We all know that dogs can be a little crazy. Just give a dog a bath and watch what happens afterward, when they're finally free to go nuts. From cute head tilts to gravity-defying leaps and signature growls, our dogs are full of quirky habits — and we love them for it. But even the most dedicated dog-lovers, including all of us at the Rover office, don't usually know about these odd canine behaviors. Check 'em out below.
Nope, we're not talking about your favorite frosty beverage. FRAP stands for "frenetic random activity period," and if you've spent any time with puppies, you'll know what that looks like. Also called the "zoomies," this behavior can seemingly come out of nowhere. Your dog will start racing around exuberantly, almost as if possessed. They zoom, sprint, circle, and simply burst with energy for several minutes, until they settle down again. It's most common in younger dogs but can happen at any age.
While this behavior can be annoying in a small indoor space, it's lots of fun to watch outside. Time for a trip to the off-leash dog park!
2. Hiding in the Bathtub
Thunderstorms provoke a lot of anxiety in dogs. And it turns out that it's not just about the noise — it's the static electricity they don't like. Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the Animal Behavior department at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, has shown that dogs experience shocks from static electricity during thunderstorms. That's why some dogs run into grounded areas of the house to wait out the storm, including basements and bathtubs. The porcelain of the bathtub blocks static electricity, protecting your pup from discomfort.
Pro tip: pressure wraps or vests are a great help for anxious pups. Some of our Rover office dogs even wear them every day! Also, focused storm phobia training can help soothe a dog's thunderstorm fears.
Have you ever seen a dog sleepwalk? Trancing, also known as ghost walking, is a little-known but well-documented dog behavior that looks a lot like it sounds. Dogs slip into a kind of trance as they move in slow motion. What sets off these trances? Typically, it's something light and feathery tickling the dog's back, such as a plant, table cloth, or curtain. Some dogs snap out of easily, while others keep "trancing" for some time.
The breeds most associated with this behavior are Bull Terriers and Greyhounds. Bull Terrier breeders in the UK even conducted a survey to try and link neurological conditions to trancing, but results were inconclusive.
If it sounds too strange to be true, check out this video, one of many like it that dog owners have uploaded.
4. Using Their "Thumbs"
Dogs don't really have thumbs, of course. However, they DO have the dew claw. This extra, tiny claw is a quirk of evolution found in the "thumb" position of a dog's front paws. A dew claw includes toe bones, muscles, claw, and a tiny paw pad. Occasionally, they occur on a dog's back feet. Most dogs don't use or have control over their dew claws, but some dogs can actually utilize them. In fact, this video shows dogs using their dew claws to help pull themselves out of an icy pond.
Good to know: There is some controversy in the dog owner community about whether or not to remove a dog's dew claws when they're a puppy. It's definitely something to consult with your vet about.
5. Throwing a Tantrum
Yes, even that adorable puppy gets mad. Like young humans, young dogs can throw a fit. Sometimes it's pretty cute, in fact, as evidenced by this video roundup. Puppy tantrums occur when puppies are forced to do something they don't like, such as hold still in their handler's arms or when they're simply overexcited. In these cases, the puppy might start nipping even more crazily than usual, growling, and demonstrating stiff body language. The ASPCA recommends staying calm, cool, and collected if your puppy does this. Hold the puppy firmly, and then relax when she settles down. Wait a minute. This advice is awfully similar to toddler parenting advice . . .
Prevention: if this occurs repeatedly, make sure to address it with training and proper socialization. These go a long way toward having an awesome, well-behaved adult dog.