Why Dogs Do What They Do – Part 2

For the past 60,000 plus years, man has tried to control the majority of the behaviors of their dogs. We have bred them for war. We have bred them for sport. We have bred them to herd livestock, hunt wild boars, pull carts, find bodies and guard our homes and businesses. We have bred them to entertain us, service cloudy pool water us and to comfort us. We have bred them for money. We have bred them because we are so passionate about a certain breed, we cannot imagine why everyone doesn’t want one.

The interesting thing is, in spite of all our tinkering with genetics and training, some dogs just cannot help feeling the call of the wild. They display that natural instinct in some of their rather fascinating behaviors.

Male dogs hike their leg to urinate, is a way of setting scent markers as territorial claims, to show the dog world how big they are and how much territory is theirs! Males rarely if ever, empty their bladders. As anyone who has ever owned a male dog knows, they have to save squirts for as many markers as possible. The more and higher they spray, the bigger and more dominant they appear to any dog passing by. That is also why some kick up dirt and grass after they urinate…it spreads their scent marker around, to make them look as if they are enormous!

Dogs circle before finding a resting place, has to do with flattening out twigs and stick, moving rocks, making sure no snakes are around, setting a boundary and making a nice soft place to rest. It is also believed, when circling, they can find out which way the prevailing wind is blowing. That way, even if they are sleeping, they can smell a predator creeping up on them. The exception to the rule are sled dogs; which rather than facing the wind, curl up into a ball and turn their backs to it.

In the wild, wolves often make a number of larger circles, each one getting smaller, as a way of setting a boundary, before making their final circle to sleep in. To many dogs, their sleeping area is a personal space. Most learn to respect each others sleeping area.

Dogs eat grass could be for a number of reasons. Most dogs do seem to need grass now and then. We think of dogs as being carnivores, which they primarily are, however they are also omnivores. They have learned to eat whatever is available, which sometimes was only plants and berries.

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