behavior. But if they’re doing every walk then there may be a serious issue.


Another reason why they eat grass is because they’re trying to get their owner’s attention. Perhaps they feel bored or anxious. They act inappropriately because they want to provoke a reaction. Dogs are often much smarter than we give them credit for. Try to take them on long walks or consider sending them to doggie daycare to make friends.


4. Rolling in Trash

dog rolling smell
Image Credit: Daily Paws


We already said that scent is a dog’s most important sense. That’s why they love rolling in strong-smelling stuff. This can be anything from garbage to another dead animal. It can be extremely frustrating for their humans. Some people find it confusing too because surely the smell is too strong for the dog’s sensitive nose. Many experts believe that they’re instinctively trying to hide their scent by coating themselves in the overpowering smell.


Others believe that there’s a social aspect. Wild dogs and wolves communicate with other members of the pack. By rolling in a strong-smelling area, they can share what they found with their fellows. It’s very difficult to stop dogs from rolling in a stinky smell unless we spot it first. Then it’s crucial to have a good recall.


5. Stashing Their Belongings

dog toy garden
Image Credit: Newsweek


When we see our dogs do something weird we often think they’re just being dumb or quirky. However, often millions of years of evolution led to this moment. Hiding toys is a great example of a historical instinctive behavior. Dogs stash their favorite chew toys to keep them safe and protect them from their rivals. It doesn’t matter if they’re the only canine living in a two-bedroom apartment. Evolution engrained this in their consciousness.


Dogs often bury bones in the garden. Wolves do this when they have a food surplus and want to save it for later. The ground is cool so it preserves the food for longer and prevents it from rotting. Meanwhile, other animals are less likely to find the bone and steal it. Sometimes dogs may even take items you don’t want them to hide. Train them not to hoard and to bring back items when you want them.


6. Kicking After Toilet

dog kicking toilet
Image Credit: The Spruce Pets


Many owners notice their dogs kicking their hind legs after they go to the toilet. There are several reasons why they do this. People may think that they’re trying to hide their scent but this is rarely the case. The opposite is true because dominant dogs will try to spread the smell of their poop. They also contain special glands in their feet that release pheromones to help them mark their territory.


Another common reason why dogs kick after pooing is that they don’t like dirty paws. Some high-maintenance breeds don’t like the feeling of dirt between their toes. Dog owners should use a leash if they want to protect their garden or the landscape around them.


7. Staring While Pooping

labrador dog poop
Image Credit: ElleVet Sciences


Dogs engage in many strange pooping antics. Something that owners might find particularly off-putting is when they stare when they’re about to go to the toilet. They’ll take a squatting position and stare almost unblinkingly at their human. However, there’s a good reason why they do this, and it’s a positive one for their owner.


It means that they feel safe and that they trust their humans to protect them at that moment. This is a very vulnerable position for the dog because it’s easy for rivals to attack them. They stare because they believe that their owner won’t allow anything bad to happen to them.


8. Eating Poop

dog food bowl terrier
Image Credit: Bil Jac


This is one of the most off-putting behaviors for new dog owners. They can’t understand why their new pet sometimes tries to eat another animal’s poop. Some owners even cite this as a reason for rehoming their pooch. Sometimes humans can prevent dogs from doing this by feeding their dogs properly. If their dog has a vitamin deficiency, they may eat feces to compensate for it.


Rescue dogs may develop this behavior if they spend time in a confined space or isolation. Dogs also search for ways to get attention from their humans. Some of them are smart enough to realize that this will provoke an immediate reaction. It’s important to train your pet not to eat poop because there’s a serious risk of parasites and diseases like kennel cough.

Darren Ryding
byDarren Ryding

Darren is a passionate animal lover. He grew up on an organic vegetable farm with an ensemble of adopted animals including pygmy goats, pot-belly pigs, and donkeys. He currently lives with his Vietnamese rescue dog Bee.