32 funny things dogs do

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Dogs are cute, dogs can be weird, and sometimes they can be downright hilarious. Some dogs, particularly Terriers, actually set out to entertain and make humans laugh. However, many dogs don’t really enjoy being laughed at, but we can laugh along with them and reward them for their comedy value. 

And they know when we are happy too – dogs are not only sensitive to our voices, but can pick up on cues for human emotion very well, such as laughter or tears, happiness or sadness. Many dogs will connect our happiness with good times, or treats and affection. 

The 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin believed dogs have a sense of humor, but perhaps some of their day-to-day antics are hilarious enough without them even having to try.

Let’s take a look at some of the funny things dogs do.

32 funny things dogs do

1. Zoomies

Dog zooming

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This is especially applicable if you have one of the sighthound breeds such as a Greyhound or Whippet. While they spend much of their day asleep, they do like to show off their impressive speed on a daily basis with a few laps of a field, garden or backyard, full-pelt, ears pinned back, legs going 19 to the dozen, doing laps and laps until... they’re done, and back to the couch.

And no, they don’t need anything to chase, a partner in crime (though that’s great fun too) or a pursuer. Just zooming for the sheer love of it.

2. The scratchy-tickly thing

dog being tickled

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Have you noticed that there are a various soft spots on your dog that when you scratch them there, they kick their legs as if they’re being tickled? It is known as the scratch reflex – and a bit like people being tickled, we’re not entirely sure whether they enjoy it or not.

3. Spin in circles before lying down

Dalmatian spinning

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They know they want to lie down, so why do they need to pivot round on the exact spot 20 times? Strange as it may seem for pet dogs who sleep on plush beds and carpets, but it’s an innate survival instinct whereby they’re subconsciously checking the area for danger – who knows what snakes or poisonous thorns may be lurking in your shag pile rug?

4. Smell other dogs’ bottoms

dogs sniffing bottoms

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This is one of the weirder of the funny things dogs do. It might seem an odd way of introducing yourself to a stranger, but it’s simply a normal canine greeting and how they find out about the other dog. Dogs have vastly superior sense of smell to us and apparently can find out all sorts of things from this sort of greeting, from the state of emotion, gender, what their new friend eats and so on.

5. Stick their heads out the window while you’re driving

dog with head out of car window

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It’s a very cute sight – a dog filling their nose with new smells, their ears with plenty of air and their eyes with unfamiliar sights while they’re enjoying a road trip. Many dogs love the sensory overload they get from poking their nose out of the window while you’re driving. And we think it gives them quite the adrenaline hit – all that air, that speed.

Bear in mind your dog must be properly restrained at all times while in the car.  

6. Hide their toys

dog buried in leaves

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Many dogs love to have a secret stash of goodies (don’t we all?) that no one else can pinch. Sometimes if you discover their lair, you’ll find all sorts of other items that they weren’t supposed to take. If it’s simply a hiding place, you’re in luck, some breeds – Terriers particularly – like to dig a hole in the yard to bury their prized possessions.

7. Roll over, always

dog having belly rubbed

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Most dogs love having their bellies rubbed. What starts as a gentle pat turns into collapsing dog rolling over for a tummy tickle. Who can resist?

8. That uncontainable excitement when it’s time for walkies 

dog with lead in mouth

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The moment you get the leash out, some dogs can’t help bursting into song, chattering, squeaking, anything to let you know they are ecstatic that they get to go outside with you. They’ll bring you the leash, their ball, they’ll dance, jump up, spin round in circles. They are really, really, really happy that this moment has arrived.

9. Stamp after pooping

poodle spraying another dog with dirt

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They squat, they deliver, and then they stamp and kick the ground. What’s that all about? They aren’t neatly trying to clear up after themselves! Dogs have scent glands in their paws, and as scent is a dog’s way of marking their territory and letting other dogs know they’ve been there, this is a way of spreading the pheromones around. 

10. Chase their tails

dog biting tail

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When this is just a young puppy discovering it has a tail, this can be highly amusing, and indeed some dogs do find it entertaining. But if it continues into adulthood, it may become a compulsive disorder, so watch out if it seems to be a nervous or excessive habit. 

11. They’re scared of the dog in the mirror

dog seeing reflection in mirror

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Seeing their own reflection whether it’s in a mirror or a puddle, can be a big surprise. Some dogs are wary of their own reflection, others are intrigued – but most of them take a while to twig it’s not a real dog, and even then they probably don’t have the self-awareness to realise it’s themselves. 

12. Join in with animals on the TV

dogs watching tv

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If you’ve ever seen a dog watching horseracing with his family, you’ll know how animated they get as the commentary crescendos toward the finish line. If a barking dog is on their screen, they often think the dog is in the room with them, may bark or jump or howl at them. Or if he’s a more retiring type, he may seek shelter elsewhere in the house.

13. Chase bunnies in their sleep

dog sleeping on back

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It’s hilarious watching dogs dreaming. You catch them with their paws twitching, legs kicking, tails wagging – are they chasing bunnies or just zooming round the park? Sometimes they even start sleep-squeaking.

14. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or just something that’s always been there... 

terrier barking

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Usually it’s just a rock or maybe a garden statue. But if it wasn’t there last time, or at least he didn’t spot it, a dog might have to stage a full introduction with the inanimate object that has caught his attention. Some will bark, some will tiptoe up to the item, some will charge up to it to chase it away, while others will retreat. Reacting with random objects is just part and parcel of your dog discovering the world. 

15. Have a great chat

boy and dog chatting

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Not all dogs chatter, but those that do happily strike up a conversation are comical. Some pooches love to chat to their owners, some whine, some squeak, some do little yaps, interacting with us as though it were a perfectly normal conversation. Siberian Huskies are particularly known for this as they are bred to use their “voices” to communicate as part of the team in dog-sledding. And of course, we understand every word... 

16. Make their own bed

dog under blanket

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OK, not all dogs do this but nor do all humans! Whippets and other dogs that feel the cold have a habit of grabbing their blanket, putting it over their head and burying themselves beneath. Very cozy.

17. Roll in stinky stuff

dog rolling

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Funny for the dog, less funny for the person who has to wash them off. Dogs absolutely love rolling in revoltingly smelly spots. Fox poop, dead animal, anything that smells truly putrid. But while the stench may be horrendous, the dog’s delighted face as it emerges with stink bomb fumes all around them is (begrudgingly) comical. Apparently, this stems back to when they were wild dogs and needed to mask their own scent. Pooey...

18. Carry things, in case you need them, or he needs them...

dog carrying ball

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You have to love a dog that always has a ball in his mouth, “ready for fetch whenever you are mum”, or a leash, a plush toy, or carries his blanket around with him. They just want to be useful.

19. Decide exactly which bed is theirs

dog sleeping on human's bed

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You buy your dog the latest orthopedic mattress or a snuggly cave bed – perhaps even a cool bed for the summertime. But your dog has other ideas. He will sleep where he jolly well wants to. Maybe it’s your nicest couch, maybe it’s your bed, but as soon as your back is turned he’ll hop right up there.

20. Eat weird stuff

dog eating grass

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Your dog has a carefully selected high-quality diet, of course. But he would like to supplement this with his own selection of junk food: ranging from grass to earth to poop (yuck) to tissue paper. Sometimes this snacking is just boredom or a quest for a different sensation or texture, but it may be a sign that they are lacking in certain nutrients, attention-seeking or suffering from anxiety. 

21. The guilty look

puppy dog eyes

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Oh, you have to love this one. Your delightful dog has stolen the Sunday roast, and is doing his most beguiling puppy-dog eyes in an attempt to win your heart back. In fact, you spot the guilty look before you realise the chicken’s been decimated.

22. Follow you like a shadow

Corgi walking close to owner

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Some dogs don’t seem to need your presence at all, but the Velcro dogs (Vizslas, we’re looking at you now) won’t leave you alone. They stick so closely to you that you can barely go to the bathroom without a little whimper from behind the door. Sometimes you think you’ve lost them, they’re clinging so close, like a shadow!

23. Lie like a frog

french bulldog lying like frog

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Some breeds are remarkably flexible and can lie down with their hindlegs splayed out behind them. French Bulldogs are renowned for this “froggy” pose, also known as “splooting”, as well as Corgis, but many breeds enjoy lying in this position, particularly on a hot day when they can get the maximum surface area in contact with a cooler surface. 

24. Make an enemy of the vacuum cleaner

dog with vacuum cleaner

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It makes a terrible racket, it invades your dog’s personal space and even sucks up great smells from his bed. It either needs to be attacked or fled from. 

25. Invade everyone’s personal space

great dane licking girl

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Licking, humping, butt-sniffing, jumping up, most of it isn’t that funny for the recipient of such behavior, although all these behaviors are usually simply signs of affection or excess energy.

26. When they rest their head on your feet

labrador resting head on shoe

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A sure sign of love, trust, dependency and affection – and that they’re looking after you. It gives both of you a sense of security, and possibly tells the dog you’re not going anywhere without them.

27. The loving gaze

loving eyes of puppy

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Dogs love eye contact. They stare at you to let you know how they feel, and a lot of the time it’s to say that they love you, according to the UK Kennel Club. Furthermore, it’s good for you both! When a dog gazes at you, it produces a big rise in oxytocin in both human and canine.

28. They adore or hate cats – no middle ground

labrador sleeping next to orange cat

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There are either those dogs who think cats are wonderful, superior creatures who must be treated with great respect. Or there is the opposite. Cats must be banished from the house, the garden, the yard, anywhere and everywhere. Yeowl! We’ve yet to meet a dog who is just plain indifferent.

29. Licking is the highest form of affection

beagle dog licking man

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You may not want a slobbery kiss – and your visiting friend certainly doesn’t but most dogs see this as the highest act of endearment. 

30. They look at you while they poop

dog looking round while pooping

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It feels like they’re saying “please stop looking at me, this is so embarrassing”, but in fact, dog behaviorists believe that while dogs are squatting they feel vulnerable, and therefore they are depending on you as the Alpha Dog for any cues that there may be danger. If you jump, he will too. 

31. Choose just the right spot

Dog selecting where to pee

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You set out on your walk at a brisk pace, only for your dog to drag you into the bushes for a pee. Except, after several circles, he decides he doesn’t want to go there. So on you go, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, until finally, he alights upon the place that is just right. It’s all because as well as emptying his bladder, he is depositing intricate canine messages for other dogs to pick up and you can’t leave vital information lying around in any old place.

32. The pre-wash

french bulldog licking dishes

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Love it or loathe it, dogs are always delighted to help pre-wash the dishes before they go in the machine. Or when they’re stacked and ready to go in the machine. Only too happy to help out with such household chores.

Did you enjoy this article? You might like to read these expert tips for a happy, well-behaved dog. Is your dog spinning in circles? In this feature, a vet reveals the reasons behind this behavior.  

Martha Terry
Features editor

Martha is an experienced journalist working in both print and digital media. She specializes in the canine, equine and rural sphere where she has covered a wide range of topics from cloning animals and the ingredients for a perfect yard dog, to helping owners find the best canine GPS trackers on the market. When she’s not busy writing about dogs and horses, she’ll be found either aboard a horse or looking after the menagerie of pets in her care.