Whether you’re a new dog owner or have years of experience, dog behaviors have specific meanings that you should know. It’s hard when verbal communication is only one sided. The good news is, dogs are trying to say something through their behavior! Dogs are unlike any other pet you may own. They have an unspoken and undeniable connection to their human owners. You may already think you know what some of these behaviors mean. But don’t be surprised if what you think, turns out to be something completely different!
1. Tilting Their Head
This is one of the cutest expressions that dogs have. Many people will think their dog is being funny or cute. Maybe after the hundredth time, of doing this and hearing positive responses, your dog does it on demand now!
Tilting their head to one side is naturally a sign of interest. Either your dog has heard or seen something interesting. Although most head tilts mean inquiry, you should look out for irregular head tilting. Tilting that is very frequent, or with scratching, could be a sign of an earache.
Most of the time panting is your dog’s way of releasing heat. Think of panting as excitement, exhaustion or a relief from pain or stress. If panting happens after a long walk or game of fetch, it’s from exhaustion. If your dog is panting for unknown reasons, check their body temperature or if there is something else causing pain or stress.
Pain could be coming from the paws, or something stuck under their fur. Stress could also be coming from overheating or a new element in their surroundings. Watch out for prolonged panting, this could be a sign of something more serious. Make sure to move your dog into a cool and undisturbed place if they are panting from heat or the surroundings.
3. Crying or whining
This sound can often have a few meanings. It could mean either your dog is excited, or anxious about something. It’s important to also have a visual of what is happening to your dog if you hear them making this noise. He could be trying to get your attention about something. These noises could be simply begging for something, or stuck and need your assistance.
Whining and crying can also be excitement, either they’ve seen, smelled or heard something. Crying is a common behavior during a detachment or separation from your dog. If you’re spending too much time saying “goodbye” before leaving, your dog may be attempting to get you to stay.
4. Lip Licking
This behavior can mean your dog is sexually aroused, but it can also have an uncertain meaning. Body language is important to read if your dog is licking their lips. If your dog is licking another dog’s lips, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are trying to make friends. Often this is a behavior in puppies, is them figuring out what is an appropriate interaction.
5. Showing Teeth Biting
When your dog starts to show their teeth and retract their lips, watch out! This is a sign that your dog is showing dominance. Your dog may be so agitated, that in this behavior, it can lead to aggression. Make sure of your surroundings, in order to prepare your dog so they know you are in control of the situation. Some dogs may be behaving this way because they are attempting to protect you.
In order to maintain a safe environment for your dog, yourself and anyone else in proximity, make sure to use training commands to let your dog know it’s safe. Unless you are in a very unsafe situation and your dog is being protective for good reason, then having appropriate training is very important!
6. Exposing the Belly
When your dog rolls over to expose their belly, they’re being playful and respectful. Showing their belly, means they are comfortable enough with you that they can be in this position. In the wild, showing your belly is a very vulnerable position to be in, so it shows a lot of trust. If you’re rubbing your dogs back and they lay down and roll over, they’re being very playful and nice.
Dogs are just like humans, they all have different behaviors to express different feelings. If you pay enough attention to the details of behaviors in each dog, you will find that they are all different. Dogs have personalities, funny habits and different ways to express themselves uniquely. When in doubt about a behavior, take a good look at surroundings and health to learn more.