Have you ever been around your dog and wondered what she is thinking or feeling? Surely you have caught your canine doing something bizarre that has made you question his mental status. Even the position that your dog sleeps in means something. Here are 50 of the most common dog behaviors explained in human terms.
1) Puppy dog eyes
One of the most adorable things your dog does is give you those big puppy dog eyes. Though most people melt and reward this cuteness with a treat, this is your dog’s way of saying he loves and trusts you. (I’m sure he will appreciate the tasty morsel too!)
2) Awaiting your approval
If you find Fido looking at you before he is about to do something, this means he respects and desires your opinion. He understands you are in charge and does not like to upset you.
3) Squinting or blinking of the eyes
This means your pet wants attention and is ready to spend quality time with you. If you notice this behavior, check yourself. Have you been too busy to show her some love today? If so, make some time. It’s good for both of you!
You will notice even low maintenance dogs have a need for your attention. Here again, intense staring is not her way of being creepy. She just wants your affection.
5) Tongue out studying you
If you caught the opposite sex doing this to you, you might call the police. When a dog does this, it’s a sign they are relaxed, happy and mellow. This is usually their expression after getting the attention they crave!
6) Intense Eye Contact
Who doesn’t want to be the focus of a loved one’s attention? If you have a dog and he is making intense eye contact with you, he is focused on you and you alone. He is very alert to your expressions and what you want from him.
7) Open mouth with relaxed tail but high ears
If you catch your dog like this, it means she is neutral, relaxed and secure in her surroundings. If you are wondering when the best time to approach a strange dog is, it is when they are doing these things.
8) Straight pointed tail and forward ears
In this situation, your best friend is curious about something within his environment. Maybe he hears a new noise or smells something interesting. Either way, he is ready to play detective.
9) Loose floppy tongue
If her tongue is hanging out, she is feeling chill. This is a sign nothing is wrong in her world and everything is O.K.
10) Baring teeth, ears back and snarling
This one is obvious; however, it never hurts to remind people what an angry, aggressive dog looks like. If you encounter this, your dog is feeling threatened and giving warning to the enemy. Do not approach a dog in this state. Even if he is angry at something else, you run the risk of being bitten.
11) Rising bark
It’s play time! If your dog starts with a low bark and it gets higher toward the end, he cannot contain his excitement and he wants to play a game with you!
Have you ever noticed dogs howl at the most annoying times? Usually when a dog hears a high-pitched sound, like a siren or train whistle, they howl back. It is unclear if this is because they are annoyed, or it is causing their ears discomfort.
13) Low growl
If a dog is doing a low growl, she’s anxious and fearful. Any scared animal is unpredictable. Do not surprise her when her nerves are getting the best of her.
14) Crazy Legs/Dead Bug
If your dog is sleeping with all his limbs sticking up in the air (resembling a dead bug) he is submissive and vulnerable. Not all dogs sleep like this, but if yours does he is a laid back independent pup that feels secure in his surroundings.
15) Side Sleepers
Dogs don’t usually sleep on their sides for long, but it is a typical napping position for them. Dogs who do this often have strong familial bonds and a lot of trust in their “pack.” She is probably a carefree happy dog.
When a dog is sprawled out and laying on his belly, he is probably an energetic animal that has finally crashed. Most often puppies sleep like this, it allows them to pop back up and resume play time when they awake!
17) Passed Out
When a dog is passed out completely, laying on her back with her limbs drooping across her body, there is a good chance she is overheating. This is the best way for her to lay to cool off. If both paws are draped across her chest, she is saying “leave me alone.” Dogs need their beauty sleep too!
18) Belly curl
A dog sleeping on his belly with his paws either underneath him or out to his sides is not getting good quality sleep. In this position dogs can’t reach REM sleep because their muscles cannot fully relax. Gentle, shy dogs usually sleep like this.
19) The Fox
When a dog’s paws are underneath her and her tail is wrapped around to her face, she is probably cold. This position allows her to keep as much heat in as possible. If you were to visit a wolf den (not recommended!) you would see them sleeping like this. If the dog is not cold, she could be apprehensive.
20) Back to back
It’s so cute when you see two dogs sleeping back to back! It’s even sweeter when they sleep back to back with their owners! A dog will only do this with one of his “pack” members that he 100% trusts.
21) Wave your paws in the air like you just don’t care
If your dog is either standing or sitting and has both paws raised, she cares! She is probably trying her best to concentrate.
22) Giving gifts
If your dog brings you a gift, whether it’s a dead animal or your shoe, they are trying to make you happy. If your reaction is “ew” but you smile, I doubt he will be offended.
23) Post Dinner Cuddles
When a dog wants to snuggle up after a big meal, she is very comfortable with you.
Some people allow their pet to lick their faces while others get grossed out if they even lick their hands. Either way, when a dog licks you he is being submissive. He is easing some of his stress and showing you love.
25) Going crazy when you get home
“Finally, you’re here! I missed you all day!” If he could talk this is what he’d be saying or shouting rather. The wilder they get when you walk through the door the more excited to see you they are.
26) Helping himself to you bed
Ever come home to find your dog laying in your empty bed? This is a sign she wants to feel close to you when you were not there. Your bed has your scent, and well, it is rather comfortable.
27) Leaning on you
Leaning against you is a cry for attention. He is probably feeling neglected and wants some extra love.
28) Head tilt
This must be the cutest thing any dog can do. Dogs do not know how cute they are being when they do this, they are trying to hear better. When they tilt their head, they are adjusting their outer ear, so they can better focus on where a noise is coming from. She is being curious!
29) Butt Sniffing
We are going from the cute head tilt to the disgusting butt sniff. Why do they do this? A dog sniffing a butt is the equivalent of a human shaking a hand. They are saying, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” They are also trying to get to know the other dog or person they are sniffing.
30) Chasing their tail
You may laugh at your pup for chasing something he will likely not catch. More so, if he does catch it, it is going to be painful! Puppies do this because they do not realize the thing they are chasing is already theirs. Other dogs do this when they are in a confined space or feeling bored. Check you dog for fleas or have his anal glands checked if he does this regularly, it could be a sign of a problem.
31) Post Bath Energy
If your dog starts running around like a wild animal after she gets a bath, she probably hates being wet and is trying to dry off. She also may be relieved it’s over!
32) Staying right by your side
Most of us find this dog habit annoying and an invasion of your personal space. You must remember your four-legged family member is innately a pack animal, and desires to be close to his “pack.” That’s you!
33) Couch Trashing
If you ever come home to a couch that has been completely ransacked, your pup has separation anxiety. Most dogs get over this eventually, but in the meantime, take the time to walk him and get some of his energy out before you leave him alone.
34) Low front, mouth wide open and wagging tail
If this happens when you two are playing, it means he is truly having fun and enjoying himself. He is bowing to you as a thank you!
35) Rocking Horse
Likewise, when your dog makes like a rocking horse and moves from front to back, she is enjoying the current activity and wants it to continue.
36) Showing empathy
Your dog knows when you are upset, and he most likely wants to comfort you. They have their own ways of doing so, but if you are upset and he is sitting near you watching you, licking you or resting his head on you he is letting you know he is there for you. Dogs can read our body language and they don’t like it when we are upset!
37) Eating grass
Every dog owner has wondered why dogs do this and if it is normal. The good news is, it is normal. The bad news is they are lacking a specific nutrient in their diet, trying to improve their digestion or maybe trying to treat intestinal worms (worst case scenario). If it is a hot day, they may just be dehydrated.
38) Eating feces
This one is very repulsive, but don’t worry he will survive! Dogs do this to keep their “territory” clean. They may eat their own, or other dog’s feces because they don’t want to poop where they eat. Mother dogs eat their puppies poo to keep them clean. Just because they won’t get sick does not mean you must let them do this!
39) Butt scoot
This one is funny until they are doing it on the carpet! If you see your dog dragging his behind across the ground, he may just have a dirty butt he is trying to clean. This could be an indication of worms or an anal gland problem so keep an eye on him.
40) Hanging out a car window
This one is very common. She is taking in her surroundings and enjoying the plethora of new scents.
Another cringe worthy dog habit: humping someone or something. Take comfort knowing there is nothing sexual about it, dogs do this to show dominance.
42) Taking over your bed
When your dog joins you and your significant other in bed and tries to take up all the space, he trying to feel like part of the pack. I promise he is not trying to be annoying intentionally!
43) Sits on your feet
By sitting on your feet, she is essentially marking her territory. She may be acting out of insecurity and trying to reinforce that you are there for her.
44) Hunched Over
This is a common behavior of a previously abused or attacked dog. By hunching over he is making himself small and unnoticeable. Make sure you are patient and gentle with him.
45) Fast wagging tail
She needs to be comforted if her tail is wagging super quickly with a short range of motion. She is feeling anxious and slight discomfort.
46) Fast tail wide range of motion
On the flip side, if her tail is going crazy but has a farther range of motion she probably wants to exercise and has lots of energy to burn!
This is a sign of boredom. Save your yard by making sure your dog gets daily exercise in the forms of fetch or walks!
48) Forward Ears
If a dog’s ears are pointed forward, she is focused on something right in front of her. She could be feeling a range of emotions; curiosity, fear, excitement or something else entirely.
49) Raising a single paw
Sometimes when a pooch sees something the interests him, he will raise a paw. He may also be hungry or in the mood to play.
Dogs yawn for the same reason people do. She may be bored, tired or she may have “caught” the yawn from you.
We will never 100% know what our furry friends are thinking, but hopefully, now you are a bit closer to understanding the subtle and not so subtle clues they give you.