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The Right Way to Think About Common (But Seemingly Odd) Pet Behaviors

June 19, 2017

The Right Way to Think About Common (But Seemingly Odd) Pet Behaviors

As often as we like to call them our “best friends,” more often then not, we just don’t understand our pets behavior as well as we probably should. From dogs to cats, birds to fish, to all other pets in between, there are a lot of basic behaviors that often get labelled incorrectly as “mysterious quirks.”

The reality is that we don’t typically understand common pet behaviors because they are not very human. (And that’s okay!) But you might want to take some time to do a little research and discover what it actually is that your best friend is trying to tell you.

That’s why we here at Furever Linked have decided to put on our Paw-vate Eye costumes and get the scoop on a few of the many mysterious (but common) pet behaviors.

  1. The infamous head-tilt (Dogs)

    Even if you don’t own a dog, you’ve likely seen the way that some dogs tilt their heads after someone tries to talk to them.

    Many experts believe that dogs do this to better understand our vocalizations, listening for key words, phrases, and inflections that they associate with fun or positive activities. For example: a walk, food, treats, or play!

    That said, if your dog is doing this very frequently you may want to bring them into the vet for a checkup, as head tilting in dogs can also be a sign of vestibular syndrome.

  2. Deep stare (Dogs)

    There are a lot of reasons for your dog to stare at you, according to renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Milan. But the four primary reasons are typically: a want of attention, general confusion and curiosity, desire for something, and a need for direction. So stay alert, and try to read your pup’s body language!

  3. Post-bath marathon (Dogs)

    Doggy bath marathon

    There were a lot of theories about why dogs generally get super (and we mean SUPER) excited post-bath time.

    But the most likely of reasons is that your dog just wants to smell like themselves again. Many pet-friendly shampoos have very defined scents, and in the land of doggos, scent is a very big deal. So when your dog goes zip zooming throughout your house after a bath, consider that they just want to be themselves again!
  4. The great food cover-up (Cats)

    You might have witnessed the great food cover-up before, when your cat decided that they were done eating and proceeded to scratch at the dish or paw at the ground near it. (Sometimes even flipping the bowl!)

    But they aren’t being finicky about their food, according to the experts at Cat Behavior Associates. They’re just trying to cover up the scent of their food to avoid attracting competing cats or predators!
  5. Phone for attention (Cats)

    Cat grabbing your phone

    **Ring ring** You answer the phone. Then suddenly your cat is upon you, purring, and rubbing their face on you, trying to reach the phone.

    They aren’t trying to tell you to hang up the phone due to attention jealousy – not really. Apparently when a cat hears a ringing of a phone they associate it with certain human behaviors. Like sitting for a long period of time, which is perfect for plenty of petting!
  6. Roll-over Beethoven? (Cats)

    Have you ever noticed that your cat likes to walk into the middle of a room and suddenly plop themselves down and roll over onto their backs?

    No, they aren’t channeling their inner dog, according to Amy Shojai of The Spruce. “Rolling spreads self-scene when Kitty rubs her head and cheeks on the floor, as well as providing a self-massage. Cats love routine, so once a pattern is established, the rolling also becomes a comforting kitty ritual.”
  7. The tail flare (Birds)

    Bird tale flare

    If you see your bird pal flare their tail, don’t run for the hills! This behavior typically means that they are happy, and is usually the result of some sort of pleasing activity, such as getting a treat.

    Now if you see their tail wagging…well, let’s just say that it’s a 50/50 split that they’re happy or need to use the newspaper.
  8. Head bobbing (Birds)

    According to various bird experts across the internet, the infamous head bob of birds that makes them look like they’re rocking out can mean different things to different species and if they’re make or female.

    For cockatiels, the head bob is actually a courting/attention ritual, according to pet blog The Nest. So if you see your feathered friend bobbing their head at you, it just means they’re looking good and they want you to know it! (Though apparently it also means they might try to feed you…)
  9. Purring sound (Birds)

    If your bird starts to make a purring sound, be aware that they might actually be a cat! (Not really.) According to sources at Pet Education, a purring bird can oftentimes mean that they are feeling content.

    A good way to gauge this behavior is to see if they are positioning their body in a positive way. If they appear displeased, the purring may be a sign of annoyance, and you should try to determine what is causing the displeasure.


We hope that our inside scoop on these common pet behaviors help give you paws the next time your furever friend does something you don’t quite understand. And if you have any additional behaviors that you’d like us to help uncover, let us know in the comments below!

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