Throughout Family Guy, Brian is shown to be a personified and intelligent dog who has accomplished things such as writing a book and a play. However his is still at heart a dog. And dogs do things that humans don't.

Brian has been shown repeatedly on the show to have dog instincts:

  • chasing the mailman/squirrel
  • hating being in a car with the windows up
  • occasionally finding/burying balls

This question was inspired by the second point when Brian is stuck in the car and the windows are closed. He then frantically tries to get out and says

I can't get out! Someone help me! I'm going to pee in here!

which suggests he is acting like an ordinary dog. It seems as though this only happens when the situation is humorous.

So why is Brian both dog and human? Surely he is smart enough to control the dog instincts. So why is he unable to stop himself doing things like this? Has Seth MacFarlane ever explained this?

  • He also owns and drives a Prius, which no one seems to comment about except to make fun of the Prius.
    – MarkTO
    Dec 18 '18 at 20:16

Because he is a dog. That's the point of the character and we are shown it for the rule of funny many many times. Brian is unlike most dogs this way but he is still a dog. He knows this and it causes problems for him. From http://familyguy.wikia.com/wiki/Brian_Griffin

Brian seems somewhat ashamed of his dog instincts and insecure about his canine status in general. In "Brian: Portrait of a Dog", he refused to perform degrading pet tricks for Peter during a dog show, despite it being necessary to win the money needed to buy the family a new air conditioner. He also chastised Lady and the Tramp for acting in typical dog-like behavior, saying that "that's just what they want you to do." He suffers mistreatment as a dog, and is humiliated when the Griffins catch him with canine pornography.

There is also the episode where he is arrested for drinking from a human water fountain. Not only does he act like a dog at times, many people in the show see him as just a dog. So it's done to create conflict and character growth.

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