Dogs can be curious about anything, from why your chip bag makes such a loud and crunchy noise to wondering how delicious those rabbit turds in the backyard are. But what makes dogs so curious? Is it in their DNA and personality, is it biological, or is it something else? We will explore these questions below!
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Signs of a Dog Who is Curious About Something
Curious dogs often lead with their noses. Say your dog finds a food wrapper that has been left on the sidewalk and it is flapping around in the wind. They will likely lead with their nose first and go over to the wrapper and begin sniffing and analyzing the smells intently.
Hearing also plays a part as the sounds of the crunchy wrapper blowing in the wind will sound interesting to them. Eventually, your dog will be curious about how this wrapper tastes because they likely know that there was once food inside.
Many dogs will also stare at something very intently if they are curious about it. They will look alert and their ears and tail will be upright, they may also look as if they are hunting or stalking the curious object, or they may even bark or growl at the object if they are fearful.
- Tail up
- Ears up
- Tasting and Licking the Object
- Closely Listening
- Pawing at the Object
History of Curios Dogs
Animals, like dogs and wolves, react to movement, sound, and smell. When they are near something that catches their attention they are likely to have three potential response to the object in question - fight, flight, or curiosity.
In the wild, it was important for a dog to distinguish between potential threats and what was not going to actually harm them. A quick reaction and instinct were needed in these types of situations. If they deemed something threatening, they would have to decide to either stay and fight or flee from the situation. However, if something was determined to not be a threat, curiosity would drive the dog's reaction.
Although your dog still has their fight or flight response, it is much more likely your dog's curiosity will be there first response to a new situation or if they find something that intrigues them.
Science Behind Dog Curiosity
Dogs can sense things that we as humans cannot, which allows them to experience the world in a much different and more intense way. Since everyday objects can be much more interesting to them, their curiosity plays a much bigger role in their life. A dog has a strong biological pull to explore and gather information about the world around them. If they experience something different and new, they are going to use their senses to try and figure out what it is.
Training for Dogs Who are Too Curious
Luckily, there are a few, simple training tricks you can use to make sure your dog's excitement and curiosity are controllable. The first thing you can do is make sure you don't allow your dog to get too excited over something. If you have a guest come over to your house, tell the guest to ignore the dog's sniffing or licking and they will likely stop this behavior much sooner than if the person was feeding into the dog's excitement and curiosity.
It is also a good idea to train your dog to listen to the "leave it" command. If your dog has a strong understanding of "leave it," as soon as you tell your dog to leave something it should break their interest and curiosity with the object or person so you can move along quickly.
This is particularly helpful if you are out on a walk or in a new environment and your dog is extremely curious about the smells, sights, and sounds around them. In these situations, many things are going to peak their attention and curiosity, even things that may be dangerous to them, so your dog needs to know when they need to leave something alone.
How to React if Your Dog is Curious About Something:
Let them explore within reason.
Keep a close eye on them.
Safety Tips for a Overly Curious Dog:
Keep control over your dog.
Don't let them become too excited.
Make sure they have boundaries.
Don't let them lick anything dangerous.