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Strange Behaviors

Do only my dogs sometimes act strange, or is this a common occurrence? Thinking back over the years and recalling every animal I have ever called my friend, I suppose they all had little quirks. My current family unit is no exception. Let’s begin with Mini-Cooper.

You may lack information about Mini- Cooper if you do not read my column regularly. Also known as M.C, Mini-Coop, Coop, and Cooper. Mini-Cooper is a Cocker Spaniel King Charles Cavalier mix with the coloring of a Golden Retriever. He is three years old and was adopted from Halifax Humane Society about two years ago. His strange behaviors include licking the carpet excessively and coughing up a fur ball a few hours later. He does not lick the carpet regularly, only a few times a year. Why he suddenly does this is beyond me, but he becomes obsessed with licking. At first, we thought he had something stuck on his tongue and was desperately trying to remove it, but after a thorough inspection, his tongue was clean and smooth.

Now, what is very strange about this behavior is that it occurs just a few hours before Bentley, our eleven-year-old Golden Retriever, also adopted from Halifax Humane Society about four years ago, has a minor seizure.

This behavior usually happens when Bentley is sleeping. He suddenly awakes and begins to roll and thrash uncontrollably for about three to five seconds. We come to his side and hold him, reassuring him that he’s safe and we are there. Within a few minutes, his heart rate decreases, and he is back to normal. Does the fact that Mini-Coop licks the carpet excessively have any correlation to Bentley having a seizure, or is this just a coincidence? Is Cooper trying to warn us that a seizure is coming? Is he a natural seizure service dog like those used by diabetic and epileptic patients who warn their humans about a seizure about to occur? Inquiring minds want to know.

Then there is Brody. He is our most recent failed foster, who I adopted in January. I say “I adopted” because my wife had nothing to do with bringing yet another dog into our household. The good news is that she has come around and now loves Brody almost as much as I do. He is my shadow like Cooper is hers. Bentley doesn’t play favorites; he’s an equal-opportunity family dog.

Brody is a Golden Retriever and Irish Setter mix known as a Golden Irish. He is very tall and lean and estimated to be about three years old. His strange behavior is spinning. He loves to spin when he is happy. The good news is that he spins a lot, so he is a very happy dog. He always spins to the left; the happier he is, the more times he spins. If I am out for the day and gone for several hours, he will spin at least twenty times consecutively and very fast upon my return. I often sing, “If you’re happy and you know it, spin around” while he attempts to lift off due to centrifugal force and the Bernoulli principle.

Does your dog, cat, bird, or pocket pet exhibit strange behaviors? I’d love to hear and share them with my readers.

I had a cat named Kitty-Boom. He was given this odd name because of his strange behavior. He would walk up to you, stop, and drop to the floor with a thud. He did this every time he approached anyone. I don’t think it was a sign of submission because he was a very dominant cat. He would slap a-round our Yellow Lab puppy at the time when they played. The cat usually won any and all battles.

We once had a Black Lab named Quincy—a big ole Lab weighing in at over 100 lbs. His weird behavior was to eat through dry wall. At first, we thought he was after a mouse in the wall, but no, he just liked to eat drywall. We would arrive home after a hard day of work only to be greeted by Quincy with a pure white snout covered in drywall dust. The smile that was forming on my face because I was happy to see my dog quickly disappeared, and my voice raised in volume, asking, “Quincy! what did you do?” Quincy’s behavior was very costly compared to my current clan’s strange behaviors. He only did this wall gnawing at one of our homes, so it had something to do with that house, but we could never figure it out.

If your pet has strange behavior, please e-mail me at the address below, and I might include it in a future column.
Please adopt, don’t shop, and support your local animal shelters.


Barry KuKes is the former Community Outreach Director of Halifax Humane Society. E-mail him at View more of his work at minicooperpro