Counter metrics submitted are normalized by default at a per second rate. Rates make sense for certain types of metrics, like number of queries, that suggest a value that is constantly changing over time:
If you prefer to view the metric as a total count per time frame, you can append the .as_count() function to the query. Counts allow you to quickly see how many of a particular event happened in a short amount of time. Counts can also be a preferable visualization when there are gaps between occurrences of events:
To read more about counts and rates, check out this blog post on the topic.
Note: these functions are only available for StatsD metrics. Due to more complex and varying metadata information Datadog Agent counters metrics cannot use the as_count/ as_rate functions at the moment.