Dogs do lots of wonderful and endearing things. They wriggle with joy when we come home from work. They endlessly and mindlessly chase sticks and balls and frisbees. They also roll in dead animal carcasses and sniff each other’s butts, but hey, that’s between them and those dead animals, and each other’s butts.
Sometimes, though, our beloved dogs cross a line. Our dear pooches can do things that make their owners really uncomfortable — and one of those things is that seriously disconcerting habit they have of staring deep into our eyes. While they’re pooping. Ugh.
Why do dogs do this? Well, according to veterinarian Kathryn Primm, it’s not because pooping gives them the warm fuzzies for the person they know is going to have to clean up the poop. It’s not because they’re accusing you of being rude because you happened to glance in their direction, either. It’s because pooping makes them feel vulnerable.
You know how Tyrion Lannister finally eliminated his cruel and loveless dad while he was, ahem, eliminating? It may not have occurred to you how defenseless most creatures are while they’re doing their daily business. But let’s face it, you’re not exactly going to be fast on the draw when you’ve got your pants around your ankles. Similarly, dogs have to get into that classic pooping position before and during the act, and if something decides to attack them, they’re not going to be ready to flee or fight back. So dogs may stare at their owners during toilet time because they feel vulnerable, and they know that their pack alpha (that’s you) will probably give them some sort of signal if there’s a giant dog-eating lizard approaching from behind.
See, it’s all very sensible and not at all weird. But it’s understandable if your dog’s evident lack of modesty still makes you feel kind of uncomfortable. So go head and avert your eyes, or just gaze over your dog’s head instead. That way, you’ll be able to spot the giant dog-eating lizard without also having to lock eyes with your pooping best friend.
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