7 Common Dog Behaviors and What They Mean

Common Dog Behaviors

Ever wondered what your dog is trying to tell you? Dogs may not be able to form words, but they have a language that they use to communicate their current emotional state. From the sounds and signals they make to the whole body language, there are a number of ways humans can interpret the most common dog behaviors.

To develop a better relationship with your dog, you must understand what your dog wants from the situation. Here is a list of the common dog behaviors along with their explanations.

Explaining the Most Common Dog Behaviors

1. Barking

Barking is a sound distinct to dogs and wolves. The dog could be barking to alert their masters or when they feel threatened.  To get a better understanding of your dog’s barking, you need to pay attention to the sound and frequency. In general, low-pitched barking accompanied with growls is a sign of aggression. On the other hand, a more high-pitched bark with a whine means that your pet is looking for attention. To correct this unwanted behavior, it is important to completely ignore the bark instead of giving rewards or punishments. Teaching your pup the “quiet” command is also recommended.

2. Panting

It’s normal for dogs to pant, especially since they use their mouths to expel body heat. That said, dogs pant when they’re feeling hot, excited, or energetic. Dog owners need to pay attention to heavy panting, though, as this could be a sign of a serious problem. Some issues associated with heavy panting are poisoning, overheating, life-threatening traumas, or other chronic health concerns. Consult your veterinarian immediately when you notice heavy panting.

3. Digging

Digging is part of canine instinct. Wild dog relatives such as foxes and wolves are known to dig dens to raise their young. The den is used to protect their pups from extreme temperatures and other predators. As for domesticated dogs, the instinct to dig is especially strong in terrier breeds. Like their wild counterparts, they do this to keep cool and comfortable.

4. Dog chewing

It is a behavior that all dog owners wouldn’t want to deal with—chewing. Like a growing child, the desire to chew on toys and others objects (RIP, the living room table) is used to relieve the pain of teething. The good news is that most dogs will outgrow this phase. So in the meantime, try puppy-proofing your home.

You’ll need to start taking action in the event that your dog continues to chew on objects when they’re full-grown . Excessive chewing could be a sign of separation anxiety or just anxiety in general. Learn how you can address this issue next!

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Labrador Retriever

5. Separation anxiety

Dogs, by nature, are pack animals. So when they’re separated from their pack members, they tend to become anxious. Some common symptoms of anxiety include destructive behavior and heavy panting. To manage this, you can start by ensuring that the dog gets the right amount of exercise, discipline, and affection. Also, it is important to avoid being over dramatic when you leave the home. It’s normal to want to say goodbye to them, but that’s only reinforcing unwanted behavior. Ever heard of the “no touch, no talk, no eye contact” rule introduced by Ceasar Milan? Well, it’s time you apply this when disciplining your dog!

6. Jumping

Yes, it’s cute when a dog jumps enthusiastically on you, but for guests, this could be interpreted as a sign of aggression. Jumping is a way for dogs to assert their dominance over you. Never reward this type of behavior with affection or treats. Instead, continue to ignore them until the dog settles down.

7. Dog biting

Dog biting is probably the most dreaded dog behaviors for owners. Approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States each year. Children below the age of thirteen are the most common victims of dog bites likely because they are not aware of how they should behave around a dog.

The most common reasons behind a dog bite include fear, aggression, maternal instinct, and prey drive. The only way you can correct such behavior is by becoming a more responsible pet owner. Spay or neutering your dog is a great way to reduce aggression. Additionally, you need to correct dominant behavior as soon as you notice it.

If you’re still unsure what to do when you find yourself dealing with the common dog behaviors on this list, you can always seek professional help. If you have younger children living with the dog, take the time to educate them about the right way to act around your canine companions. Remember, your dog looks up to you and you are responsible for keeping them safe. So strive to be a great pack leader every day!

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