3 min read

Q: Why Do Puppies Do Handstands While They're Eating?

A: A combination of big heads and gravity.

Some puppies just lose control when they get excited, in a very literal way. There are a number of videos across the web showing tiny dogs enthralled by a bowl of food, chomping away happily (and distractedly) until they suddenly find themselves upside down. Certainly these puppies aren't doing gymnastics on purpose -- but what's causing them to do these seemingly accidental handstands?

According to Stephen Zawistowski, an animal behaviorist and science advisor at the ASPCA, the inadvertent puppy handstand results from a combination of physical factors, which might be triggered by an on-the-ground distraction. "Puppies tend to have large heads in comparison to the rest of their bodies -- this is one of the reasons that we find them cute," Zawistowski said. "As puppies lean forward into a food bowl on their front legs, for example, it is like a teeter totter and the hind legs may come off the floor." This is especially true if the puppy is focused on eating; he or she just won't notice the inevitable pull of gravity.

"Puppies may also contract or tense the muscles along their back," Zawistowski went on. "This would pull their hind quarters forward, and off the ground. Either way, the handstand motion is unlikely to be intentional. It's primarily due to the unique anatomy of puppies." So, no matter which way you cut it, the motion really isn't a cute trick -- it's an adorable accident.

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