Decoding Your Dog



You and your pup speak two separate languages, and sometimes it is difficult to understand their behavior. Somehow we all make it work, and love our pets despite not being able to have a conversation about our day job. Perhaps that makes the relationship extra special, but it is still helpful to learn how to decode your dog. Behavior is very rarely random, and even the little barks and movements mean something. We want to provide a guide to your dog’s behavior so that you can further understand what your companion is trying to communicate to you.


A dog’s body language can tell you all that you need to know about your pet, including how they tell you they love you or if they need something. Overall, dog owners should try to pay as much attention as possible to their dog’s posture and facial expressions. This allows you to understand your pup’s intentions and desires. Be sure to pay attention to the sounds they make as well, such as barking, growling, crying, and howling. By paying attention to these key behaviors, you will be able to apply some of the tips below to your daily life.


Tail Wagging: Unfortunately, a wagging tail is only seen as joyful excitement by many dog owners. It actually means that your pup is emotionally aroused, which includes excitement, frustration, or anger. When your dog starts wagging their tail, be cautious in your specific setting.


Raised Hackles: If the hairs on the back of your dog’s back are standing up, it means that your dog is emotionally aroused. Similarly to tail wagging, their emotions are not necessarily positive or negative.


Play Bow: When your dog has their front paws close to the ground, and their behind is hunched upwards, they are likely initiating play. They mean absolutely no harm, and simply want to play. If it is not the time and place to play, then simply say no and this should halt their playful emotions.


Yawning: Unlike humans, yawning does not always mean that a pup is tired. It actually means that they are stressed and are consciously trying to calm themselves. Take a moment to soothe your pup if you notice this behavior.


Eye Contact: With more extreme situations and emotions, eye contact is significant. Long eye contact can symbolize aggression and anger, while no eye contact can mean your pup is upset and stressed. When they look away, they are not always ignoring you, but are actually trying to calm the situation. Eye contact can also mean that your dog loves and trusts you.


Leaning: When truly bonded, many dogs will continuously follow around their owner and lean up against them. It is important to train for independence, in order for your pup to not develop separation anxiety. However, it is also a sign of love when your pup leans up against you or puts their head on your lap.

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