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Common Dog Behaviors For New Owners: Why Does My Dog Eat Grass? And More

As a new dog owner, you likely have plenty of questions regarding your new pet’s behaviors, like grass-eating. While dogs are excellent companions, some of their behaviors can be a bit unusual. Understandably, you would have questions about some of your pet’s most interesting habits!

Today, we are going to help you understand why your pet does what they do. That’s right: we are going to answer all of your questions regarding common dog behaviors your pet engages in. You’ll learn why your dog behaves in such a way, and trust us: the answer is sure to be interesting. Continue reading to learn more! 

Why Does My Dog Lick So Much?

There are a myriad of reasons why your dog might be licking you excessively. Many dog owners liken the behavior to your dog kissing you, but in reality, there might be other reasons aside from affection that your dog licks you a lot. Let’s dive into why this might occur.

To begin, licking actually started out as a food-seeking behavior or instinct for dogs. However, now it is often considered to be a ritualistic greeting for our furry friends when they see us walk into the door. In other cases, your dog licking you excessively demonstrates submission. 

But is it possible that your dog’s excessive licking is actually a sign that something is wrong with them? The answer to that question is yes, sometimes frequent licking could mean that your pet has an underlying condition that needs to be remedied. For instance, in cases that your pet is licking you, themselves, or another object excessively, this might mean that they are experiencing stress, tension, or even boredom. Alternatively, if they are obsessively licking themselves, this could indicate that they are struggling with allergies or another health issue. 

Ultimately, there are ways to make your dog stop licking you excessively—but before you commit to this, you really should bring them to the vet for a quick checkout to ensure that nothing is wrong with your furry friend. After ruling out the possibility that your dog is licking for a medical reason, you can begin to refocus your energy on finding a solution for their behavior. 

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

Did you know that dogs eating poop is a relatively common behavior? It’s true. In 2012, a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Davis, revealed that nearly one-fourth (24%) of dogs that participated in the study were observed eating fecal matter at least once. In addition, one in six dogs, or 16%, are described as “serious” stool consumers, which means that they have been found eating feces five times. 

During some life stages, your dog eating fecal matter shouldn’t concern you too much. For instance, if you have a mother dog, you will find her licking puppies to encourage them to eliminate. 

The mother dog could also clean up the pup’s fecal matter by consuming it. This behavior occurs for the first three weeks or so after the puppies are born. Sometimes puppies will also engage in such behavior. However, it usually goes away before the puppy is about nine months old. 

The real problem is when your dog is eating another animal’s poop. This is because other animals could have parasites, viruses, or toxins in their stool, potentially leading to an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, or other signs of illness in your dog. 

The real cause for concern is when your adult dog begins to eat fecal matter. If you notice this is occurring, you should visit your vet. They will rule out the possibility that your dog is engaging in this behavior due to an insufficient amount of nutrients in their diet, intestinal parasites, a malabsorption syndrome, drugs (like steroids), and illness such as diabetes, thyroid disease, or Cushing’s. 

If there’s no medical reason, your dog might be engaging in such behavior because they are isolated and need mental stimulation, are experiencing restrictive confinement, have stress and tension, seek attention, or associate this with real food. 

Why Does My Dog Stare At Me?

When you notice your dog staring at you, you might be wondering why they are doing so. It’s important to keep in mind that staring is usually a normal dog behavior that they use to communicate with their loving owners. 

However, it’s your job to figure out what it is that your dog is attempting to tell you. There are several reasons why dogs could stare at you. Here are some of the most common ones. 

Your dog might be attempting to convey feelings of attention or desire to you. This might be the reason your dog is staring at you, especially if it occurs when you are eating. If there isn’t food present, it’s possible your dog is staring at you because they’d like to play with you or because their toy is misplaced. Sometimes, your dog will lock eyes with you when they want you to take them outside to go to the bathroom. 

Another reason you might notice your dog staring at you is that they are seeking direction from you, their owner. If you have trained your dog, you might find them waiting for a cue from you. Because dogs enjoy pleasing their owners, staring might be their way of figuring out what you expect of them. 

In addition, dogs sometimes stare at their owners to convey feelings of love or adoration. That’s right: the reason your dog is staring at you might just be to express to you that they love you. 

In other cases, dogs will stare up at you when they feel vulnerable and need direction. This is especially relevant if you notice your dog staring when they are defecating, as they’re in a vulnerable position. Alternatively, your dog can be attempting to decipher your facial expressions. 

Lastly, your pet could be showing aggression—such as when they stare at you when you’re about to take their toy.

Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?

If you’re wondering why your dog follows you everywhere, consider the fact that dogs began by living in packs with dogs. Then, when they were domesticated 15,000 years ago, they lived in packs instead of with humans.

Dogs were largely bred for companionship, so it makes sense that your furry friend enjoys following you around and seeing what you are up to. However, there are several key reasons why your pet might be engaging in this behavior. Here’s what you need to know about your dog following you around.

First, your dog might be trailing you because they’d like you to pay attention to them. While this is often an endearing behavior, it can also be a bit difficult to work with, such as when your dog gets under your foot and leads you to trip. 

Your dog might be reminding you that it’s time for you to give them their dinner or that they’d like you to take them outside for a walk.

However, some of the reasons your dog could be following you around aren’t quite as pleasant. 

For instance, your dog could be trailing you if they are bored, and would like some additional action. They’ll find it by following you, and offering them puzzle toys may help keep them occupied and entertained, especially in cases of younger dogs. 

Or, your pet could be nervous or worried, and want to keep you nearby. This could occur if there’s stimuli around that your dog is afraid of, such as a thunderstorm. 

You should also consider the fact that sometimes, dogs that follow you around are attempting to tell you something. Perhaps your dog isn’t feeling well and wants you to help them. They could trail you for this reason. 

Why Does My Dog Keep Sneezing?

While sneezing is normal and even expected from time to time, it’s time to get to the root of the cause if your dog sneezes excessively. Sometimes your dog might be sneezing excessively, and there are several reasons why this might happen.

There are a couple of telltale signs that your dog might be struggling with something more than simply allergies. If your dog’s sneezing is violent, uncontrollable, or excessive, it’s time to get a vet’s opinion on what leads your dog to sneeze. If you fear they are experiencing breathing problems, seek immediate medical attention. 

It’s possible that your dog simply has allergies. However, if this is a persistent issue, it is worth examining to ensure there is no more going on with your beloved pet. For instance, sometimes dogs struggle with excessive sneezing because there’s a nasal foreign body in your dog’s nose causing problems. Nasal mites are also another concern, as is a nasal tumor. 

Some dog breeds are also more prone to sneezing than others are. For instance, flat-faced dogs experience this more frequently than dogs with a long nose because of the anatomical compression in their nasal passages. 

Ultimately, you need to use your best judgment when attempting to decipher whether your pet is experiencing something more severe than simple allergies. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned before, you should reach out to a vet for assistance. 

Why Does My Dog Shake?

If you recently observed your dog shaking, you might be worried that something wrong with them leads them to behave like this. While sometimes, shaking indicates that your dog needs help or there is something medically wrong with them, in other cases, dogs shake for reasons that are not nearly as dire. Here’s why your dog might be shaking.

The first potential reason that your dog is shaking is because they are cold. If you live in a colder part of the country, this could be especially relevant for you and your pet. Even dogs that are wrapped up in blankets and sweaters could still begin to shake because they are cold.

Dogs can shiver because they need to get their blood pumping. This involuntary response works to raise the pet’s body temperature and attempt to prevent hypothermia from occurring. In addition, some dogs are actually more prone to experiencing shivering than larger dogs. This is due to a lack of body mass and insulation, too.

Sometimes, dogs will shake or shiver for psychological reasons, like when they are experiencing happiness or excitement. This is one of the non-dangerous instances of shivering, and your dog will typically quit this when they relax. 

You can usually ignore this. However, if it becomes a routine occurrence, you might want to look into training your dog to become more relaxed to ensure that they don’t become overexcited and hyperactive.   

If your dog is anxious or fearful, they also might begin to shake. If possible, work to remove the source that leads your pet to experience stress and tension. In addition, if you are stressed or worried, your dog could shake as they pick up on your emotion. 

Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?

You might be surprised when you learn why your dog licks your feet. This behavior is actually rooted in your dog’s love and enthusiasm for you. Pretty interesting, huh? Let’s learn more about why your dog licks your feet, and when it’s time to reach out to a vet about this behavior. 

Dogs express their feelings and emotions differently than human beings do. For instance, dogs rely on unique ways to communicate as opposed to humans. Licking is a behavior that dogs enjoy engaging in, and often lick themselves, other animals, and their beloved humans. 

Similar to how your dog will lick your face or hands, your pet is giving you affection and attention when they are licking your feet. 

Your dog will also lick your feet to gain more information about you. They’re also using their licking behavior as a way to communicate with you. For instance, your pet might be attempting to ask for a walk, food, or more attention. 

Did you know that when your dog licks you, it actually releases pleasure endorphins? This is true. Your dog might be attempting to groom you or simply enjoying your scent. 

Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws All The Time?

If you noticed that your pet licks its paws constantly, you might be concerned that something wrong with your pup would warrant a visit to a trusted veterinarian. There are several reasons why your dog could be excessively licking their paws. 

Sometimes, you can guess why your pet is engaging in this behavior; other times, you will require help from a vet to figure out why your pet is licking their paws all of the time.

First, it is important to note that it’s normal for your pet to lick their paws on occasion. This is because it is a part of a dog’s regular grooming process. This is especially relevant if your dog spends time outdoors walking on either dirt or sand. However, if it’s more common than just occasionally, it’s worth paying closer attention to why your pet is licking its paws.

The first potential cause is an injury. This is especially relevant if you are noticing your dog is honing in on one particular area of their paws. 

You should look and make sure your pet isn’t experiencing a torn nail, a growth, stone, ice ball, or a cut on your pet’s paw. Be sure to examine the toes, the pads, the tops of their feet, and also their nails. 

Alternatively, your dog could simply be experiencing skin problems on their paws. Your pet may be experiencing dermatitis, which emerges due to allergies, food sensitivities, or bacterial problems. 

In fact, your pet could develop dermatitis by simply being allergic to chemicals, like pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides, that you use to maintain your grass. Some products can contain toxic chemicals that may irritate your dog’s skin.

In this case, watch your dog for digestive issues or illness symptoms after they lick their paws, which may indicate that they have ingested chemicals from lawncare products. If your dog shows signs of lethargy, weight loss, or is throwing up their stomach contents, consult the vet promptly.

Take Note of Parasites

Parasites could also lead your pet to have extremely itchy paws. These parasites include either fleas or mange. If you fear this is the case, bring your pet to the vet and they will recommend a treatment that will rid your pet of the parasites. This will ultimately relieve the feeling of itchiness. 

Food allergies could also be the culprit. These could be hard to pinpoint, but you can work with your vet to eliminate some ingredients from your dog’s diet to get to the root of the problem. 

You should also make sure your pet is not suffering from discomfort due to arthritis or another condition. This could lead your pet to lick their paws, even if the discomfort is not local to their paw. Alternatively, your dog can simply have behavioral issues such as tension or boredom. 

Why Does My Dog Chew His Foot?

So we’ve discussed why dogs click their humans and their paws, but what about when they chew on their own foot? It’s time to learn more about why dogs engage in this behavior. Here’s what you need to know. 

One major reason that dogs chew their feet is because of the fact that they are experiencing allergies. For instance, if you notice that your pet is chewing their feet during a change of seasons, it’s possible that an environmental allergen is to blame. However, if chewing occurs in the long term, it could indicate that your dog has a food allergy. 

Some of the reasons your dog chews their feet are why they lick their paws. For instance, your pet could be suffering from an injury or even discomfort. Alternatively, they could have an autoimmune disease or a skin infection that is caused by hormonal imbalances. 

Your dog could also chew their foot due to something as non-serious as dry skin. Or, there could be a foreign body lodged into your dog’s paw. Lastly, you should make sure that there is no presence of parasites. 

If you fear this is why your pet is nibbling at their foot, you can bring them to a vet. A vet will help eliminate this cause, or if that is why your pet is chewing their foot, can help you treat your pup

Why Does My Dog Yawn So Much?

The reason that dogs yawn is actually not entirely known. However, there are several potential reasons that your dog is yawning. Keep an eye out for other signs of these to get to the root of the cause about why your dog is yawning a lot. You should also bring your dog to the vet if you observe that they are yawning excessively. 

One reason that your dog is yawning so much is because of the fact that they are experiencing tension. If you notice that your pet is exhibiting other signs that they are nervous, it’s worth going to check this out with your vet. 

Your dog could also be yawning to demonstrate that they are indifferent. This has been observed in domesticated dogs like the one you have at home, as well as wild dogs. Sometimes, when a dog is met with an aggressive dog, they will yawn. This demonstrates the dog isn’t interested in engaging in conflict. 

The last reason why your dog could be yawning is that they saw someone else yawn. Yes, yawns are actually contagious to yawns. They could yawn in response to another dog or a human that is yawning. This is especially prevalent if they know the human that yawned well. This demonstrates how dogs are empathetic to their human owners as well as other animals. 

Why Does My Dog Have A Runny Nose?

If you notice that your dog has a runny nose, you might be curious about what is causing it. There are several reasons why your dog’s nose might be runny. You can use other signs and symptoms your dog is exhibiting to figure out why this is occurring. 

However, there are some key culprits. These include irritants, allergies, and even potentially infections in your dog’s nose. 

Dogs are low to the ground and can explore the world by using their nose to smell. For this reason, they could actually inhale things that we humans do not because we walk at an elevated level. These irritants could ultimately lead to problems with the nasal cavity, leading to a runny nose. 

Some of the potential irritants that could impact your dog’s nose include smoke, incense, perfume, dust, cleaning products. These could lead to your dog experiencing nasal discharge. Alternatively, your pet could have allergies to environmental irritants such as mold and pollen. 

Your dog could also have an upper-respiratory infection. Often, your pet will experience bacterial and viral infections together. Nasal discharge can be a symptom of this. Unfortunately, this can be contagious, so you should isolate them from other dogs if your dog is infected. 

Why Does My Dog Nibble Me?

One of the most interesting behaviors that pets engage in is expressing that they care about you. Dogs demonstrate affection differently than humans do, and you need to know how your pet shows you this. 

If your pet is nibbling on you, you are probably attempting to decipher why this is occurring. Did you know that your dog gently nibbles on you to demonstrate affection? 

This also is a way that your pet shows you that they have trust in you. Dogs engage in “grooming” to demonstrate that they care about you. Nibbling is a prime example of this. 

Alternatively, your pet can be hoping to express that they want to play with you by nibbling. This will usually be a different type of nibbling, and seem more excited.

If your dog is still a puppy, your pet could be nibbling on you because they are teething. Your pet will grow out of this behavior. Simply replace it with a chew toy, and this will help alleviate any discomfort that accompanies the teething process. 

If you are unsure why your pet is nibbling on you, you should consider the other cues that they are showing you. Are they young, and simply teething? Or are they tossing around a toy when they nibble on you? 

Pay attention to other clues that could help you figure out why your dog is engaging in this behavior. If your dog doesn’t grow out of teething once they are an adult dog, reach out to a vet for their opinion on rectifying this behavior. 

Why Does My Dog Sleep On His Back?

Your dog’s sleeping position actually tells you something about them, if you pay attention. If you have noticed that your dog is sleeping on its back, you could be curious why it is occurring or what it means. We’re here to share the answer with you. 

There are actually several reasons why dogs sleep on their back with their belly up and paws up in the air. The main reason is to keep themselves cool when they sleep. Because dogs sweat through their paws, keeping them in the air is helpful. This is also relevant since their belly is usually a source of heat. 

This position also says something about the way that your pet feels about you. If your pet is sleeping in this vulnerable position around you, this indicates they are trusting you fully and are comfortable in their environment. 

At Kabo, We’re Passionate About Giving You The Resources You Need To Help Your Dog Live A Happy, Healthy Life

At Kabo, we are passionate about providing resources that pet parents need to help your dog live a happy, healthy life. We care about your dog’s appetite and nutrition, and create dog food that allows your dog to get the vitamins and minerals they need to prevent a nutritional deficiency. 

We also care about providing you with an understanding of some of your dog’s most interesting behaviors. Next time you see your dog engaging in one of these actions, you’ll know exactly why! 

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February 20, 2024
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