Common Dog Behaviors and What They Mean - Pet Hub USA

Common Dog Behaviors and What They Mean

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No matter what breed of dog you have, there are certain behaviors that all dogs do, and some of them are rather strange to humans. Each one of these behaviors signals what a dog feels. Learn what these 10 behaviors mean.

10. Licking You

Dog licking woman
Photo by Pet foto on Pexels

There are several reasons why dogs lick people. In general, it’s a way dogs show their affection. Dogs figure out that licking garners attention. Some say it’s a natural behavior dogs learn from their mothers who lick them for grooming and social reasons that continues into adulthood. Researchers say licking is a sensory tool, similar to humans touching things.

9. The Greeting Stretch

Dog stretching on a yoga mat
Deposit Photos

Dogs will often stretch when they greet you first thing in the morning, or when you return from being away. It does not mean they are loosening up their muscles to get ready for a walk or run the way humans might do. This stretch is actually a greeting. It’s a way that dogs say hello.

8. Cocking Their Head

a brown and white dog sitting on top of a lush green field with head tilt
Photo by Judy Beth Morris on Unsplash

The exact reason dogs tilt their heads remains uncertain. However, there are speculations. Certain noises or high-pitched sounds trigger head tilts. It might be to understand what they hear. It might be to pick out specific words from sentences. It might be to determine the location of a sound. A head tilt without an obvious trigger may indicate a medical issue.

7. Chasing Their Tail

From above of crop anonymous person stroking purebred dog resting on meadow in sunlight
Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels

The most common reason dogs chase their tail is to expend excess energy. Constant tail-chasing could indicate anal gland problems or flea allergy dermatitis. In other cases, tail-chasing could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you cannot distract the dog from chasing its tail, consider speaking to a veterinarian.

6. Circling Before Laying Down

short-coated brown dog
Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

Dogs often pad in a circle before lying on their bed or other resting spot. Canine behaviorists believe this is an ancient ritual from when dogs lived in the wild. They would tromp in a circle to pat down the grass, leaves, or other debris to create a more comfortable nesting spot.

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5. Sniffing Other Dogs’ Butts

black and tan german shepherd and brown and black german shepherd mix dogs on brown field
Photo by Sofia Shultz on Unsplash

While this behavior confounds humans for obvious reasons, odors to dogs tell a story similar to how words do for humans. Dogs can detect scents 10,000 times better than humans. Rear-end aromas reveal a lot to a dog. In a dog’s world, sniffing another dog’s butt is a form of greeting. “Hello, nice to meet you.”

4. Staring at You

golden retriever lying on floor
Photo by REGINE THOLEN on Unsplash

A dog staring can mean a couple of things, and one is important to recognize. Most often, when your dog stares at you it’s hoping you will give it a treat, praise, or affection. However, some dogs consider direct eye contact threatening. Before staring back at the dog, make sure it isn’t showing any signs of aggression or fear.

3. Thrashing a Toy

a dog with a toy in its mouth running through the grass
Photo by Rafaëlla Waasdorp on Unsplash

Dogs will sometimes take their toys in their mouth and shake and thrash their heads violently in all directions. This is an ancient instinct left over from when wolf-like dogs lived in the wild. This is how wild dogs would kill their prey. Domestic dogs still exhibit this behavior with their toys, but it’s only innocent play.

Read More: 10 Signs Your Dog Is Unhappy

2. Humping Objects, People, or Other Dogs

white and blue balloons
Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

It baffles humans that, even when a dog is fixed, it will sometimes try to hump a person’s leg, an object, or another dog. The behavior isn’t for sexual reasons. It’s also probably not projecting dominance. Instead, the dog is excited or seeking attention. The best remedy is ignoring the behavior or redirecting the dog with a toy or treat.

Read More: Strange Dog Behaviors and Warning Signs to Watch For

1. Eating Dog Poo

adult chocolate Labrador retriever licking snout
Photo by James Barker on Unsplash

This gross and perplexing behavior is an important sign that demands your attention. Your dog might be hungry. It’s also possible your pooch is missing key ingredients from its diet. In other cases, the dog could like the smell and taste of the feces or finds consuming poo fun. If your dog engages in this behavior consult a veterinarian.

Read More: Why Does My Dog Stare At Me?

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