Different Ways Dogs Communicate With You
Few things in life are more universally loved than dogs. However, as any dog owner can attest, try as we might, communicating with our furry friends isn't always the easiest. While your special bond lets you understand each other to a certain degree, sometimes you wish you could just talk to one another. The goods news is that dogs have their own special ways of communicating with us. Understanding them can even improve your relationship with your furry friend.
Creating a Feather Bed From Furniture
If you've ever come home and realized that your dog has taken it upon himself to rip up the couch cushions or other items like toilet paper rolls, you're certainly not alone. It's a pet owner's worst nightmare but one of the most common things to happen.
Howling Like a Wolf
When your dog breaks out into a howl, it's clear that he’s trying to communicate something. Unlike other forms of communication, this is one way dogs can express themselves verbally. But what is it exactly? It could mean a few different things.
Most of us assume when a dog comes up to us and begins licking, it's their way of giving "kisses." Although this isn’t entirely accurate, it is a form of communicating affection. Dogs lick humans to show submissiveness, which is good.
Dragging Their Bottoms Across the Ground
Have you ever noticed your dog dragging his behind across the floor? At first, this can be alarming because you worry about what it might do to the cleanliness of your carpets. In some cases, it can also be slightly entertaining due to the sheer silliness of how it looks.
Tilting Their Heads
You'd be hard-pressed to come across someone who doesn’t find a dog's head tilts adorable. But dogs aren't trying to win any cuteness points when they do this (even if that is a byproduct). So why do they do it?
Chasing Their Tails
Second perhaps only to head tilting, tail chasing is one of the most adorable and entertaining things a dog can do. While we may find humor in this fool's errand the dog is on, dogs (most often puppies) do this when they've yet to learn that their sought-after prize is attached to them.
Grubbing on Grass
You're walking your dog or watching him play outside when you notice him snacking on some grass. No, your beloved canine isn’t switching to a plant-based diet. Rest assured that this is normal dog behavior and occasionally leads to vomiting. It may also indicate a lack of nutrients in your pet’s food.
You buy your dog bundles of chewy and squeaky toys, yet when you go outside, you notice that he opts to dig a hole in your freshly landscaped lawn. Again, this doesn't mean he's trying to get on your bad side.
Following You Around the House
They say dogs are man's best friend. But if that’s true, dogs can be extremely clingy friends at times. Although a dog following your every step can be annoying, it's also a behavior many homeowners find cute and endearing. But what does it mean?
Comforting You When You're Upset
One of the most heartwarming dog behaviors you can experience as a pet owner is when your dog seems to want to comfort you when something is wrong. While you may chalk it up to coincidence, it's usually not.
Giving You the Sad, Puppy-Dog Eyes
People, particularly children, are known for giving "puppy dog eyes" when they’re pleading for or seeking something. However, when your dog does it, it doesn't necessarily mean that he has the same end goal.
Sticking Their Heads Out Car Windows
If you've ever taken your dog on a car ride, you've probably witnessed him trying to stick his head out the window. Maybe you let him, or maybe you didn’t — some owners can get nervous about this, which is understandable.
Staring Directly at You
Dog staring can be a tricky subject because it can mean many things based on specific circumstances and factors. For example, in some scenarios, dogs staring at humans and other dogs can be a form of intimidation.
Lounging With Their Legs in the Air
When a dog falls asleep while lying on his back and has his paws and limbs sticking up, it's sometimes known as the "dead bug" position. If your dog does this a lot, it's a good sign. This means he's comfortable around you.
Curling Up Like a Fox
If dogs that lie on their backs are confident and secure, is a canine that curls up like a fox to sleep insecure and anxious? Not necessarily. While it could mean he’s a bit apprehensive, it's usually a way of keeping warm.
Talking With Their Tails
It's not news that one way dogs communicate is by using their tails. However, most of us assume that when a dog's tail is wagging at all, it means he’s happy and excited. Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily the case. Different tail movements can mean different things.
Repetitive Sneezing or Yawning
If your furry friend starts sneezing over and over, you might assume he's coming down with a bit of a cold. But as time goes on you notice that this seems to be a habit. Ditto for yawning. Even with plenty of sleep and no illness to speak of, these behaviors persist. So what gives?
Raising One of Their Paws
Remember in school when you had to raise your hand if you wanted to ask the teacher something? You can liken this to your dog raising one of his paws. In all seriousness, one of the ways dogs communicate that they need (or, more likely, want) something is by lifting one paw.
Bringing Random “Presents”
When your dog drops a toy at your feet, it's a clear indicator that he’s ready to play, right? But what about when he brings you other random things, like garbage, a stick from the yard or (in some unfortunate and mildly disturbing cases) a dead bird or rodent?
Resting or Leaning Their Bodies on People
A dog relaxing onto your leg or resting against you can sometimes be a bit irritating — especially if you're in the middle of trying to do something. However, you'll likely feel a lot less annoyed next time this happens when you learn what it really means.
Sniffing You (or Strangers)
As mentioned, dogs have a heightened sense of smell. And it makes sense that they sniff strangers and other dogs as a way of getting to know them. But what makes dogs choose the places they want to sniff?
Sleeping Back to Back
If you have more than one dog, you may have noticed them sleeping back to back. If you allow your single dog to sleep with you, you may also notice that his preferred sleeping position is with his back against yours. At first, this may be something you take offense to.
Freaking Out When You Walk Through the Door
It's nice to know you're missed when you leave the house for an extended period. But whether you were gone all day at work or were running a 10-minute errand, it doesn't matter to your dog: He still flips out the second you walk through the door as if he hasn't seen you in years.
Crashing on Your Bed While You're Away
Not all dog owners let their dogs sleep in or on their beds. Others are a bit more lenient. Either way, you might occasionally come home to find your dog lounging on your bed, even if he could have chosen the couch or his own dog bed. Why is this?
Squinting Their Eyes
Human beings squint their eyes for a number of reasons. They might be confused and trying to figure something out. Or they might be suspicious. They also might start squinting when they're tired. So what does it mean when our dogs do it?
Okay, this isn't the most pleasant one. But it's something a lot of dog owners deal with. If you've found your dog munching on some bathroom droppings, at least know that you're not alone. But what does it mean? Is your dog just being strange?
Hanging Their Tongues Out
When you spend a lot of time running around with your dog, you might notice him starting to pant with his tongue hanging out. This can be a clear indicator that he's saying he's thirsty or he might be simply out of breath.
Putting Their Ears Back and Growling
Most of us already know what this means. But if you're a new dog owner, or you encounter a dog and don't have one of your own, it serves as a helpful reminder. When dogs show their teeth and growl, especially when their ears are back, this is a sign of aggression.
Waiting for the Go-Ahead
Have you ever come home to find your dog in his crate? You know he's excited to see you, and the second you walk to the crate he'll get up and start wagging his tail furiously. At first, he sits there, perhaps with his ears back, and patiently waits for you to approach.
Some dog owners teach their dogs to roll over. This can be fun and playful. However, even when dogs aren't trained for this command, many still do it. You may find them rolling onto their backs as you approach them.