Dog "tucking" me in?
April 20, 2006 11:27 PM   Subscribe

I am curious about a strange "tucking/covering" behavior my dog exhibits...

I have a 3 year old female mini-chihuahua. She loves to sit with me on the sofa and we watch TV together. Two times in the past two years she has tried to cover up my "sometimes-hanging-out-when-it-shouldn't-be" part with the blanket nearby or my boxer shorts. She does it gently with her nose. She gets frustrated at the blanket, bites it, shakes it, then starts over and doesn't stop until it's completely covered or you distract her by laughing so hard. She gets so determined. It's really funny, disturbing, and interesting all at the same time.

Does anyone know why a dog would do this? Some sort of instinct maybe?
posted by snotloc to Pets & Animals (17 answers total)
Maybe it's merely socially inappropriate for you to be sitting around in mixed company with your unit hanging out, dog or not.

I'm serious. Probably makes her uncomfortable.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:50 PM on April 20, 2006

Response by poster: It's not like it's hanging out on purpose. Sometimes when you're relaxing on the sofa just in your boxer shorts you're not completely aware if it's showing a little. Obviously, when there is company around I would wear shorts/pants - but can I really be expected to always were shorts/pants around my dog because it could slip out from time to time?
posted by snotloc at 12:07 AM on April 21, 2006

It's not like it's hanging out on purpose.

Lucky you

Obviously, when there is company around I would wear shorts/pants

I'd like to hope so!

but can I really be expected to always were shorts/pants around my dog

Does it really bother you? If so why not train the dog out of it's habit instead of laughing at it. If you encourage it then the dog will carry on. Tell it off an maybe it will learn to stop?
posted by twistedonion at 4:24 AM on April 21, 2006

Can't add much about the specific behavior, but one of our dogs (male min-pin mix, about 3 years old) gets uncomfortable when Mr. Kitty's 'hanging out' as well - I'll second the advice to train her out of it if it's bothering you, but my dogs do all kinds of dumb things that make me laugh, and if it's just something that's funny, enjoy it.
posted by ferociouskitty at 4:32 AM on April 21, 2006

Is it the sight or the smell that offends her canine dignity?
posted by mrmojoflying at 5:44 AM on April 21, 2006

You should be glad that your pet is trying to save you from embarassment. My cats would just point and laugh.

Seriously, I've never heard of this behavior before, but that's one interesting dog. She's a keeper!
posted by sluggo at 5:50 AM on April 21, 2006

My dog would bark at my old roommate if he walked around his tighty whiteys. And rightly so, because that was just gross. That's about the closest to this behaviour I've ever seen though.
posted by antifuse at 6:12 AM on April 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Hmmm, I have a chihuahua, and as you probably know, they're very "nesty" dogs- she's always burrowing under the covers, or under the blankets on the couch, or right into someone's lap, I think because she's little and it's her best way to keep warm. I bet your dog does this too, yes?

Perhaps she's trying to keep YOU warm?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:15 AM on April 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Maybe she thinks it's her puppy?
posted by crabintheocean at 8:07 AM on April 21, 2006

Dogs have extremely acute senses of smell. I've never seen this behavior before, but she may be trying to tell you something.
posted by emelenjr at 8:20 AM on April 21, 2006

In an effort to be serious...have you tried clicker training? We had a dog who got really excited around bikes and strollers and wanted to chase them (isn't that what every person wants--a rottweiler chasing after them to play?), and with clicker training we were able to train her ignore them. It was really easy. Whenever her attention turned to a bike/stroller, we'd click and say her name. As soon as she looked at us, we'd praise her and give her a treat. The key is timing (click and say her name as soon as the behavior started), and constant praise, and yummy treats she never gets any other time (slivers of hot dog in our case).

Keep a clicker near the couch, and use it to distract her whenever she notices Mr Happy.
posted by luneray at 9:56 AM on April 21, 2006

I'm guessing the OP is looking for some reasons why she'd do this, not ways to make her stop. He said she'd only done it twice in two years.

My vote is for puppy. Hairless newborn puppy...
posted by crabintheocean at 10:27 AM on April 21, 2006

Response by poster: Does it really bother you?

No, it doesn't bother me at all. I just didn't know if there was a particular reason why she would do this.

... as you probably know, they're very "nesty" dogs ...

She is very "nesty" with people and objects. A little related, she'll take her tiny tennis ball and will hide it under a blanket and spend 30 minutes trying to get it out. Once she is successful, she'll usually put it back under and will repeat the process.

Perhaps she's trying to keep YOU warm?

I'd like to think this is the case, rather than it smelling/looking bad. When it happened last night, I was swimming 10 minutes prior so how bad could it really smell? Actually, please don't answer that.

Maybe she thinks it's her puppy?

If this is the case, I really hope she doesn't try anything else with her "puppy."

have you tried clicker training?

Yes, but not for this. She is tiny (4 lbs) and is afraid of mostly everything, including unexpected clicking noises, so it didn't work out too well. She responds better to a calm voice than a clicker.

Like I said, this has only happened twice in the past 2 years, so it doesn't bother me yet. I just didn't know why on earth she would do this and was hoping there was a logical explanation. The first time it happened I assumed she was confused and thought I was sitting on something she wanted. Last night when it happened, I moved and she moved with me and continued her operation cover-up duty.
posted by snotloc at 10:38 AM on April 21, 2006

What a great dog. Seriously. Maybe she thinks it's a big flesh covered poo? Dogs will sometimes bury their poo. Or maybe she thinks it's a hairless chihuahua who might be cold. Who knows why she does it, but it's obvious that you love her and she sounds like a great little pooch.
posted by generic230 at 12:31 PM on April 21, 2006

Dogs are awesome, you can never tell what they're trying to get at. In your case, perhaps she's very protective of you, and can smell your hormones more powerfully when you're uncovered. So maybe she wants you all to herself, and doesn't want any other female dogs to smell you?:-)
posted by invisible ink at 1:22 PM on April 21, 2006

Maybe she thinks it's a big flesh covered poo?

This is clearly the best answer in the thread.
posted by danb at 7:11 PM on April 22, 2006

My girlfriend's cat tries to bury any food left out with anything that is available to cover it. If we set an unfinished plate of food down on the table, he'll come up and try to throw coasters or magazines on it, or just scratch at the table as if he could bury it. We guess it is because it's not safe to have food around that could attract predators or enemies.

Your puppy thinks your wiener is food.

Or she smells something that she thinks might attract competition. You are her mate, and she won't have some hussies sniffing around her mate.
posted by team lowkey at 2:14 PM on April 24, 2006

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