Question for you: Why does my dog…

I have a challenge open to anyone; to give me an answer which explains exactly why my latest rescue Bull Terrier Tallulah seeks out dock leaves and cries while she eats them. The seeking out I can partially explain via zoopharmacognosy or just plain ‘she likes them’ but the crying has me stumped.

Tallulah does cry a fair bit. She cries to be let out for a toilet break, she cries when she espies someone walking along our road or when she is feeling playful/hormonal/attention seeking. But to cry while eating a plant which has no obvious sharp edges, spines, nodules, venomous qualities.

Having scoured all my literature and sifted through my large pile of research papers and even dared Google to find me the answer I have to admit to drawing a blank. Maybe she is “special”. Like me. I’m “special” too. Crying is obviously part of the canine communication repertoire and while it has no dramatic effect on my relationship with her nor does it impact on her life in general (although she will drag me toward the plants’ location should we happen to go that way on a walk) I’m still interested to learn WHY she does it.

So feel free to inform me I’m interested to hear everyone’s thoughts!

  1. #1 by Ashley on November 24, 2011 - 6:36 pm

    The only thing I can think of is that maybe it’s triggered by the flush of hormones/neurotransmitters resulting from stimulation (possibly over stimulation)? Why she would be overstimulated by leaves, who knows, lol. But perhaps she simply REALLY likes them? 🙂

  2. #2 by Katie Scott-Dyer on November 24, 2011 - 8:13 pm

    I’ll try and video it, she literally pulls me toward them and I have to coax her away in order to continue walking so yes she definitely likes these leaves!

    Thanks for your answer, kind of you to take the time 🙂

  3. #3 by Shannon on December 1, 2011 - 6:01 pm

    I agree with Ashley – it sounds like she really, really likes them. A former dog of mine, a GSD, would get a very concerned look on his face and whine whenever he had something he considered a very special treat. My current dog (mixed breed) also whines when I give her a particularly yummy treat. When she’s done eating it, she comes over and whines AT me. So my guess is she’s expressing a bit of canine euphoria. 🙂

    • #4 by Katie Scott-Dyer on December 1, 2011 - 8:58 pm

      Thanks for your answer Shannon, I like the term ‘canine euphoria’!

  4. #5 by PC on December 2, 2011 - 11:37 pm

    One of my dog’s, Starlee, occasionally cries while she’s gnawing on a chew rope. Chewing those ropes is one of her favorite things to do. My theory is that you can’t bark while you’re chewing, so crying is the replacement behavior for an excited bark when your mouth is full (?) Just a guess …

    (You can see Starlee on YouTube at )

    • #6 by Katie Scott-Dyer on December 4, 2011 - 11:40 am

      Thanks for your comment and i like Starlee’s video too 🙂

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