You probably have seen a dog shaking off at some points. It can look funny, strange, or perfectly normal. It depends on countless things. Why do dogs shake off? They do this due to a need or better said a reason. Dogs rarely do something without a reason! Below we are going to take a look at these reasons and explain each one so you can understand your pet more.
Understanding the Dog’s Shake Off
It’s a sight every dog owner is familiar with: the abrupt pause, the windmill whirl of the dog’s body, and the subsequent scattering of droplets or dust. Dogs have a peculiar yet utterly normal habit of shaking themselves off vigorously. But why do dogs shake off sometimes, and what is the deep-seated biological or psychological impetus behind this?
Shaking off is a dog’s efficient way to get rid of excess water, debris, or even stress. When your furry companion takes a plunge in the water or gets caught in the rain, the shake-off is a quick way to remove about 70% of the water from their fur. It’s a natural drying mechanism, honed by evolution to prevent hypothermia and promote comfort. The rapid oscillation of the skin assists in dropping the water away, a handy trick especially for wild canines that need to keep moving without the luxury of towels or blow dryers.
Beyond the physical aspect, there’s an emotional and psychological component. Dogs shake off after stressful or exciting encounters as a way of ‘shaking off’ the residual energy or tension. It’s akin to a reset button, allowing them to transition back to a balanced state after a heightened experience, be it a playful romp at the dog park or a nerve-wracking visit to the vet.
Furthermore, a dog’s shake off is a part of their elaborate body language. Canines communicate extensively through physical cues. A shake off can sometimes serve as a peace signal to other dogs, indicating the end of a play session or diffusing a tense situation.
6 Common Reasons Why Dogs Shake Off
1. The Shake Off After Any Nap
Why do dogs shake off when they wake up? This is similar to a cup of coffee for us. They will shake off and they will stretch the whole body. In simple terms, they are doing this to wake up. Let’s take a look at you when you wake up. You will stretch, have a cup of coffee and do similar things. Dogs will do certain things to shake their muscles and prepare for moving around. It is as simple as that.
2. After Hard Exercise
This is another reason which is extremely common and affects most dogs. Dogs who play for hours or who have demanding and complicated training will shake off once they are done. They do this because they have excess energy they want to remove and they want to ‘’reboot’’ themselves. Dogs also do this in order to shake the muscles. In most cases, you can see a dog who was playing for a long time and once you put a leash on him he will shake off. He is doing this due to the reason we have just explained.
You may have seen a dog who will shake off when you come home. They can smell and hear you before you come home. The shake off is a simple thing they will do in order to remove the excess energy. Yes, they will get the energy when you come home and they will have to eliminate it in some way. This is one of the most common ways they use that.
3. To Remove Water From The Fur
You all know this. When a dog is wet he will shake off and you can see drops of water flying all around him. This is extremely common and we can say that all dogs do this. For some people, it looks unusual and like an inefficient thing to do. But, this is actually a very efficient method for removing water from the fur. One shaking can remove up to 70% of excess water. A dog will remove more water and he will be warmer at the same time. They can do this after a bath, when it rains, or when they are wet due to any other reason.
4. Your Pet Is Uncomfortable
An uncomfortable dog will shake off most of the time. He may be uncomfortable due to an ear problem. He may be uncomfortable when he has skin irritation or a skin problem. Shaking off is a method they use to remove the irritant and they want to feel better. In addition, a dog can shake off due to mental discomfort as well. This is actually more common than you may believe and it affects most dogs at some point.
Here it is important to look at the next behavior. A dog will touch, scratch, or interact with the affected spot. For instance, he may try to push his paw in the ear or he will share his head. He has some problem with the ear and he is trying to remove it. In this case scenario, you will have to take your pet to a vet. He can examine the pet and determine if there is some problem. If there is one, he will prescribe a proper treatment. Usually, these treatments are very successful and safe. They can help your dog within days and he will then shake off due to other reasons from the list.
5. Due To Stress
Here we have another reason which is common and also a bit more complicated than other ones on the list. A dog will shake off due to stress. This happens when he has encountered a large dog at a park, when he is scared or when he was sitting in one spot for a long period of time. A shake off will simply be used to remove the stress. It is commonly known as an adrenaline rush. You can tell when this reason is present by looking at the behavior. If a dog shakes off without any other reason from the list, this is why he is doing that.
Keep in mind that this behavior is similar to you when you take a deep breath. It is used to calm himself and start feeling better. Another thing we must add here is that dogs will do this due to negative or positive stress. There are countless examples of when dogs did this due to stress. Yes, you may want to do something about it. Find the cause of stress and eliminate it as soon as you can.
6. In Specific Social Situations
A dog will or better said he may shake off when he meets another dog or another person. He will shake off to remove the tension which can be from the muscles and the emotional tension as well. An example can be when two dogs are playing together roughly. Once they stop, they will shake off and stop playing. This is quite obvious and it is common among dogs who are meeting other dogs and playing with them all the time. The simplest explanation is they use shaking off to eliminate tension.
Managing and Responding to Your Dog’s Shaking
Responding to and managing your dog’s shaking involves understanding the underlying reasons and addressing them accordingly. It’s essential to differentiate between the natural, everyday shakes and those that might indicate an underlying issue.
Everyday Shake Offs
For the everyday shake-offs, especially after a bath or a romp outside, there’s little you need to do. Allow your dog the space to shake off water, dirt, or stress. It’s a natural behavior that requires no intervention unless you’re trying to keep your walls clean!
Monitoring for Patterns
Keep an eye on the frequency and context of your dog’s shaking. If the behavior becomes repetitive or obsessive, it could indicate stress, anxiety, or even a medical issue. In such cases, detailed observation or a vet visit becomes necessary.
Regularly check your dog’s coat and skin. If they’re shaking off often, they might be trying to dislodge something uncomfortable or may have a skin irritation. Always ensure that they are free of ticks, fleas, or debris that could cause discomfort.
Addressing Stress and Anxiety
If the shaking follows stressful or exciting events, give your dog time to calm down. Engaging them in a short, calming activity or offering a safe, quiet space can often help reset their nervous system.
Consult the Vet
When the shaking is excessive or you notice additional symptoms like scratching, it’s advisable to visit the vet. There could be underlying issues such as allergies or infections that need professional attention.
Training and Socialization
Proper training and socialization can mitigate stress-induced shaking. Ensuring that your dog is well-acquainted with various environments and situations can lessen anxiety and the need to shake off excess energy.
The Final Word
In unraveling the mystery of Why Do Dogs Shake Off Sometimes? We discover a nuanced behavior rooted in both the physiological and psychological aspects of a dog’s life. Shaking off is not just a quirky, endearing habit but a complex reaction that serves various functional purposes, from the simple need to dry off to the more intricate realms of emotional and physical well-being. As pet owners, appreciating, understanding, and responding aptly to this behavior ensures our furry companions not only feel comfortable but are also healthily equipped to engage with their surroundings.
Every shake is a narrative of their ongoing interactions with the world, each quiver and rattle a language articulating their needs, reactions, and expressions. Being attentive to these subtle yet profound communications is our gateway to nurturing a harmonious, understanding, and loving relationship with our dogs.