Dogs can’t speak English, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be understood. In fact, much of the physical behavior that dogs exhibit doubles as communication if you know what to look for and what each behavior means. Let us explain some of the most common canine communications and you’ll see what we mean.
A lot of the time, people think that dogs dig in the yard or into things they shouldn’t get into just to get attention. While this might be true some of the time, dogs can dig for all kinds of reasons!
For instance, have you ever seen your dog digging at blankets or the couch indoors? This is oftentimes just a behavior indicating that the pup is trying to make a place more comfortable before he or she lies down.
Other times, dogs might dig because they have an instinct to hide something. This could be something they chewed on which they know they shouldn’t have touched or a bit of their food that they didn’t finish in their bowl; their instinct is telling them to hide their food from scavengers or other dogs.
Of course, dogs do love to dig into plants and the yard just for fun, or to chase after something they saw scurrying around. Overall, digging is a very normal behavior, and you should only stop it if your dog is causing damage or disruption to your yard or your things inside the house.
Summary: Digging can be playful, related to an instinct to hide something, or a behavior to make a spot more comfortable for resting.
Unlike humans, dogs get rid of excess heat by panting; this expresses the heat through their mouths. So when your dog pants, it’s entirely possible that he or she is just too hot and is trying to cool down.
However, a lesser-known reason for panting is pain. Some dogs pant as a sign of panic or anxiety, and they might be panting to release stress as well as body heat. If your pup is panting and the temperature inside or outside is cool enough that this is strange, you should examine your dog as soon as possible and make sure he or she doesn’t have any injuries.
Finally, dogs can also pant when they’re scared. Dogs oftentimes pant when fireworks go off; this is because they sense danger but don’t know what to do about it. Try to calm your dog down or comfort them and see if the panting eventually goes away.
Summary: Panting can be a way to cool down or a sign of anxiety and agitation, often when they don’t know the source of their fear.
Biting is always something we try to teach our dogs not to do; after all their teeth are quite sharp! However, many puppies bite out of instinct or habit, as they’re trying to learn to communicate. You’ll often see dogs bite or nip at each other since they communicate with their mouths very often. Puppies biting humans is just an extension of this basic form of dog-speak. It is, of course, important to teach puppies not to bite you as soon as possible.
Dogs can also bite when they’re scared or aggressive, too. A biting dog is always a sign that something is wrong, so you should approach your dog carefully and gently. It may be that your dog is afraid of something he or she doesn’t understand. If you have trouble with an aggressive dog that bites and lashes out for no reason, you might consider visiting a professional trainer or veterinary therapist.
Summary: Biting is a playful form of communication in puppies but might be a sign of greater fear or anxiety. Older dogs which bite may need a veterinarian’s assistance.
Yawning dogs are very cute! Sometimes it means that your dog is sleepy and ready to cuddle up in his or her bed or on your lap. However, yawning can also be a sign of anxiety or stress. This is why dogs will sometimes yawn when they meet a new dog for the first time; they’re not sure if they can trust this newcomer and will often look to you for guidance. This can be extended to humans; not all dogs immediately love everybody so some dogs will yawn when their owner meets someone new and expects them to interact.
Acting confident and calm will reassure your dog that things are alright, and he or she should stop yawning if they’ve been demonstrating this behavior for a few minutes. However, if your dog continues to feel uncomfortable around a stranger, don’t make them stay. They’ll work up to introductions on their own time.
Summary: Yawning can either be a sign of sleepiness or a sign of worry and social anxiety when meeting new humans.
It’s always funny when a dog chases his or her tail, or when they spin in circles when they think food is coming! Spinning or circling can often be your dog expressing excitement and genuine joy, as well anticipation for a well-loved treat or toy. This behavior is quite normal and indicative of an active, healthy mental attitude.
If your dog circles obsessively, however, you might want to make sure that he or she doesn’t have an ear infection. Balance for dogs and humans is generated in the inner ear, so damage there might be confusing your pup and causing them to turn around again and again. Older dogs or dogs that haven’t been treated by a vet might have similar health issues. Overall, if there isn’t a silly reason for your dog to be circling constantly, check in with a veterinary professional just to be safe.
Summary: Circling is often playful or a sign of happy excitement but can sometimes indicate health problems if spinning is repeated for no reason.
Understanding Dog Behavior
Dogs are some of the best friends us humans have, and it’s important to know what they’re saying! Thankfully, with a little patience and some attention, you can recognize what your dog is trying to tell you every time.
Let us know if we can help with any of your dog needs; we’re always around to make your acquaintance and become friends with your dog! We offer doggie daycare, pet boarding facilities as well as dog grooming services. Contact us or stop by and check us out!
Pet Boarding – (310) 320-8799
Dog Grooming – (310) 710-0472
951 W. 223rd Street
Torrance CA 90502