Do you know the real reason why your dog wants to show you its toy or why its tongue hangs out to the side? Check out the following common dog behaviors so that you can better understand your dog and become a better companion and caregiver for it.
When your dog gets up on his hind legs, it can have a number of meanings. One of these is a sign of affection. Like humans, sometimes they just want to hug you.
But, if they get up on their hind legs while interacting with other dogs it can be a sign that they’re feeling playful. If they aren’t growling or acting aggressively, then this is just their way of playing.
Chewing on the Furniture Doesn't Mean They're Hungry
Just like growing children, puppies will want to chew on toys and other objects in order to relieve the pain of growing teeth. But, if your pet is always chewing the furniture and they aren’t a puppy anymore, this could be a sign of something else. It can be a sign that they aren’t getting enough physical activity and need a way to get their energy out.
You can start by getting them out of the house for a walk. While this won’t solve everything, it’s a good starting point. You can usually tell when your dog isn’t getting enough exercise and this is one telltale sign.
Why Dogs Bark
Barking has several purposes and it depends on the situation, how the dog barks, and what's in their environment. If a dog is barking loud and frequently, it could indicate a degree of urgency. They may be sensing danger approaching and are trying to let you know.
If a dog is barking short and soft barks, they might want you to play with them. If a dog barks loudly then it could be a sign that they’re in pain.
Not Always Fetch Time
There are several theories as to why your dog sometimes brings you a toy. One of them says that they think of you as their alpha and they want to gain your respect. Another theory says that it’s your dog’s way of showing his trust in you, by bringing you its most prized possession.
It can also mean that are happy to see you. In this case, throwing the object away can hurt the dog's feelings. So the next time your dog brings you a toy, try holding on to it to see if it makes your dog happy.
Yawning Doesn’t Only Express Exhaustion
While humans yawn only when they feel tired or sometimes bored, it’s not the same way for dogs. One reason could be that they feel safe around you and trust you. In nature, animals yawn as a sign of submission. When your dog yawns 15 times, you can be sure that they’re very relaxed. But, yawning also may indicate anticipation or stress.
When your dog is waiting in the vet’s office, he may yawn repeatedly as a way to deal with nervousness. Dogs may also yawn before going on a walk, as a way to control their enthusiasm.
Wiggling Like a Caterpillar
If you think your dog looks happy when it gets into a good wiggle, kicking its legs up in the air while wiggling around on its back, well you're right! At least, most of the time.
Sometimes your dog might be excessively wiggling as if to reach an itch or another irritation. Or sometimes, this might be their way to get your attention. Why not stop what you're doing for a few minutes and give them attention?
Looking at You Before You Leave
One thing that makes owners particularly sad when they leave is the look on their dog’s face as they walk out.
Oftentimes, the dog will have a calm look on its face. Dog owners, don’t be mistaken, their calmness isn’t a sign of sadness. It shows that while they’re sad you’re leaving, they know you will be back. You have gained their trust and they are calm because they know they can count on you to return later on.
Why Your Dog Paces Back and Forth
If your dog paces back and forth, this can be for a number of reasons. Your dog may be bored, nervous, or excited. Like humans, they also pace around the room. If your dog is pacing around you in circles, it can be a sign that they want to play with you. They want to know whether you are open to playing.
When two dogs meet, it’s common that they will chase each other. This isn’t something threatening or something to fear, it’s just their way of playing.
Pointing Its Snout
When a dog freezes up and points its snout toward something specific, this is called pointing. They might also lift one of their front paws while doing this. Dogs bred for hunting do this often, but also every dog does it at times.
Veterinarian Dr. Ellen Vindell told Vet Street, “dogs are just dogs, and there are certain behaviors that probably any dog that’s a dog can do…. You’ll see a sporting dog who circles like a herding dog, and you’ll get some herding dogs who point.”
Yawning Can Be a Sign Of Discomfort
While yawning can be a sign that your dog feels comfortable, it can also express something completely different. If your dog is yawning a lot in public, it’s not a sign that they’re tired and ready for their afternoon nap. It can actually express that they feel uncomfortable and anxious.
If you’re in an unfamiliar place and you notice your dog doing this, stay aware of this so that you can be there to comfort your dog and give it some love.
Tilting Their Head to the Side
A lot of people speak to their dogs in a higher pitch. When you’re talking to your dog in your “doggie” voice they sometimes tilt their head to the side as if to understand what you’re saying. Dogs are very good at reading and responding to your body language and vocal cues.
They’re capable of recognizing different words so it’s possible that they are listening for words and inflections they associate with fun activities like a treat, walk, or outside. Some experts believe that dogs tilt their heads to the side in order to adjust their outer ears to better pinpoint the noise.
Sniffing the Air
Dogs use their noses for several purposes. In fact, dogs have 220 million olfactory receptors while humans have only 5 million. Dogs are dominated by their noses and can smell at least 1,000 times better than humans. When they are sniffing the air, it could be a sign that they sense danger approaching or that they’re trying to track prey.
During this, they will remain completely still. They stay absolutely silent so that their prey won’t see them. Dogs are able to smell the difference between individuals — both dogs and people. They can smell the difference between family members, even identical twins!
Flipping Their Tongues Up Means They're Sorry
When a dog feels like they’ve done something wrong, it’ll stick its tongue out and flip it up as a way of apologizing. They know that they did something wrong and are apologetic.
When they do this, they may also try and put on an innocent face because they know that their owners are suckers for their cute faces. They’ll do this even when they do something like peeing on the floor.
Unlike humans, dogs don’t only stretch after waking up from a nap or in order to stretch out their muscles. Rather, stretching can also symbolize affection and love for somebody.
When you come home and your dog is stretching, that doesn’t mean that they were sleeping. They are showing you that they’re excited to see you so give them some love and affection in return.
Exposing Their Belly Is a Sign of Respect
When a dog exposes its belly to you, it shows that it respects you and is being submissive. It might also be a sign that he wants to play with you. You can encourage them to continue this behavior by rubbing their belly.
If you do rub their belly, then they’ll want to continue this behavior as they’ve learned that you are going to give them a nice massage every time they do this. But, a dog can also roll on its back when they’re being attacked by another animal.
Tucking Their Tail
When your dog is in distress, it may tuck its tail between its legs. Dogs do this when they are feeling uncertain, nervous, scared, guilty, or ashamed. It's usually not a good sign.
If you observe your dog doing this, you should comfort it and make it feel safe. You can do this by using pets and a soft voice. Doggie treats can also do the trick.
Why a Dog Raises Its Paws
When your dog raises their paws, it can mean that they want something from you or they want to play. Mostly puppies and younger dogs exhibit this behavior.
When a puppy wants to eat, it will raise its paws to touch its mother. If your puppy does that to you, it can mean that they want some love and affection from you.
Their Tails Say as Much as Their Eyes
You probably know this by now, but when a dog wags its tail, it’s a sign of extreme happiness and excitement. But if they hang their tail down while wagging it, it can be a show of submissiveness.
It can also be a sign that they are confused, sad, or unwell. When they wag their tail high it can show that they’re ready to play and are very alert. Their tail says almost as much as their eyes do.
Dragging Its Bum
If you've seen your dog dragging its bum across the floor, you might think it looks pretty funny. But actually, this is a cause for concern. This behavior is known as scooting and is usually because your dog has an impacted anal sac that they are trying to release. Some breeds are impacted by this more than others.
It is very uncomfortable for the dog when it happens and you should get your dog to the vet ASAP so that they can drain the organ.
Why Your Dog Lays on Your Feet
Dogs love laying right on their owners’ feet whether you are sitting at dinner or watching television on the couch. This sweet sign shows your dog’s loyalty and desire to protect you. They want to be as close to you as possible. And if you try and get up, they won’t have a problem with letting you move.
This behavior is another one that has been passed down from their ancestors. Dogs love to sleep with their pack. If you are a good and trusting caregiver, then the dog will consider you as their family. They also consider you the leader of their pack.
Lean on Me
Does your dog ever lean on you when you’re hanging around? While you may not even notice that they are leaning some of their body weight against you, this is a sign that they’re hugging you. It’s not that they’re lazy and can’t stand up on their own but it’s their way of connecting with you.
Next time you notice your dog doing this, don’t nudge them off of you. This can be hurtful. Instead, you should allow them to express their affection for you.
Why They Tackle You to the Floor
Does your dog tackle you to the floor right when you walk through the door? This isn’t their way of annoying you or trying to get your attention. They are just so happy to see the person they love the most in the world.
They’ve been waiting around the house all day for you to get back from work and are so happy that you are finally home! Just like humans jump for joy or embrace each other with big hugs, dogs also jump for joy. Jumping in other situations may be a sign of something less joyous, like your dog trying to assert dominance over you.
Flicking Their Ears
When a dog flicks their ears, it means that they’re listening. This is actually what most animals do to listen. When they hear a sign which isn’t familiar to them and they’re trying to figure out what it is, this is how they react.
If you see your dog flicking their ears, let them figure out for a second what it is that they’re listening to. It’s also adorable for you to see your dog being so observant and inquisitive.
It’s a known fact that dogs, like most animals, lick themselves to clean their bodies. If your dog gets messy, there’s a good chance that it’ll lick itself clean.
But licking can also indicate pain. If a dog licks its legs and paws a lot, particularly near the joints (common in dogs with arthritis) you should check it out at the vet to make sure everything is okay.
Wrinkling Their Muzzle
Dogs have different ways of showing their varying moods. Of course, not all of them are positive. When a dog wrinkles their muzzle, it is most likely a sign of them being aggressive.
If they show their teeth and snarl, you should take this as a sign that you need to remove them from the situation they are in. These kinds of actions can mean that your dog is prepared to attack if they feel it’s necessary.
Have you ever been on a walk with your dog when they suddenly stop dead in their tracks and put their foot up in the air? While you may think that they stepped on something and hurt themselves, this behavior is completely normal. What they are doing is actually trying to figure something out that caught their attention.
It’s a sign that their brains are working. While lifting their paw they might also start to sniff like crazy. So, you can just chalk this behavior up to your dog being Inspector Gadget.
Straightening Their Tail
When a dog sticks their tail straight in the air, it can be a show of confidence or excitement. Some dogs do this when they meet other animals or dogs. If their tail stays erect and is a little shaky, it is a sign that they expect a challenge.
When a dog feels happy, content, and loved, its tail is usually more leveled with its body. But if their tail is low or between their legs, it could mean that they feel insecure.
The Cute Side Tongue Means Something
When a dog has his tongue hanging out of his mouth on one side, it’s a sign that he feels calm and happy. You may often see your dog like this after going for a walk or playing fetch. But, if your dog has his tongue to the side more often than not, it can be a reason to worry.
This condition may be the “hanging tongue syndrome.” This is usually the case with breeds with flattened noses like boxers or bulldogs. If your dog is like this, get them to the vet.
Why Do Dogs Dig up the Yard?
No, he’s not just evil and trying to ruin the new flower bed you’ve planted. Digging for dogs is an instinctual activity written deep in their DNA, especially in terrier breeds. Dogs usually dig in the yard to hide or uncover their valuables, like toys or bones. Feral dogs may dig holes to uncover prey under the ground in tunnel systems.
They also bury their dead young much like humans. If you want your dog to stop this behavior then you’ll want to properly train them. Otherwise, they’ll continue this innate behavior.
The Reason for Biting
Being bit by a dog isn’t a pleasant experience. But actually, a bite can indicate affection and that the pup wants to play. When dogs play together there’s often a lot of biting involved. There is nothing aggressive about this behavior.
A dog will bite a person as a way of communicating their current state of mind. The dog could be reacting in aggression, fear, or nervousness. There are, however, ways to prevent a dog bite from ever happening if you stay in tune with the dog’s body language.
If They Sleep With You, They Love You
Does your four-legged friend prefer to sleep with you instead of their dog bed? For dogs, this behavior is one that has been passed down from their ancestors who slept together for warmth and security. Your dog wants to feel close to you, protected, and warm. It also is a sign that your dog adores you and wants to be close to you at night.
Your dog can also make you feel more loved and protected while you are sleeping, thus positively impacting your sleep.
You probably don’t appreciate being slapped by another human — most likely, that person is upset with you. If your dog slaps you with his paw, this isn’t exactly a sign that he’s angry with you. Actually, it can be his way of trying to get your attention.
However, a dog slapping another dog is a different story entirely. It is a sign of trust, that the dog trusts the other. It’s basically how humans pat each other on the back, which is a friendly or congratulatory gesture.
After Meal Cuddles
Does your dog come to cuddle you after eating? Just like sleeping in your bed at night, this could be another sign of their love for you. After a meal, just like many humans, dogs want to take a good nap. And, they want to be near their favorite person when they do it.
Actually, this is an intense way for canines to express their adoration of their favorite human, you! Just a tip, if your dog tends to do this, watch what you feed them. You don’t want any gas passing while they’re cuddling up against you.
Why Your Dog Pants
No, panting doesn’t mean that your dog is out of breath or about to have a heart attack. Actually, this is the way that dogs cool off when they’re overheating. Because they aren’t able to sweat like humans, this is their own way of lowering their body temperature.
If you see your dog panting, it’s a good time to give them water. Another reason for panting may be that your dog is trying to alleviate pain or stress. Most dogs pant on the reg, but it’s important to monitor this and make sure they have all their needs met.
In some aspects, dogs are very similar to humans in how they relay their emotions. Much like humans, they show a lot of their emotions in their eyes. When they’re sad or tired, they look down at the ground. When they’re excited, they open their eyes wide open and look around excitedly.
When they want something, they’ll look at you and perhaps raise their eyebrows as if they’re asking you a question. For a lot of dogs, you can tell how they’re feeling by looking at their eyes rather than at their tail.
Why Your Puppy Bows
A dog bows for several reasons. The way that they bow is by lowering their heads and keeping their body erect. Most of the time, it is a sign that they want to play. They might add in swinging hips or start wagging their tails in a wild and excited manner.
This is the most common sign your dog will give you when they want to play. Dog trainers call this the “play bow.”
Walking in Circles Before Lying Down
Sometimes your dog may walk in circles before they lie down. If you’re wondering why they do this, it actually is a habit that perhaps their wolf ancestors passed down to them. Wolves do this before they lay down in order to flatten leaves or debris that have made their resting spot uncomfortable.
While your dog probably doesn’t have any debris lying around their dog bed or kitchen floor, they seem to have retained this habit and it’s quite funny to watch them do it.
The Meaning of Howling
Some people may try to quiet their dogs when they howl but there’s a reason for your dog doing this. This is a dog’s way of yelling. Just like yelling is a way for humans to release any angry feelings they have inside, dogs do the same thing by howling.
Owners assume that dogs howl in order to assert their dominance but in reality, they are doing so because it feels good for them to do it.
Hugging With Their Eyes
If your dog gives you puppy eyes, then this is a really good sign. Most dog owners think that puppy eyes are a sign that their dog is trying to get their attention by being cute. But actually, puppy eyes are a show of their affection for you and their way of hugging you.
This adorable look of innocence is a sign that they adore you and are looking for you to hug or kiss them. If your dog looks straight into your eyes and stares at you, you should be very happy because it shows that your dog is crazy about you!
While you may think your dog is trying to yodel, this may be your dog trying to communicate with you. In fact, many owners swear that their dogs can speak to them.
A writer for an animal journal comments about his dog's yowling: “Our German Shepherd rescue, the sweetest dog we have ever owned (unless you happen to be a cat), is 9. She ‘ talks ‘ about everything! Grumbles, over being denied a cat lunch, has 5-minute conversations over going out for a walk, exchanges pleasantries (you would swear) over how happy she is to see someone.”
It's extremely disgusting, but it's not that uncommon. When a dog starts eating its own or other dogs' feces (also called coprophagia), it usually comes down to one of two things; either it is a behavior that can be corrected through training, or it is a sign of malnutrition.
The best thing to do is to take your dog to the vet if it starts doing this too often. If your vet rules out any nutrient deficiency or medical reason, then it's time to go to a trainer to help your dog break the habit.
Chasing Their Tail
Tail-chasing, in most cases, is simply a sign of playfulness, but keep an eye out if your dog starts doing this excessively. It might mean there's a health or behavioral issue behind it; for example, if your dog chews at his tail when he catches it, then he might have skin allergies or anal glands that need to be emptied at the vet.
If your dog starts chasing its tail all the time and in an obsessive manner, it may be a sign of OCD. Yes, this affects animals, too. You're better off checking with your vet, just to be on the safe side.
When your pup licks you it's usually to say "I love you", or to seek out your attention. Also, you can taste pretty good; don't forget we have nutrients and minerals in our skin.
If the licking becomes too intense, training your dog to not do this can be done with basic training. The best way to go about this is to ignore your dog when it licks you and reward it with a treat when he stops. Oh and that myth about dogs' saliva being cleaner than humans'? Just a myth.
When Dogs Hump
Humping is a very common and natural behavior in dogs. And contrary to what most people may think, it is not always sexual in nature, or a dominance thing, for that matter. Dogs can hump other dogs, objects, or people, and it's usually a playful activity for them.
Unless the other dog is bothered by the humping, there's really no harm in them doing this. It's not really a problem unless it bothers the owner, and if the humping is with people, then you might want to break the habit for other people's sake.
Sniffing Other Dogs' Butts
You've surely heard the line, "Can you imagine if people greeted each other like that?", amongst your dog-owning friends when referring to dogs' butt-sniffing. Well, there's obviously a reason behind this; since a dog's sense of smell is at least 10,000 better than a human's, they use their nose to learn about the world around them.
Dogs learn about each other by sniffing each other's butts; they can learn about the other dog's gender, reproductive status, temperament, diet, and more.
Dog Squinting or Blinking
Surely, you've been emotionally manipulated or just brought to a puddle of "awww" from the cuteness of seeing your dog with that slight squint, looking straight at you. When your dog squints or blinks, it usually means he's looking to get your attention in order to spend some quality time with you.
If your dog starts doing this often, maybe you're spending too much time apart and you need to make some more time for your fluffy friend.
Open Mouth, Relaxed Tail, and High Ears
Many people wonder when is the best time to approach a dog. Well, when you see one with an open mouth, a relaxed tail, and ears pointing straight up, that's when.
When a dog is like this, it means they are in a neutral and relaxed state and they feel safe in the current environment. So if you want to get some cuddles in, this might be a good time!
Straight Tail and Ears Forward
You've probably seen your dog like this many times; with his tail straight and his ears pointing forward. Just like you would assume, the ears are forward because they're trying to get a better listen to what's going on.
This behavior means something's got your dog's attention; they're curious about something and are ready to go investigate. There is a new noise or smell in the environment that fascinates them.
Dead Dog Pose
The internet has been flooded bu cute and funny pictures of people's dogs in the 'dead bug' pose. You know, when your dog basically looks like a dead bug, with its limbs sticking up in the air. But unlike a dead bug, your dog probably has a relaxed face, almost with a content little smirk.
This is because when a dog is lying in this position, it means it is submissive and vulnerable and feels safe in its environment. Not all dogs can sleep like this, so when they do it usually means they are a bit more laid back and independent in character.
Sleeping on Their Side
Many dogs sleep on their sides when taking a nap, but they don't usually stay in this position for long, not for an entire night's sleep, at least. This is because lying on their side means that, in case of a sudden threat, it will take them longer to stand up and get in a defensive position.
So, if your dog sleeps like this or even naps like this, it most likely means they are a very happy and carefree dog, with complete trust in its 'pack'.
The 'Superman' Pose
This is one of the cutest poses a dog can be in; the superman pose. Surely your dog has sometimes come back from a long walk or a run or some very energetic playtime with other dog buddies and has completely crashed, lying on its belly, limbs sprawled out on the floor. This basically means that your dog has finally reached the point of exhaustion.
Puppies do this a lot since it makes it easier for them to quickly pop back up into a standing position and go back to playing for another 10 hours!
The 'Passed Out' Pose
As opposed to the 'dead bug' pose, there is also another position that looks like your dog is passed out. But unlike the dead bug position, which means your dog is comfortable and on cloud nine, this pose may mean your dog is overheating and is quickly trying to cool off.
So, how do you recognize this pose? If a dog's paws are swung across its chest, it's better to just leave them alone and let them get their rest! They'll find a way to cool off alone!
The Belly Curl
This pose might look adorably cute, but it actually means that your dog is not getting a good night's sleep when it lies like this. We call this "the belly curl".
The belly curl is when your dog sleeps on its belly with its paws underneath or out to the sides, and dogs can't reach REM sleep because their muscles aren't completely relaxed. Dogs with a more gentle and shy personality often sleep like this.
Curled Up Like a Fox
Another adorable position is when a dog completely curls up like a little fox. When your dog's paws are underneath its body and the tail is wrapped around, reaching its face, this usually means they're cold.
They assume this position because it helps them keep in as much body heat as possible. So if you see your dog sleeping like this at home, just throw a little blankie on them.
Dogs Sleeping Back to Back
We've domesticated dogs so much that we often forget where they came from, and the fact that they're 'pack' animals. We're reminded of this every time we see two dogs getting along or exhibiting 'pack' behaviors around each other. For example, when they sleep back to back.
Apart from being incredibly cute, this is something a dog will only do with another member of what they consider to be their 'pack', a dog they completely trust.
When Your Dog Brings You a Gift
Just like this adorable little french bulldog in the picture below, we're sure your dog has brought you shoes, gifts, and, in less desirable situations, a dead animal, once or twice at least. If your dog does this, take it as the utmost sign of respect and reverence - they're actually trying to make you happy by gifting you something! How cute is that?!
Now you know, next time your dog struts proudly into the room with a dead animal in its mouth, just try and hide the grossed-out face and smile. Unless, of course, it's the neighbor's cat.
The Post-Bath Boost of Energy
Some dogs actually enjoy getting a bath, but it's definitely the exception to the rule. Usually, dogs can't wait to get out of the bath! When your dog starts running like a mad animal after getting a bath, this obviously means they're not too fond of it.
Dogs will also do this because being wet is an uncomfortable sensation to them, and they just want to dry off as quickly as possible and get their 'smell' back.
When Your Dog Stays By Your Side
If you've ever owned a dog (or had kids), it's safe to say you know the term 'invasion of privacy' all too well. But just remember, whenever you get annoyed because your dog is invading your personal space, like following you to the toilet and just standing there, it just means they want to be close to you.
Dogs are pack animals, and pack animals like to stay close to their pack!
When Your Dog Shows Empathy
Whenever you see your dog showing empathy, it means exactly that: they feel empathetic. Dogs can sense when there are 'strange' feelings in the air, especially when those feelings are anger or sadness. And when your dog senses you're upset, they most likely will want to comfort you in any way they can.
If you're feeling down and your dog is next to you, looking at you, licking you, or just kindly resting his head or his paw on you, they are just simply letting you know that they are there for you.
Dogs Eating Grass
Eating grass is a pretty common behavior in dogs. Unfortunately, this usually means that their diet is lacking a specific nutrient, or they are simply trying to digest their food better (grass helps with this since it is basically fiber).
Also, it may be a sign of intestinal worms. Or, it may just mean it's hot outside and they're trying to stay hydrated by drinking any remaining water on the grass. In any case, if your dog starts doing this too often, it might be good to go for a vet check-up.
The Puppy Dog Eyes
When your dog is still a puppy, it's not much different than when your teenager is still a baby or toddler. The eyes say it all. Those great big puppy eyes manage to melt our hearts. What does that expression mean? Not much apparently.
Just like when your baby or toddler stares at you. When you leave the house in the morning, on most occasions, your dog will be calm. They know the routine. It is now time to leave, but they know that you will return.
Raising Their Paws
When your dog (usually a young puppy) raises its paw, don't ignore it. They are trying to ask for something. They either want to play or are just seeking your attention. If it's not the right time for you for doggy play, tell to your dog.
That fraction of attention can sometimes do the job (Amazing how these animals are like our kids). If an adult dog does this, it will usually place its paw on your lap, and this will mean he is hungry, or the water bowl is empty.
Dogs aren't known for the fragrance of roses trailing out of their mouth, however, if your dog's breath suddenly starts to smell worse than usual — do not ignore this. Bad breath can indicate a medical situation that must be treated. One of its internal organs (liver or kidneys) might need care.
Dog's breath could also smell sweet, which might indicate that there is a sugar level issue, such as diabetes. Anyway, if the breath of your dog doesn't stink in the usual way, it's time to visit the vet.
Have you ever seen your dog pressing its head against the wall? Have you ever seen your dog pushing a firm object? They are not goofing around and this needs your attention.
This behavior can indicate several conditions. It could be poisoning or a brain disease, and you must go see your vet as soon as possible. Timing is crucial here.
Just like humans, all pets (especially dogs) want to live in a clean environment, so when your dog starts to urinate in your home, something is wrong. There is no reason for a dog to purposely empty its bladder if everything is ok.
Urinating around the house can be a sign of a problem with kidney function and when concerning older dogs, could be a sign of another medical condition that needs to be looked at.
Closing or Opening Mouth Slightly
A dog's mouth is usually open, calm, and relaxed. This indicates that the dog is happy and satisfied. But what happens when your dog's mouth is only slightly opened, looks tense and the dog overall seems uncomfortable?
If you monitor your dog and find its mouth slightly open (or slightly closed), the dog is likely to be stressed, frightened, or in pain.
Unlike puppies, mature dogs don't just lick around. When dogs lick their lips, they usually do this to soothe or calm whoever is approaching them. If they feel threatened or have some sense of aggression, licking their lips will come into play.
Occasionally, when a dog feels frustrated or confused, licking may come in hand too, as this would show appeasement of gestures.
Growling (And Soft Growling)
Growling is usually what keeps us, humans, away from a dog. It frightens us and we feel threatened by it. A growling dog is a protective dog, therefor this justifies our behavior (and not only theirs). There is probably a reason for them to feel insecure.
A growling dog will usually become an aggressive dog and can be resulted in an attack. On the other hand, if your dog produces a soft growl, it could indicate, that it's in a playful mood.
Whining and Whining
If you're a parent of a baby or young child, you are familiar with the sound of whining. A whining dog is usually an uncomfortable dog, or, it's trying to show that it's in pain. But pay attention!
A whining dog can be just a dog seeking attention. So be careful with your observation. Just like kids. You have to identify when the whine is for real.
Ears Say It All
In a dog's world, the ears say it all. These next "ear rules" will help you understand what your dog is going through and assure they are treated accordingly. Ears forward and up are a happy and curious dog.
Maybe it wants to play or chase someone? Flat and close to the head ears indicate that the dog is scared or unsecured. Ears that are not flat on the head but are apart, the dog is probably sad or bothered by something.
What's Up With Genitals?
Dogs shouldn't like their genitals more than usual. What is usual? More than licking the rest of the body. Dogs lick the genitals to clean them, however, if you see your dog repeatedly hanging around down there, something is wrong.
A urinary tract infection is a condition that results in genital discharge. It can irritate and be the cause of the licking. This is possibly what your dog is suffering from.
A dog can crouch, and if it crouches, it means something. Now crouching can indicate several things, and it will probably need some close monitoring to figure out what is going on. It could mean your dog is nervous, insecure, frightened, or on its way to playing with another mate.
So, no matter what your dog is up to, and no matter what it's trying to say, when it crouches, it means something.
If you ever wondered why your dog chases cars, carry on reading. Apparently, it's in their instinct. It's something they are born with. This behavior can be very dangerous as it can lead to car accidents, the dog getting hurt, or even you — the dog owner — getting hit by a car.
Propper professional training is the only solution here. It's a common issue with dogs all over, and if this concerns you, we suggest having it treated.
Lack of Appetite
Most healthy dogs can go for as long as two days without eating, however, if you notice your dog has not been eating properly or has completely lost its appetite, there is room for concern. Many health conditions can cause a lack of appetite such as dental disease.
Vaccination could also lead to losing an appetite and when a dog travels, it can take a while before its eating habits are back to normal. If more than a day or two have gone by and your dog is still not eating as it should, consult with your vet.
In the wild, dogs (originating from the wolf family) guard and protect their food for a purpose of surviving. It's in their blood. And when a dog guards its food, it should be trained, especially if there are young children or babies around. Do this when your dog is still a puppy.
Teach them (with professional guidance) that the food does not have to be guided, especially when children approach. The last thing you want is your dog growling at your baby or child if they accidentally touch the dog's bowl.
Yes, your dog can itch but what happens when it's done compulsively? This behavior can be caused by several reasons.
It could be an allergy (check the fabric softener you used on the dog's blanket or sheet), mites, insect bites, skin infection, or a reaction to the recent dog shampoo you just bought.
So, it's not only your better half that keeps you up with his/her snoring but also your dog can be blessed with this irritating behavior. When a dog snores, it's not only its owners that are kept awake but also itself.
When a dog snores, it repeatedly wakes up during the night (nothing to worry about, as it doesn't have an office to go to in the morning). Dogs are not supposed to snore, and if this happens often and loudly, consult with your vet.
Wanting to Go Out Constantly
Naturally, dogs want to be outside all the time, however, they get used to living indoors and understand that they go out whenever they are taken out. If your dog (that is used to going out three times a day), suddenly asks to be taken out all the time, it's probably the time of the month (not for your dog, but for the neighbor's female dog).
When a female dog is in heat, your male dog will smell it for miles. Remember: regardless of other dogs and their time of the month, dogs want to be outside as much as possible, so whenever you can take them out.
When Its Head Is Out of the Car Window...
If you have enough room in your car for your dog, this one is for you. It's all got to do with their amazing scenes of smell. When traveling in the car, we feel the fresh breeze blowing in our hair, but our dogs sense the smell in the air, ten times stronger than when still.
When a dog sticks its head out of the window, they are literally in euphoria. Their Brain, which is packed with sensors, gets overstimulated and the pressured air, blowing straight at their face, envelopes them with great highs.
They Show You Their Belly
Have you ever wondered why dogs roll on their backs and show you their bellies? It's actually not normal instinctual behavior.
The dog's oldest ancestor, the wolf, would never show their belly because that's its most vulnerable spot. So, If your dog shows you its belly, it means they are super trusting and super confident with you. They are on their back, knowing that if any predator comes around, you will be there to protect them.
Instinct Comes First
People will try to teach their dogs many things. Tricks like sitting or staying, herding or fetching, and even expert tricks like opening a fridge. But good luck teaching a pug how to open a refrigerator. When you get a new dog, could you pay attention to its behavior?
Are they highly driven or lazy? Do they like to fetch or be chased? Every dog has a genetic instinct that inclines them towards certain behaviors, and if they are positive behaviors, then reward and encourage more of them.
What the Coat Depends On
When you get a dog, you want to pay close attention to what they're eating. Different breeds have different diets.
All of these require different amounts of fat, protein, and quantities so that your dog will eat healthily—the healthier the dog, the softer and more shiny the coat. So, If you want your dog to have a healthy coat, feed them well! It'll pay off.
If your little pup is next to you, try picking it up and tickling its paws. Chances are they are not going to like it and run away.
That's because the paws are one of the most sensitive spots on a dog's body. That's why it's essential to buy your dog both winter and summer socks to keep those sensitive little feet healthy and safe.
Going Through Changes
Just like humans, dogs go through a certain kind of puberty, and you may notice your dog's personality changing through the years.
For instance, a dog between the ages of 5 and 15 will start to slowly develop a much lower play drive than a puppy going on 4 years old. So if you see your dog getting grumpier with age, don't sweat it. They are just having growing pains.
Have you ever heard of the term "dog amusement park?" It's not what you think it is. A dog amusement park has a very simple definition.
It is basically when you take your dog on a walk and let them lead the way. This is especially fun for dogs who love using their sense of smell. For a dog, getting to walk around the block and choose every turn and where to stop, feels exactly like it does for you to ride a roller coaster.
Dogs are probably the most yoga-disciplined species on the planet. The average dog does the "downward-facing dog" yoga pose every time they get up from a nap or even just a rest. That's a lot of stretching!
Humans don't collectively stretch nearly as much. This begs the question, do dogs have a healthier lifestyle than humans? We think so! You definitely are not stretching downward dog every time you get up from the couch.
Suppose you happen to see your dog experience what looks to be seizures while it's sleeping. Please don't panic. It's actually a very good sign.
When a dog is shaking in their sleep, it actually means they are dreaming. And the happier your dog is, the more it dreams. So if you catch your dog running in its sleep. You did a good job today; it is probably dreaming about it.
Play Comes in Many Forms
If you are playing with your new dog for the first time, don't be disappointed if they don't exactly play like you'd expected they would. This is because different dogs have different play drives.
Pitbulls, for instance, are usually instinctually going to bring the ball right back to you after you threw it, while German Shepherds prefer that you run after them. So pay close attention to how your dog plays with you, and make sure to encourage what they like to do. That way, they'll have the most fun.
Anxiety Is Real
Yes, it's true. Dogs can suffer from anxiety. There are even dog medications that are very similar to human antidepressants. Dogs have highly developed senses across the board, so it's typical for your pup to find itself overwhelmed by all of them.
If you find that your dog has anxiety symptoms, pay attention and figure out where they are coming from; once you see the pattern make sure to disrupt it with love and treats.
When are dogs at their most confident? The answer is simple. Dogs are at their happiest when they are in a pack, like their great ancestors, the wolves.
This is because dogs have the primal instinct to travel, hunt, and communicate in packs. It gives them a very clear hierarchy, which in turn gives them confidence in knowing what their job is in the pack. Your dog's pack is you! Well, you and whoever shares a house with you.
Super Power Hearing
The average German Shepherd has hearing that is seven times stronger than that of a human. This means that they can hear decibels that our ears can't even pick up.
Dogs with hearing like this can save lives by hearing your heartbeat and recognizing heart attacks, seizures, panic attacks, and even earthquakes. So, if you have a German Shepherd, be sure they know you arrived home way before entering the driveway.
Open the Door
Many dogs can teach themselves tricks without you even having to wave a treat in their face. So what is the most common trick they learn? Well, apart from dogs that can't reach that high, most dogs teach themselves, learn from you, and familiarize themselves with how to open doors.
So don't be surprised after being gone a few hours if all the room doors are open and the trash seems like it has been rummaged.
Suppose you own a dog of a shepherd breed. Try taking them to a local goat or sheep farm, and see what happens. Chances are they will immediately make a beeline towards the herd, start running circles, and bark orders at them.
Even more so, when you call your pup back to your side, they will, on their own instinct, want to bring their new friends with them.
Big Dogs, Big Jobs
Many abusers sadly use huge dog breeds, such as the Caucasian Shepherd and the Tibetan Mastiff, as guard dogs in backyards, factories, and horse stables.
This is not at all what they are meant to do. These super-sized breeds are meant to patrol around big herds at a distance of miles from the herd, thus spreading their scent to deter predators from getting close and fighting bears and wolves if need be.
Many dog owners out there believe that putting a leash on their dogs is taking away their freedom and is not very nice to them. The truth is quite the contrary.
Dogs have the drive to work and they obey instinct that is deep in their psyche. The leash is a simple way for them to know that they have a home in their pack and that they are doing a good job.
Keep the Toilet Away From the Dining Table
A big part of puppy training is teaching your dog how to use the crate. The crate is a super effective method to teach your dog that one, they have their very own room in the house, and two, you can't poop in the house.
Start by closing your dog gently in the crate with their bed, food, and water inside. Keep them in there, be close, and take them for a walk after an hour. They will slowly learn that they only go to the bathroom when they are outside, and there will be no need for a crate anymore.
If you got your first puppy and notice that it does not have the healthiest bowl function, don't worry. This is a very normal part of being a puppy.
Between the ages of 0 to 1, dogs have very sensitive stomachs and actually require a high-fat diet to keep their poops happy. So, if you have a puppy, pay more attention to what type of food you are feeding it. It'll make a big difference for all involved.
Ready for the Hunt
Long ears to hunt, dear. There are a few hound breeds whose sole purpose is to tag along on days-long hunts to help find the game out there in the woods.
These breeds have long floppy ears that scoop dirt into their nose and can help them detect scents of animals many miles away. The best example is bloodhounds, which can track convicts miles out into the woods without even breaking a sweat.
Careful When You Jump
Jump training, although it may be tons of fun, is not recommended for dogs until they reach the age of 2 years old.
The reason is that their little joints are still very soft and not ready for the shock landings of these high jumps. So if you want your dog to live a long healthy life, wait a little longer before you make them jump for the stick.