I am a dog person to the core, but I’ll be the first to admit it – dogs are weird. Just when I think I know my pups, they do something else to surprise me. They are many times when I wish I could just ask, “What are you thinking? What do you want? And hey, while we’re chatting, what was life like before I found you at the shelter?” Unfortunately, I don’t speak dog.
That’s what I thought, anyway, until I saw these 9 tips. As it turns out, a lot of what our dogs are trying to communicate is pretty simple, if we know how to listen.
1. He brings you “presents.”
Maybe we don’t get excited over an old stick or a slobber-covered ball, but to your dog? These are possessions prized above all else. While some theorize that the act of retrieval and gift-giving harkens back to a dog’s hunting instincts, it’s also simply because they love you. Next time you think your dog is just trying to play fetch, take a second to thank them for being so thoughtful.
2. She destroys your furniture and/or belongings.
While this is a phase that many dogs leave behind in puppyhood, others continue destructive behavior as adults. The most common reason? They are stressed, bored or suffering from separation anxiety while you are away from home. Pencil in some extra time for play and exercise – your couch cushions will thank you!
3. He yawns – but he’s not sleepy.
Sure, dogs yawn when they are tired, but it can also be a sign that they are stressed or nervous. If you see your dog repeatedly yawning while in a new environment or around unfamiliar humans, give him a hug and a few words of reassurance. However, you might also want to double check that your friends and family aren’t just bored – like humans, dogs find yawns to be contagious.
4. She raises a paw in the air.
If you’ve seen your dog in the crazy position above, you probably already know what she is about to do – pounce! I’m not convinced that a foot dangled in the air for five seconds has ever given dogs an edge over their prey, but our furry friends seem to think otherwise.
5. He takes over the bed.
While this can be a sign of staking out territory, especially if there is another animal in the house, dogs also take over our beds simply because they want to cuddle. What better place than the spot where they see us most relaxed?
6. He leans on you.
If your dog suddenly leans on you, he’s probably asking for reassurance. Maybe something spooked him or he’s just a little tired; either way, he’s making sure you are there to provide love and protection.
7. She sits on your feet.
Every time we visit the dog park, my dog sits on my feet the entire time. I always thought she was nervous around the bigger, slobbery pooches, but come to find out, she’s been staking her claim on me! Dogs sit on our feet to send the message to other humans and animals that we are “spoken for,” as well as to assert their dominance. Who knew?
8. He hunches over.
It’s not hard to see that a hunching dog is a scared dog, so handle them with extra love and affection. While some dogs may become frightened by thunderstorms or loud noises, it can be a sign of abuse in others.
9. She won’t stop staring.
This one is my favorite! A staring dog is a dog who is in love with their master, and making eye contact with our canines can release endorphins in both our brains. Next time you are feeling down in the dumps, simply stare into your pup’s eyes. It will leave you both feeling better.