Dogs are known as man’s best friend, and for good reason. Since becoming domesticated sometime during the Stone Age, dogs have been man’s constant companions. Throughout the ages they have been valued for their loyalty, fearlessness, and overall for the comfort they provide to their humans. Since our canine companions can’t speak for themselves, we’ve put together this list of dog behaviors and translated them into human. We hope this makes interpreting what your puppy pal is saying that much easier!
Mouthful of Toys
When a dog brings you a toy (or in this case, as many as he can get in his mouth), it isn’t just an offer to play. Your dog is actually trying to give you a gift. Since toys are a huge part of a dog’s life, it’s pretty much the most meaningful gesture they can offer. Accepting the toy and having a play session in the backyard is the best way to say thank you.
After Dinner Cuddles
If your dog gets cuddly after eating, it isn’t because of a full belly. It’s actually a genetically programmed pack behavior, harkening back to the days when wild dogs would eat and then sleep as a pack, nestled close to each other for warmth and security. If your dog does this, it’s because he feels safe with you and considers you a part of his pack.
Lean on Me
When your dog leans on you, it’s more than likely out of fear or anxiety. When this happens, don’t push the dog away. Instead, gently pat the pooch and reassure him or her that all is well. If that doesn’t help, just pretend it’s a puppy hug and call it good.
Sitting On Your Feet
When a dog sits on your feet, it isn’t because he finds it comfortable. This behavior is sort of like “putting a ring on it” to other dogs - it’s a way to mark you as their own. They may also do this as a gesture of protection in the presence of other dogs or humans they don’t trust. As a rule, it’s more territorial unless accompanied by a growl, which suggests the dog believes your safety is at risk. While this is a sweet gesture, it’s not always accurate to humans - my old dog would sit on my feet any time he heard a vacuum cleaner.
Yawning Isn’t a Sign of Sleepiness
For dogs, yawning, slowly blinking, or licking of the nose is a sign of being unsure what to do. Both wild and domesticated dogs will show these behaviors, and if all is well the behavior will be mimicked back at them by members of their pack. If you see your dog exhibiting these signs, stage a big fake yawn to let him know all is well. Don’t be surprised if he “shakes off”, or shakes like he just got out of a bath. That’s a way dogs release their stress so they can continue with their happy doggy days.
Making Leaving Easy
If your dog doesn’t react when you leave the room or step out the front door, that’s a good sign. It means that your pooch trusts that you’ll be back, so he doesn’t need to get anxious or worrisome. If your dog does exhibit signs of separation anxiety, consult a trainer on how best to put him at ease.
Comforting and Caring
A study has shown that dogs naturally want to comfort people who are upset or otherwise in distress. They may do this by nuzzling, putting a paw in your lap, or just climbing right up on top of you. When this happens, embrace your puppy and take comfort in the fact that the little fur ball just wants you to be happy.
Dogs Are Subtle (Sort Of)
Subtle isn’t a word we usually equate with dogs, but it’s true. A Japanese study indicated that dogs exhibit subtle facial cues when presented with their favorite toys, and had opposing cues for toys they weren’t fond of. They had the same response when they saw people they knew, and the inverse held true for people they hadn’t met yet.
Time Doesn’t Matter
This may sound silly, but dogs can’t tell time. This is why they get so excited when you walk through the door, whether you’ve been gone a minute or a day-the dog has no way of knowing the difference. Any time your pup gets excited to see you walk in, embrace it and greet him with the same enthusiasm. This happy greeting will show your fur baby you missed him just as much as he missed you, and create a stronger bond between you.
Whether you let your dog on the bed or not, chances are he tries to hop in with you from time to time. This is because wild dogs sleep as a pack, huddled up for both warmth and protection. When your dog tries to curl up with you, he’s really saying that you’re part of his pack and he trusts you to keep him safe and warm while his guard is down.
We hope this article shed some light on what your dog has been trying to say. Even though they can’t speak, their actions do all the talking. It’s worth your while to “listen” closely, as it will help you keep your fur baby happy and healthy for years to come.