Oh those little heads

Yesterday started out differently than most, but ended much the same as others.  Dogs being dogs; Luke and Elsa assumed that the day would be much like all of the other days.  Of course I try to switch things up regularly, especially for Elsa as she is like a machine with routine.  We were not going out for a walk in the morning; but my husband and I were going out.  Luke an Elsa are very use to me going to the gym very early so when I returned very early in the morning they started to follow as they always do.  After a bit I grabbed my keys and my purse and Elsa spun in front of me with her typical "yay we're going for a walk" enthusiasm.  I then told her "I'll be back," but she did not relent.  Luke clearly understood that I was leaving without them but with her over the top excited self; she could not see that a change was in the works for the day.  Of course the door closing with her behind it gave her a tip that she was not joining me.

Dog heads are funny little things.  I often say "who knows what's going on in that little head."  It is true that much of what goes on we don't know but the more you learn about dogs and their behavior the easier it is to figure out.  They have good days and bad like we do.  Some of them have large mood changes while others can be difficult to read the good from the bad days.  Luke is in one of his very happy and feisty moods these days.  I can tell that by his very active following, big time desire to snuggle, his awakeness versus sleeping hours and his interest in wrestling with Elsa.  He is an extremely happy dog as is Elsa; they are probably two of the happiest dogs that I know.  If either have a bad day or bad mood moment it is very small and very rare.  They are the perpetual optimists, a very nice trait in a dog.

Last night Luke came to bed and was acting out of the ordinary.  Usually bed time is a calm time when he settles quickly, gets a before bed snack and it's lights out.  But he did not settle and I found myself asking him "what the heck are you doing?" as he circled the blankets looking for "the spot" more than a dozen times before leaping off of the bed.  The circling was normal but not the speed or the jumping off the bed.  He is not allowed to jump off of the bed but made a run for it and immediately turned to get back up again.  Sometimes he just gets something in that little head of his and who knows what the fuel for his actions are?  Once back on the bed he continued to stomp around and finally flopped in the chosen spot.  I wrapped his head in my arms and could hear his stress breathing.  He'd gotten himself worked up about something.  I held him for a while until he settled, he had his snack and was covered up for the night.  What a guy.  He is a simple yet quite the complicated guy.

There was no figuring out what was going on in that little head of his last night.  The out of the ordinary behavior was fleeting; different for Luke but not hugely strange.  He has these moments now and again; after all his is a nervous ninny sort of guy.  Sometimes things just hit him and he displays behaviors that are quickly over and done with.  There isn't much that I cannot figure out if I sit, watch and ponder for a while.  But there are those shoulder shrugging moments.  Of course if it was a behavior that needing attending I would figure it out but his unusual behaviors are typically fleeting, quirky and inconsequential moments in time.

There are many things that our dogs do that leave owners perplexed.  At the beach the other day the owner of a dog that was playing with Elsa was puzzled by a new behavior.  Elsa loves to dig at the beach, she loves the feel of digging in the sand.  It is obvious from her behavior that she is not digging for anything but the sheer joy of digging in the sand.  Luke was much the same when he was younger and still loves to dig albeit at a slower and more mellow pace than Elsa now.  Elsa showed her new friend Cali how to dig and when Cali started to dig along side Elsa the owner said "what are they digging for?"  I said "nothing, Elsa just loves to dig."  He didn't get the whole "just digging for nothing idea," and asked his dog several times what the heck she was digging for.  I'm not sure if it was all of the flying sand that made him grab for his dog or the inability to comprehend this new activity.  As he grabbed her collar he said "there is nothing in there, no treats" and pulled her away.  Funny human behavior.

Our dogs often display behaviors that we cannot explain.  There are behaviors that can lead to other more serious issues and for those you may need a professional.  As an avid and dedicated behavior watcher I have often seen a dangerous behavior in the fledgling stage of disaster.  If possible I will try to enlighten an owner; if they are open to listen or I have been asked.  Funny little quirky behaviors can go wrong quickly and it can be difficult to distinguish between one that will, might or won't go bad.  Things do go on in those little heads that we cannot explain but many of the odd behaviors that our dogs display can be explained.  Don't ignore odd behaviors, whether they are out of the ordinary or something your dog displays regularly that you cannot figure out.  There could very well be an easy explanation that has gone undetected by you and your family but it could also be one of those weird little things that has no explanation.  The resulting fallout behavior is what must be addressed.

Oh those little heads.