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One reason we love dogs is they give us so, so many reasons to feel superior to them. But much of what they do is so bizarre and unfathomable that you can't help but wonder what the hell they're thinking.

It turns out they have their reasons. Weird, disgusting reasons.

Eating Poop

Look, this is the elephant in the room. If we're going to talk about strange dog behavior, and don't get the "they eat shit" thing off the table right away, we would be shouted down until we addressed it. And rightfully so.

Dogs eat their own poop, they eat other dogs poop, mother dogs eat the pups' poop (your mom never loved you enough to do that, did she?). They'd eat poop all day if you let them.

So What the Hell Are They Thinking?

Back when dogs were wild and roaming the plains instead of riding around inside of tiny purses, predators could find a dog's den by detecting the smell of poop, specifically the kind left by defenseless, tasty puppies. Puppy feces has a distinct smell (you puppy owners know this!) because of the high milk content, making it the shit equivalent of a Swiss delicacy. So, to clean up the evidence and keep predators away, mom would eat it. We don't know why she doesn't just bury it, but we're not here to judge.

Only imagine that stick is poop.

Anyway, this tradition carries on even for dogs that had been living in the comfort of human homes for generations. Tradition just works like that sometimes, you don't know why you and your buddies high-five when you're celebrating something, you just do it because that's what people do. You would think that at some point you'd reevaluate it if instead of slapping hands you were fucking eating your own shit. But again, they're dogs.

And on that subject, explanations for poop eating outside of cleaning up for pups includes boredom (imagine being so bored that eating your own shit seems like a fun way to kill a few minutes--do your dog a favor and toss a stick it) and just general cleanliness. That last one is especially true if the dog is in a confined spot in the yard or in a pin, because leaving it just laying out, well that would be gross, wouldn't it?

Sniffing Each Other's Asses

"Dear Cracked.com article on weird dog behavior. I noticed that when meeting another dog, Rex frantically sniffs the other dog's anus, while the other dog returns the favor in a kind of Yin-Yang of ass sniffing. Worse, sometimes when a person comes to the door, he'll do the same to them! How much more savage should the beatings become to cull this disrespect?"

So What the Hell Are They Thinking?

Just as each human has a unique face, each dog has a unique ass stank. If you've ever wondered why dogs sniff each other's asses on meeting, wonder no more. They don't need to see a face, just smell an ass.

"Get me as many pictures of dogs sniffing asses as you can find!"-Cracked Editorial Staff.

It's not, however, because they want to smell the dried shit and fart residue around there. Dogs have two glands around their anus, and sacs that emit a fluid. That stuff tells another dog everything they need to know; the dog's sex, how healthy they are, what their diet is like, even their mood.

If you think we're exaggerating, keep in mind a dog's sense of smell is 100,000 times more sensitive than a human's. To them, there's a whole autobiography written out in that other dog's asshole.

"Oh, so you're originally from Memphis, OK."

By the way, those glands are also why dogs drag their butts on the floor. Under normal conditions when a dog poops, the force of the shat is supposed to empty its anal sacs. However, some breeds (usually smaller dogs) cannot empty the sacs and they become impacted and irritated.

You can have a vet or dog groomer squeeze that stuff out of there or, if you're the adventurous type and not opposed to getting knuckle deep in dog sphincter, there are do-it-yourself guides available. Since the difficulty of this task on eHow is "moderately easy," we'll assume they've never had to reach up a backwoods and homophobic bloodhound's anus.

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Turning Around and Around Before Sitting

"Thank you for answering my question above. Another thing I noticed is that Rex always twirls around a few times before lying down on the rug. Did I accidentally buy the retarded ballerina edition of our animal? Can I return it, and if not, are there any good recipes out there?"

So What the Hell Are They Thinking?

Eons of evolution have irreversibly stamped the "spin before lying down" technique into every dog's genetic repertoire, ensuring that every dog looks like it's trying to make sure its ass is still attached before falling asleep. Yes, once again an evolutionary leftover makes your dog look retarded.

Back in their wild days, when they did not have rugs or beds from PETCO to sleep on, turning around a few times before lying down would flatten any tall grass. That served the dual purpose of making the area more comfortable and to scour the spot for unpleasant creatures like snakes that could bite the hell out of a dog while it slept.

It turns out that turning around is also an excellent form of temperature regulation. It not only clears tall grass and debris from a spot on the ground, but it exposes a cooler layer of dirt. In arid weather conditions, when a mud puddle or some kind of air conditioned PRADA doggy pillow may not be available, this difference in temperature can be invaluable for the animal's comfort.

The fact that a mud puddle is considered to be a luxury in the canine world makes us a little sad. Not as sad as the boredom shit eating, though.


Now this is one of those things we just accept from dogs, and may even like it, despite the fact that there's no obvious reason for it at all. Why does your dog lick you? Is it love? Laying the groundwork for carnivorous slaughter? Does your skin secrete something that gets them high, like those one toads?

So What the Hell Are They Thinking?

Whether fated to enjoy a life of responsibility as a seeing eye dog, or a life of shame as a celebutante purse accessory, the first thing every dog is introduced to upon being shuttled out of its mother's womb is tongue. Dogs start life being licked and continue the tradition from there.

Mother dogs lick the birthy ooze from the pups and continue grooming them through their development. Wolf puppies lick their mothers face as a signal to regurgitate food for them (actually, we have the same reaction when children lick our face).

As dogs grow older, licking becomes more of a submissive gesture. The less dominant members of the pack lick the alpha dogs, which kind of puts a different spin on the whole "doggy kisses" thing. It doesn't mean he likes you, it means he knows you can crush him if you so desire and is submitting to your will.

If the dog is licking himself, it may not, as the above logic dictates, be the dog declaring himself to be awesome but rather may be due to allergies or soreness somewhere. Since dogs instinctively lick wounds to clean them, they also lick any sore spot like achy joints or whatever.

Oh, and as with the shit-eating, it's entirely possible the dog is just doing it out of boredom or nervousness, the doggy equivalent of biting your nails. Holy crap, people, find your dog a hobby already.

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Wagging Their Tails

So you experimented with interspecies romance but figured it was OK because Rover's tail was wagging. Do you still have to feel guilty about what you've done? After all, that means he's happy to see you, right?

Wait, why do they wag their tales?

So What the Hell Are They Thinking?

The thing is, a wagging tail can mean many different things. It's like smiling while holding a knife. If you're doing it while posing for a picture with your birthday cake, it's generally OK. If it's happening over the sedated body of the mailman, you may be insane. It's the same here; the little details matter.

While most believe that a wagging tail means the dog is happy, the position of the tail matters a lot more than the wagging itself. When the tail is held low and curved (in a "U" shape) and is wagging slowly, everything is cool. If the tail is higher or arched over the back, the dog is supremely interested, and maybe even pissed off about something.

So a dog can express a lot with its tail, and wagging does appear to primarily be a form of communication. Film your dog at home alone and it won't often wag its tail; not the way it does when it's greeting you at the door or meeting other dogs. Dogs are pack animals, communication is a big deal and the tail is like a little furry flag it can wave around to signal to others.

Also, a helicopter.

By the way, the same goes for putting their tail between their legs. It's thought to be a sign of submission (the opposite of the aggressive dog raising his tail high as mentioned above) because it's basically the dog making itself smaller. Tucking away the tail and lowering the ears is a way to sort of shrink away. "I don't matter, you're the bigger dog, don't rip my throat out. Now let's go eat some shit!"

Humping Your Leg

All right, we've put this one off long enough. The leg humping thing. Is your dog honestly thinking there's a vagina on your shin? That doesn't make sense, they would have gone extinct if they were that bad at identifying the right objects to ram their boners into. Hell, even female dogs do it.

So What the Hell Are They Thinking?

Odds are you have at least one person in your life whose leg you'd happily hump until friction burns put you both on the disabled list, but your motivations are not the same as your dog's. He's not doing it simply because he's horny and looking for a good time. If that were true, then it would happen less when the dog's been neutered, and female humpage would be virtually non-existent.

So as to why they do it... have you ever been to prison? Or at the very least, watched an episode of OZ back when it was on HBO? If so, you know that ass rape is done for reasons other than personal enjoyment; it's about dominance over another.

Well, for your adorable puppy dog all of life is like prison. Humping is done to establish dominance over lesser dogs. Nobody humps the alpha dog, it's the ones lower on the ladder who get humped.

So guess what that means when your dog humps your leg?

That's right; he's literally making you his bitch.

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For more bizarre animal actions, check out The 15 Most Bizarre Animal Mating Rituals. Or find out why you do some of the things you do, in Sleep Jerk to Piss Shivers: 5 Body Mysteries Explained.

And stop by our Top Picks to see our Swaim barking like a dog.

Special shout out to SecondaryMarf for his bizarre at guess today's article. If you'd like to get a shout out in an article, follow us on Twitter to find out how.

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