At a loss to explain your dog’s strange and perhaps socially awkward behaviour? We explore why on earth pooches eat poop here, but they do much more than that, don’t they?

You might cringe, but don’t be offended, pooch is probably giving you a compliment. Luckily, we have a list for you that might help.


Here are some weird dog moves and why they’re perfectly rational.


  • Zooming around – when they suddenly take off at top speed, maybe in circles, maybe bouncing wildly, there isn’t anything eating them inside, they are just bursting with energy. Excess joy tends to show itself after a cuddle, meal or, of course, a poop. Pooch is simply bursting to express it and it’s best to let him. Give them room and know that you are a great pet parent with a healthy, happy pup. At least right now in this wild moment!


  • Circling before settling – if your hound turns circles on the spot before lying down, s/he isn’t mad (and neither are you). It’s an instinctual behaviour left over from wilder times. They squash the proverbial grasses their instincts tell them should be there instead of the carpet or doggie bed. Allow them this bedtime ritual, if you will. It may lead to a more peaceful sleep for all of you.


  • (Females) humping the hallstand – it’s not an excess of (misplaced) hormones, it’s an attempt to get your attention. Humping is related to reproduction, yes, in males mostly, eh, but it’s also a display of dominance in either gender and you responded, didn’t you? Just bear in mind that scolding your pup for this behaviour might only encourage it. Try curtailing your shock, and calmly coaxing her outside to play a little; that’s probably what she’s after, after all!


  • (Males) squatting while weeing – it’s not effeminate, it’s a matter of sexual development. While male dogs generally lift their leg politely, their maturity decides if they’ll squat or not. Let them do their thing. It may inspire the human baby of the house who’s currently being potty-trained.


  • Rolling in poop – usually it’s not their own species’ poop, thankfully. Dogs do this as a way of masking their scent. This helps them go undetected when they hunt, and it doesn’t matter if they aren’t allowed to – the preparation takes place given the smallest opportunity, depending on their genetic blend. Good idea to avoid walking in areas where animals like baboons and civets leave pungent excretory deposits, or – if you want to allow them this instinctual urge without undue punishment – walk in areas with animals whose poop you prefer the smell of (horse dung, anyone?).


  • Pawing the ground after pooping – pooping is clearly big on the dog agenda, not least because it can lead to zooming off (see 1. above). Pawing the ground or digging after eliminating body waste can be a way to further mark territory. Dogs’ paw pads emit bacteria that leave behind a scent trail that says, “I was here”. Let them have their say.


  • Licking your filthy, sweaty toes. Aaah, pheromones. If you tear off your sneakers after a good run and your dachshund tears around the corner to tongue your stinky toes, you should count yourself complimented. “They love you, they love your stank”, Wired explains. It also applies to well-used yoga mats (that could probably use a visit to the washing machine). We will not judge you for enjoying the occasional pet-icure, LOL.


Now that you understand dogs’ finer instincts a little better, you can get down and dirty with them! Just go easy on the licking. If you don’t want to get involved in these odd behaviours, at least now you know better than to prohibit them from perfectly natural and positive expressions. Sorry, we can’t be much help about the poop…

Speaking of poop, here are some products to help you with the smellier side of loving and living with canines.