6 of the Strangest Dog Behaviors I’ve Ever Heard Of

A dog that collects bottles. Another dog that walks backwards. And one that insists on walking on the right side. Strange behaviors indeed!

Strangest dog behaviors

Dogs do the darnedest things!

Some “weird” dog behaviors are actually very common — it’s just that we find them weird. However, it’s important to note that quite a few behavioral oddities are caused by underlying anxiety, which you should address. And that’s not all. It’s even possible that a strange behavior may have a medical cause.

According to Dr. Raymond Van Lienden, DVM, of Clifton, Virginia, while an odd behavior by your pet may seem comical to you and your family, you should be aware that if your pet suddenly exhibits very unusual behavior, he could have a health problem.

Included in the medical possibilities for bizarre behaviors are neurological problems, tick-borne diseases, rabies, brain tumors, lead/mercury poisoning, liver ailments and epilepsy. Noticing a drastic change in a dog’s behavior is often reason enough to have him checked by a veterinarian.

Here are six of the strangest dog behaviors I’ve ever heard of, some of which are fairly “normal” and others medically suspect:

1. Performance Art

An 8-year-old Lab/retriever mix plays a strange game every time her family takes her along on their camping trips. She will get plastic water bottles and take them away. The family members noticed that the dog would walk along the beach, pulling rocks out of the sand. After the dog walked around the campsite three times, rock in mouth, the rock would disappear. Where the rock went, no one knew.

One day a family member happened to see about 30 water bottles close to the camp. Half-buried in holes (dug by a dog), the bottles were sticking up in the air, cap end in the ground. Next to each bottle was a rock. The whole thing looked like some sort of canine-produced art installation!

Possible cause: Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe this pet has a thing for water bottles and has made rock-collecting her hobby! Humans do these things, so who’s to say dogs can’t enjoy them as well?

2. Walking Backward

An older Labrador named Max suddenly began walking backward in the house.

Possible cause: With Max acting somewhat confused and evidently not quite his normal self, veterinary care was needed immediately — his actions could have stemmed from neurological problems.

3. Startled by Sneezes

A human sneeze really shakes some dogs up. An “achoo!” will send them racing around, barking and whining. However, at least one maltese doesn’t seem to mind the sneezing his owner does — the doggie just barks and comes running toward his owner, as if to make sure that everything is all right.

Possible cause: Sneezes are loud to a dog’s delicate ears. That’s pretty much it.

4. Exit, Stage Right

Leo is a dog that insists on being on the right side when being walked. If anyone encroaches onto his side, Leo will come to a complete halt and then circle around his walker (wrapping his leash around the person as he goes) until he is back in his “right”-ful space. This behavior has earned him the nickname “Reset” since he is always resetting his place.

Possible cause: Anxiety.

5. Mmm… Bath Water

Some dogs love drinking water from the bathtub when someone is bathing. These dogs don’t seem to care if the water is cold or hot — just so it’s from the tub. They seem to enjoy licking the water off the person’s feet and legs as well. How refreshing.

Possible cause: They simply love fresh water, regardless of the source (keep that toilet lid down).

6. SLURP! Can You Hear Me Now?

Of the six strangest dog behaviors I’ve ever heard of, this last one is my favorite — licking people’s ears! Yep, you read it right.

Possible cause: Ear licking by dogs can stem from a variety of reasons: as part of a grooming ritual, the simple enjoyment of the taste of ear wax or even as a show of affection. So, just in case your pet doggy wants to spread his love, be sure to keep your ears clean!

Now it’s your turn. Does your dog do anything out of the ordinary? I would love to hear about it. Just leave a comment below.

Photo: TheGiantVermin/Flickr

Gayle Hickman

View posts by Gayle Hickman
Gayle Hickman has been researching and writing about pet behaviors since 2011. In addition to Petful, her articles have appeared on Reader's Digest, Yahoo Shine and WebVet, to name a few.

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