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Why Dogs Lick Your Face or Feet and 11 Other Strange Behaviors That Can Finally Be Explained

People who love dogs just melt when they see their pets dreaming while they sleep, tilting their head to the side, or simply running around frantically after a bath. But what many of us didn’t know is that these behaviors that we find so cute, actually have a purpose. Even if dogs can’t talk, they do have their own way of communicating things, and the things we mentioned are just a few examples of your dog trying to express its love, admiration, and sometimes its anxiety.

Bright Side is always interested in anything that can lead us, humans, to a better understanding of the animal world. In this case, it’s not just any animal that we are talking about, but man’s best friend and most faithful companion, which is why dogs deserve our full and undivided attention.

1. Chasing their own tail

This action has 3 basic meanings, and whichever one it is, it requires your full attention. The first option could be that your dog is extremely bored and is looking for just about anything to have fun with. Another option would be that it has parasites, which could be causing itching or burning. And the third option, if your dog chases its tail often, it might be suffering from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) caused by stress, anxiety, or frustration.

2. Licking your face or feet

This is one of the most common ways for dogs to express love and respect for their human owners. You’ve probably heard before that licking is the dog equivalent to kissing. If your puppy licks your feet, it could be trying to sense your taste, your chemical composition, and your state of health. Sometimes, the dog will also do this just to attract your attention.

3. Tilting their heads to one side

One of the most heartwarming things to see is a dog tilting its head in an attempt to better understand what you’re doing or saying. Some theories state that by doing this, they are able to hear tones or words with more precision. Other theories mention that their muzzle often gets in the way and tilting their heads gives them better vision. Whatever the case, a dog tilting its head always produces a long and sincere “Awww.”

4. Getting excited about catching the ball

Spending time with your puppy or dog and playing games that you know they like means the world to them. Not only is it fun, but catching the ball and bringing it back to you is a way to give you a “gift” and to please you.

5. Shaking a toy

As you probably already know, dogs are distant relatives of wolves. Dogs are genetically close to their wild relatives, and so are some of their reactions. A dog’s toy can sometimes be understood as a sort of prey. Shaking the toy vigorously is an automatic reaction that is left over from their hunting instincts. However, most dogs at home only do this for fun.

6. Rubbing their face

Your dog’s front paws are very useful when it comes to keeping things tidy. They use them to clean their faces when they’re having allergy problems, especially if they feel itchy. Note that if you reward your dog when they do this, you can be sure that they will repeat the action more and more often. It’s also a sign of submission toward other animals or their owners.

7. Racing around the house after taking a bath

If your dog is running around the house at the speed of light after having taken a nice bath, then it’s experiencing something called FRAPs (frenetic random activity period). It’s an extreme accumulation of energy. Most dogs really hate taking baths, and when they finally feel they’re free and the torment is over, they explode with pure joy. This, at the same time, helps them dry off and regain their natural scent, which also makes them extra happy because (surprise, surprise) shampoo scents are usually not to their liking.

8. Turning on itself before laying down

As we mentioned earlier, dogs are distant relatives of wolves. Spinning several times on their own axis is their way of checking their surroundings and making sure that nothing dangerous is waiting to jump out and take them by surprise. Of course, in the case of domestic dogs, this is mostly an inherited reaction. This is also a way to sort of test the waters and make sure their new napping spot is comfortable enough to sleep on.

9. Sleeping on your feet or cuddling up with you

Dogs love to feel the warmth of their pack, and for them, you are their pack. That’s why sitting close to you is their way of showing their closeness and affection for you. It’s also how they mark their territory. This is especially true when you have visitors at home. In that case, your dog is trying to make it very clear that it’s not willing to share what is theirs for a long time. There are experts that say if the dog sits on your feet with a challenging attitude and doesn’t let you move from your spot, then they possibly just want your attention or a little comfort.

10. Twitching in their sleep

Dogs can sleep peacefully or deeply and very quickly enter the REM phase (rapid eye movement), where they begin to dream and spasm. That explains why, when they’re asleep, their face shakes uncontrollably, they kick like karatekas, or they bark without even realizing it. It is not recommended to wake them up at that moment, because they can feel out of place and be in a bad mood. Put yourself in their shoes, this also happens to humans all the time...

11. Swinging their tail like a pinwheel

The movement of a dog’s tail has a lot of different meanings, but when it moves while wiggling the hips, it could mean that your dog is fully prepared to play, and the faster it moves, the greater their excitement is! No matter how old they are, they’re so faithful that they’ll always be happy to see you and grow old with you, and they’ll always tell you that by wagging their tail.

12. Shaking their legs when you scratch their tummy

This is nothing more than a “scratching reflex,” in which nerve endings are activated that send a signal that there is an agent that is causing a tingling or irritating sensation. This is a funny movement that most dogs seem to enjoy very much.

What does your dog do that you find super-cute? Do you wonder what their little quirks mean? Post a picture in the comment section! If enough people comment and post on this article, we might write a new one with answers to your questions!