Do Dogs Have Habits?


One thing that people may not often think about are their dog’s habits. I know at least for my dog, she always demands a walk after dinner time. It’s a daily routine, as normal as the first cup of coffee in the morning.

Just like humans, dogs are creatures of habit. May it be something as simple as a post-dinner walk, or as instinctual as circling a spot before sitting down.

Habits can be trained too. One of the best examples of a trained habit, of course, is house-training. With repetitive training, you can get your dog into the habit of only going outside when duty calls.

One behavior that is seen in dogs—especially younger dogs—is tail chasing, mainly for entertainment purposes. Though it may be entertaining for owner and dog alike, it could eventually develop into a compulsive behavior, where the dog can even go as far as chewing on his or her own tail, causing injury. To stop this, find equally engaging behaviors that you and your dog can do together–a great example being a game of fetch.

Husky on bed
Circling and Scratching

Another habit, one common with just about every dog, is circling their spot before lying down to sleep. Dogs do this for the same reason we fluff our pillows—for comfort. However, this behavior may also trace back to their wolf ancestors who slept outside and would need to create a safe nest before resting. Similarly, if your pup scratches their nesting spot before lying down, this could indicate ancestral behavior used to regulate their body temperate. When dogs dug themselves a hole in the ground for safety and rest, the surrounding soil could either help cool their bodies down or insulate their body heat if they were in a colder environment. If you notice your pup circling or digging their resting spot to excess without being able to eventually get comfortable, this could suggest a health concern and you should consult with your veterinarian.

Puppy in sand
Burying Food and Treats

A habit that is not seen as often is  burying food or toys, may it be burying it outside or hiding it under a sofa cushion. This behavior originates from instinct, to not only hide excess food, but to keep nicer treats safer. This could also keep food hidden from other hungry mouths in a multi-pet house.

May it be from training or from instinct, dogs (and many other animals) have various habits and quirks, often helping add to their unique personalities.

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