Pardon My Dog: 4 Embarrassing Behaviors and What to Do About Them

Let’s be honest, we love our dogs but sometimes they do some things that make us feel a little awkward or embarrassed! Whether it’s bad behavior or a health problem, there’s usually a fix for these uncomfortable doggy issues. If your dog does something you’d like to fix, don’t be embarrassed to talk to your vet or a trainer to help find a solution!

Here are the most common awkward dog issues, and some tips to help you fix them.

1. Don’t blame it on the dog

OK, let’s just say it, some dogs have flatulence problems. Excess gas is pretty common and your vet can help you get to the root of the problem and find a solution. The biggest culprit is most likely your dog’s diet. Grains like wheat or corn can cause too much gas. So can foods that cause gas in humans, like beans or broccoli. Egg and dairy products in the diet can lead to especially stinky gas. You’ll want to make sure your dog isn’t having a bad reaction to supplements or medications, and also rule out intestinal parasites and bowel disease.

2. Poop is for scooping, not eating

Why do some dogs eat their own or other dog or cat poop? This embarrassing problem is so common there’s a word for it—coprophagia. There are actually some logical reasons for this gross (to us) behavior. Eating waste is a scavenging behavior, similar to going through the garbage looking for scraps. Submissive dogs will sometimes also eat the poop of dominant dogs. Some trainers believe that dogs think you want them to eat it when you put their face in it when they have an accident. A dog may also be seeking your attention, even if it’s negative attention! Underlying health problems, like parasites or a deficiency in certain nutrients, may also drive your dog to eat poop. Talk to your vet about possible health and nutrition issues. Your vet can also tell you about safe, natural food additives that taste bad in poop. Behavioral fixes include teaching your dog the “leave it” command and walking him instead of letting him go in the yard.

3. In the mood for love

What could be more awkward than when your dog greets visitors by mounting their legs? While embarrassing, experts say that this behavior is normal for dogs. Both male and female dogs will mount people, other dogs, and inanimate objects, even if they’re neutered and spayed. Mounting is normal sexual and play behavior among dogs. They may do it as a response to excitement or stress. They can also do it to show dominance. See your vet to rule out medical causes. There are lots of strategies you can use to change the behavior. Try distracting your dog or putting him in “time out” when he does it. You can also teach him the “leave it” command and train him to do another behavior, like sitting or lying down, in situations when he is likely to engage in mounting.

4. Scoot over

“Scooting” is cuter than saying my dog drags his butt across the floor, but the behavior is the same! Scooting is always good for a laugh in funny videos, but this is one embarrassing dog issue that almost always has a medical cause. The most common reason dogs scoot is impacted anal glands. This problem can cause your dog a lot of discomfort, which he tries to relieve by scooting. Your vet can manually express the glands, and also talk to you about adding bulk to your dog’s diet. Infected glands require additional treatment, and your vet can even remove them. Other medical causes include parasites and allergies that irritate the skin.

 

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  • Aaron Seminoff
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