Top 5 Strange Behaviors in Dogs

4 min read
Jun 11, 2023

Do you ever look at your dog and wonder, ‘What is going on inside their head?’” 

If you’re left scratching your own head at some of your dog’s behaviors, you are not alone. Many pet owners struggle to understand what exactly their dog is doing sometimes.  

#1. Why Does My Dog Lick Everything? 

Licking is a natural behavior for dogs. There could be several reasons why your dog is licking. Dogs groom themselves by licking. If they’re licking the floor or the couch, there might be an interesting taste left over from an earlier spill. Or sometimes licking can be a sign of boredom.1

Sometimes, however, licking can progress into more of an issue. A dog that compulsively licks everything in sight may be dealing with anxiety- and using licking as a self-soothing behavior. He or she could also have a gastrointestinal issue. While some licking is normal for dogs, an abnormal amount should be something you mention to your veterinarian so that they can make sure everything is okay with your pet.  

#2. Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? 

Your dog chasing his or her tail can often be a completely normal canine behavior. Often, dogs are just playing; having fun as they run in circles trying to grab that elusive furry object. They could also be bored or feel extra energetic.  

However, it might signal a health problem, too. A dog that constantly chases their tail could be feeling itchy from parasites, or, in extreme situations, may even have a brain abnormality.2

Most dogs normally don’t get close to catching their tail. If they do, however, there’s a risk of injury to the small, delicate bones found in a dog’s tail.  

Keep an eye on your dog if you notice them exhibiting this behavior. (And if they do end up injuring themselves, pet insurance could possibly help cover the cost of medical bills.2)  

#3. Why Does My Dog Howl? 

Dogs will often howl because they hear a loud sound, such as a siren or another dog.  

Separation anxiety is another common cause of howling. If your neighbors report howling while you’re at work, your dog might be feeling anxious when alone.  

While howling is a normal behavior, it can also become bothersome— especially if you have a hound dog like a beagle. You may be able to try a combination of treats and positive reinforcement to teach your dog to speak or be quiet.

#4. Why Do Dogs Dig? 

You probably aren’t happy to walk outside and see a yard pockmarked with holes courtesy of Fido. But your dog isn’t just doing this to get on your nerves.  

He or she might be bored, lonely, or trying to catch a small animal. You can try blocking off any flowerbeds or other no-dig areas. You could also try redirecting your pet’s attention with a fun toy. 

Digging outside is one thing. But why do dogs dig in bed? This is a natural instinct left over from the days when dogs had to survive outside in the wild. Digging a small hole before going to sleep would create a warmer, more comfortable place to rest.3 This is also why your dog might scratch the carpet. Doing so can make your dog feel safer. 

#5. Why Is My Dog Barking at Nothing? 

It might appear as if your dog is barking at nothing. But in actuality, they could be using their finely tuned senses to see, hear, or smell something that you aren’t able to sense.4 Acknowledge your dog’s barking and thank them for notifying you of a perceived threat, and they should settle down.  

Of course, there are times when your dog is truly barking at, well, nothing. In these cases, they might be bored and trying to get your attention.  If you have a senior dog, they may be barking or making auditory noises because their hearing is starting to fade. Make sure that nothing is wrong, and that they are not in pain. If they’re physically okay, this is a great time to teach the “quiet” command.  

If the barking continues and you are unsure if your pet is feeling well, consider taking them to the vet so that they can be checked over thoroughly.  

Consider Investing in Dog Insurance  

Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Our dog insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family member deserves.  Get your free quote today. 


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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC. 

1 Why Do Dogs Lick Everything?, PetMD 

2 Why Is My Dog Chasing Their Tail?Hill’s, 2020 

3 Why Do Dogs Scratch & Dig in Their Bed?, Casper, 2021 

4 Why Does My Dog Bark at Nothing?, American Kennel Club, Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT, 2021