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It’s no secret the last two years have been stressful. COVID-19 has impacted the lives of every person on the planet in some way. Stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high.

One way to handle stress is with an emotional support dog. Do you have certain conditions such as anxiety, chronic stress, or PTSD? You may be able to get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional.

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Emotional support animals are an enjoyable way to manage your stress levels. As with any pet, you’ll want to understand dog behaviors to know when there is a health issue or problem.

Dogs have an array of unusual or just plain weird behaviors! This article will tackle several odd things your dog might do and what they mean.

Why Do Dogs Shake Themselves?

If you have ever seen dogs shake themselves after a bath, you might think they are simply trying to dry off. The real reason why dogs shake is linked to their emotions. The hint is when dogs shake.

You can observe a dog shaking right after a nap. Dogs might shake after roughhousing and play. They might shake after encountering a strange dog. Or a dog might shake after a visit to the vet.

Dogs often shake after high-energy activities or changes to their day. Look at the shaking as a sort of ‘mental reset.’ Have you heard the expression “shake it off?” That’s what dogs are doing when they shake.

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Shaking after a bath is usually the dog’s way of trying to get rid of the stress of the whole bathing experience. There’s the smell of the soap, the stress of being on a slippery surface, and the whole indignity of it all. Dogs want to move past a bath as quickly as possible!

The same is true for encountering other strange dogs, meeting new people, or trips to the vet. The dog feels anxious and wants to get rid of that ‘fight or flight’ feeling fast.

Seeing a dog shake after fun play doesn’t mean the dog feels stressed. It’s simply the pooch’s way of resetting to get back to normal after the high level of emotion.

However, there are times when a dog shakes because of physical discomfort. If they are too cold, they might shake in an attempt to warm up. If you see your dog give a good shake in the cold, take steps to warm up your pooch.

Why Do Dogs Take So Long to Go Potty?

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Every dog owner has seen it. Dogs spend what feels like hours sniffing along the path they are on. They search for the perfect spot to go to the bathroom. No amount of cajoling, yelling, or pleading will make your dog speed up his poop process, either.

Dogs have no concept of time. They don’t understand what “I’m running late” means. They take their time finding the perfect spot because of the smell. The great outdoors holds countless wonders for a dog’s super-sniffer.

Dogs take going to the bathroom very seriously because of communication. A great deal of information comes from one quick sniff. Going to the bathroom, then, is just as much about communication as it is relieving themselves.

There is another intriguing possible explanation. Dogs may take so long deciding where to do their business due to the earth’s magnetic fields! A study involved 70 dogs from 37 different breeds. After 1893 poops and 5582 pees, Frontiers in Zoology journal published the results.

The study claims minor variations in the earth’s magnetic field influence a dog’s decision of where to go potty. The two-year study shows dogs prefer to align themselves along the north-south axis. They usually avoid the east-west axis. Why this is, no one yet knows.

Why Do Dogs Roll Around on Their Backs?

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Watching a dog roll and contort on its back is a very confusing sight to new dog owners! Is the dog trying to scratch their back? Are they just having fun? Unfortunately, new dog owners soon learn what their dog was up to.

After they emerge from their rolling session, they are the proud owners of a brand-new wretched stink. “Why do you do this?” you might ask your putrid pup in vain.

The answer to why dogs roll in stinky stuff remains a mystery. Sometimes your dog really is trying to reach a pesky itchy spot. This rolling activity also helps realign their spine, so there seems to be a health aspect to it.

The reason a dog actively seeks out something stinky and gross only to roll in it is still a mystery. One theory links this behavior to dogs’ ancestry as predators.

The rolling around may dogs’ evolutionary urge to mask their own scent. They would then, in theory, find it easier to approach prey without detection.

Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads at Sounds?

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Even non-dog lovers are familiar with this behavior. A dog is looking at someone or something. They then tilt their heads in what looks like a confused or quizzical expression. Why do dogs cock their heads at certain sounds?

Dogs are curious animals. They enjoy having things to figure out. When they hear a certain sound, they may cock their head to get a better shot at hearing the sound again.

People don’t have to tilt their heads to hear certain sounds because of the way our ears are shaped. They are omnidirectional. Dogs’ ears are more limited due to the ear flaps of many species. Earflaps offer important protection for a pooch’s ear canals but can also create minor problems with hearing.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

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There has been debate over why dogs eat grass for decades. Some explanations have no scientific basis for these theories. The most common assumption is that dogs eat grass because they don’t feel well. The theory says dogs eat grass as a way to make themselves vomit.

This sounds logical, except there is no basis for it. In several studies on dogs eating grass, the percentage of dogs that were sick before they ate grass is very low. There is no direct correlation to a sick dog eating grass.

Other experts believe dogs eat grass because they are bored or simply like the taste. While this habit remains a mystery, don’t assume dogs are sick if you see them eating grass. Look at all the behaviors surrounding grass eating. If you’re still not sure, seek out the help of your vet.

Moving Forward

Your dog is an integral part of your life as a companion or as an emotional support animal. Understanding their behavior will help you care for your dog. Like people, dogs have complex physical and emotional needs. Do your research and prepare yourself for pet ownership if you decide to bring a dog into your life.