Dogs may not be able to speak, but they have a myriad of ways in which they can and do communicate with us. Some of these communicative techniques are by design. For example, dogs usually have a reason for barking and whining: they are usually trying to express excitement, caution, or fear.
However, our dogs can tell us a lot without resorting to this conscious means of communication. Knowing what to look for can help you find signs that your dog is sick, that he needs more of a certain ingredient in his food, or that he is a little too warm. Below are 9 common dog behaviors, what they mean, and what you can do to correct the situation.
1. Head tilt
Tilting the head can be a natural reaction and is often seen when a dog first hears or sees something. When this happens, they usually move their head to better examine. They may have a better angle to see something, or they may move their ears so they can hear better. However, if the head tilts persist for a long time, it could be a sign of an ear infection or other health problem.
2. Eat feces
It’s gross and can be enough to put you off your dog for a while afterwards, but eating poop is not uncommon behavior in dogs. The scientific term for this action is coprophagia and there are numerous theories as to why one dog eats another dog’s feces. It could be a sign that your dog is missing certain nutrients from their diet. It could also be a sign of the dog’s senility.
3. Scooter riding
Scooting is the action of a dog dragging its butt across the floor and it’s usually a sign that something in that area is bothering them. It is usually the anal sacs on either side of the anus. These will evacuate when you have healthy bowel movements, but some diseases and conditions can prevent this from happening. It could also be a sign that your dog has sustained an injury in the area and is trying to relieve the pain.
4. Licking people
Licking people is one way of showing a dog’s affection, but when you consider what else dogs do with their mouths, it’s usually not engaging behavior. If it bothers you, training is the best way to stop it. Ignore the licking and don’t give your dog any praise or even a small treat until he’s finished. If you reward them for not licking, you will teach them that you don’t like all of the face licking.
5. Sniff your butt
Dogs can learn a lot from each other through smell, and one of the most informative areas about smelling is the bum. In addition to the anal glands, dogs can smell each other’s genitals here. You can find out the gender, sexual status, and even health of the other dog through this fairly simple process. Letting another dog sniff the bum is usually a sign of trust as well. There is no reason to stop dogs from sniffing each other unless it bothers one of them and it could improve their relationship.
6. Lean on people
Leaning is widespread and more common in certain races. If your dog leans on your legs, feet, or body when you sit down, it is just a sign that they want to be closer to you. It’s not a sign of dominance, although it can be a sign of separation anxiety. They are afraid that if they close your eyes or are not careful you will leave them. So if you lean on you, they can be alerted the second you walk away.
Jack Russells, we’re looking at you. Digging is common in terrier breeds because it is instinctive for them. They were bred to hunt rodents in small holes and caves, and they dug to reach their prey. If they live in a house, digging can be a sign of boredom, or they can dig to hide their toys and other belongings. You can also dig when it’s warm because it creates a cooler place to lie down. Play games, throw a ball, and don’t leave your dog outside for long periods of time when digging has become a problem.
8. Excessive tail hunting
Tail hunting is a natural activity for many dogs. For the most part, it’s fun and burns energy. It could be a sign that they are bored and want some entertainment. It could also be a sign that something is bothering them about their tail, so they may have fleas or ticks. In fact, if your dog chases his tail repeatedly and excessively, it can be a sign of OCD.
9. Barking / growling / howling
Dogs communicate loudly and can do so by barking, growling, and howling. Some breeds, like the husky, are prone to howling and it’s perfectly natural, but there is almost always a reason your dog will scream. Unfortunately, that reason can be anything from happiness to fear. They could tell you to be vigilant because they may sense some type of danger, or they could just greet you home from work or respond to a distant noise that you did not hear.
Dog behavior and communication
Dogs communicate naturally through voice, and they have many ways to communicate through body language and their activities. Listen to what your dog is trying to say and be critical of the situation. If something has changed in the environment, it is normal for your dog to react in some way, such as tilting his head to better hear a new sound, barking to increase your alertness, or sniffing the bum of a new one Visitor to get to know him better.