Understanding Your Dog’s Behaviors and What They Mean

by Pets

After a long and exhausting day, coming home to your dog’s unconditional love and attention is a heartwarming moment. However, dogs communicate with us in their own unique way, and it’s up to us to understand their body language and behaviors to build a strong relationship with them.

Dogs are Mentally Gifted

Just like humans, dogs have their own body language, which they use to convey their feelings and thoughts. Recently, research conducted in 2017 revealed that dogs have 570 million brain neurons, indicating their complex mental state and ability to comprehend their environment based on past experiences. Because of this, dogs can tell us a lot without using any words.

Do We Really Understand Our Dogs?

Dogs have four main mindsets, which determine their behavior: aggressive, obedient, shy, and excited. At times, these mindsets may coexist, affecting a dog’s actions differently. Here are some dog behaviors and their meanings:

1. Standing Still

When your dog stands still, you should examine their stance closely. If the dog is standing on all fours, they are watching things calmly and confidently. Conversely, if they are balanced on their hind legs, they’re likely ready for action. Lastly, if your dog is balanced on its front legs, it is highly excited and eager to move.

2. Eyes Tell All

Dogs’ eyes show their emotions and mood. If their eyes are almond-shaped with relaxed eye movements, they are calm. However, if their eyes are wide and round, they are likely confused and excited. Be cautious if the white part of their eyes is too visible, as this indicates nervousness or agitation.

3. Different Ways of Running

Dogs have a unique way of running while playing, using vertical and horizontal movements and resembling children’s toy horses. They aren’t focused on arriving anywhere but want to relish the playing experience. Even if they bump into you or play a bit too harshly, it’s only in their playful nature.

4. Tail Wagging Is Like Smiling

Dogs use their tails to communicate, wagging them when they are happy. Quick tail movement while holding it down indicates nervousness, while hovering their tail upward reflects confidence. Dogs also wag their tails at different heights to express several emotions.

5. Listening Closely

Dogs can rotate, move, and lift their ears, indicating their levels of fear, confidence, or curiosity. When they move their ears forward, they show you where a sound came from, while laying them flat to the head demonstrates fear.

6. Requesting Playtime

Dogs are very fond of playing, and they will assume a specific stance, named the “game salute,” when they want to engage in playtime. This stance involves stretching out their front legs and lying on the ground.

7. When Your Dog is Upset

Dogs can express their sadness or upset feelings by howling. If your dog howls, it might be because they feel upset, and you should try to resolve their worries.

8. Sound Communication

Although dogs cannot speak to us, they convey different messages with their distinct sounds. For instance, calm breathing indicates tranquility, while heavy breathing might reflect exhaustion. When a dog whines, they might be asking for something, and their barking might be perceived as communicating with other dogs or humans.

As a dog owner, you must understand your dog’s behaviors to build a meaningful relationship. Many factors affect a dog’s actions, such as breed, personality, and upbringing. By observing your dog closely, you can better understand their body language and respond accordingly for a stronger bond with your furry friend.

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