Dog behaviors: a little guide to help you understand your dog!

No matter how much we love our pups, it can sometimes be difficult to understand how they are feeling or why they do certain things. If you have always wondered what some of your pet's behaviours meant, here is finally your answer. Learn it all in this short guide to better understand your dog's actions.

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Most dog owners would like to be able to communicate with their pet as if they were communicating with their loved ones. Although we can detect a handful of emotions through the behaviour of dogs, what our pets really think is still largely a mystery to us. There are, however, some dog behaviours that can help us better understand what our furry friends are really trying to tell us.

From the cutest things, such as cuddling you at night or napping on your bed, to some more unwanted behaviours, such as jumping on you when you get home or munching on the furniture, and even the ones you never suspected to mean anything, such as pulling their tongue out or going around in circles before lying down, these actions are communicating information. Here is a guide to better understand what your pet thinks.

1. Your dog looks at you with cute eyes

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Most people assume that when a dog gives you a touching look, it’s because he begs you or tries to be cute so you can give him attention (or a delicious treat). However, the reality is that he shows you love and affection. When your pet looks at you innocently, it means that he loves you. It is essentially he who gives you a hug or a kiss through his eyes. So if you catch your dog looking at you like that, it’s because you’re doing something good for him.

2. Your dog has a high opinion of you if he sleeps in your bed

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If your four-legged friend prefers to sleep with you rather than on the floor or even in his own bed, it means that you are the number one person in his life. He wants to spend as much time as possible with you, even at bedtime!

3. Getting jumped on is a sign of affection

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Being jumped on by your dog when you walk through the front door is not always the most pleasant experience. Sometimes our animal can scratch us unintentionally or even hit us. However, let your dog just express his joy at seeing you. The act of jumping on you is like a human jumping for joy. Your dog wants to show you how much he missed you.

4. Your dog may not want to play ball

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If a dog carries a ball or toy in his mouth, it does not necessarily mean that he wants to play ball. In fact, it can sometimes mean exactly the opposite. Dogs often bring toys to the people they love so you can play with them too. They want to show it to you and let you enjoy it too, so instinctively throw away everything your dog brings you could hurt them.

5. If your dog stares at you before you leave home…

Leaving your dog at home can be difficult to do because it makes him sad. Some dogs sit and look at you calmly as you walk through the door, which can make you feel guilty. However, their calm proves that even if they are sad that you are leaving, they are assured that you will return. If your dog is particularly calm when you leave him, it is because he trusts you and will wait patiently for your return.

6. Understanding eye movements

When it comes to the mood of dogs, it is very similar to that of humans. You can say so many things just by looking at their eyes. If they are sad or tired, the dogs will look down. If they are excited, their eyes will be wide open and they will look everywhere around them. If they want something, they can look at you and raise their eyebrows as if they were asking you a question. You will learn a lot about your dog’s needs by looking at his eyes.

7. If your dog is leaning on you, he hugs you

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Have you ever noticed that your dog leans on you every time you hang around? It may not even be very visible, but we bet your dog has put his body weight against you more than once. This does not mean that they are lazy and cannot manage on their own, in fact, it is a way to connect physically with you.

8. Your dog hugs you after eating

psychologies.com

Does your dog like to come and cuddle after eating? Just like sleeping in your bed, it’s another sign that you’re one of his favourite people. After a meal, your dog may want to take a nap and he wants to do so in your comforting presence.

9. When your dog puts a paw in the air, he tries to find something

Chien.com

Has your dog ever walked around and stopped suddenly by lifting a paw in the air? While this may seem unusual, it is quite natural. This means that he is trying to find a solution to some problem.

10. Yawning can mean that your dog is uncomfortable

The Huffington Post

Although a dog can feel very comfortable yawning around a person, constant yawning in public (or when a dog is not as comfortable) can mean something completely different.  When he yawns in public, it does not necessarily mean that he wants to sleep, it is a sign that your dog may be uncomfortable or anxious. So keep an eye out, and if your dog does this in an unknown place, it’s probably because he’s uncomfortable.

11. The reason your pet wants to lie on your feet is adorable

If you have a dog, it is not uncommon to see it lying on your feet, whether you are sitting on the couch or at the table. Some people may find this annoying at times while others may think it is adorable. However, know that your dog does this to feel as close to you as possible and also as a sign of protection. In addition, the second he feels you are getting up, he will gladly get up to allow you to move.

12. Your dog pulls out his tongue to apologize

Wamiz

When your dog knows he has done something wrong, he tends to stick his tongue out of his mouth as a sign of apology.

13. Why your dog chews the furniture

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If your dog is constantly chewing furniture, whether he is a puppy or not, it means he doesn’t get enough exercise and doesn’t know how to spend his energy otherwise. Walking it may not solve all your problems, but it is a step in the right direction.

It’s usually quite clear when your dog doesn’t exercise enough, and it’s one of the biggest signs. So, if you are tired of your dog destroying your furniture, helping him to be more active should become a priority.

14. Your dog leans his head to the side

Wamiz

Many people have a different tone of voice when they talk to their dogs. When you talk to your dog with your “dog voice”, sometimes your pet will lean his head to the side as if he is trying to listen to what you are saying.

15. What does it mean when your dog screams outside

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Although some people may find a dog howling particularly annoying, be aware that dogs do not do this just to irritate you. Just as humans feel good when they scream or cry, dogs feel the same when they scream. It is a kind of liberation that helps them to get rid of all internal feelings. While most people assume that dogs howl like wolves to assert their domination, they really do it because it feels good to do it!

16. Why your dog goes around in circles before lying down

BBC.com

This is particularly interesting. Have you ever noticed that dogs sometimes go around in circles before lying down? It’s a habit they may have inherited from their ancestors the wolves. Wolves do this before lying down to flatten leaves or debris that could make their resting place uncomfortable. Although it is unlikely that there will be much debris around your dog’s bed or on the kitchen floor, it is an interesting habit to watch.

17. Pant helps your dog to calm down

Medical News Today

If your dog is constantly panting, it means that he is overheating. Gasping is a way for dogs to cool down because they don’t sweat as we humans do. So, if a dog panting aggressively, he tries to regulate his temperature and probably needs a little water to help him too. If the dog is not hot, he can try to relieve pain or stress. Although most dogs pant regularly, it is important to continue panting depending on the situation.

18. Barking can mean different things

Australian Dog Lover

A dog’s barking can mean a lot depending on the situation, how he barks and to whom the barking is addressed. If a dog barks particularly loudly and quickly, it may show aggressiveness or may feel dangerous and try to warn you.

If a dog makes short, soft barks, it may mean that he wants to play and is excited. However, if you hear a dog barking loudly, it most likely means that it is suffering.

19. Your dog shows his teeth

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Unfortunately, not all dog behaviour means that they are happy and want to be friendly. When a dog folds its snout to show its teeth, it is most likely a sign of aggression. If he starts to growl, you should take this as a warning to stop what you are doing in his presence or to get away from the situation. Such gestures mean that the dog is ready to attack at any time.

20. Yawning does not only mean that your dog is tired

Assur O’Poil

Although yawning may seem like a natural sign of fatigue, it is a little different for dogs. Although we see that