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Dog behavior: what do these 9 actions mean?

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Dogs may not be able to speak, but there are a number of ways they can communicate with us. Some of these communication techniques are intentional. For example, dogs usually have a reason for bark and whining: they normally try to communicate excitement, caution or fear.

However, our dogs can tell us a lot without resorting to this intentional means of communication. If you know what to look for, you might find signs that your dog is sick, needs more of a particular ingredient in their food, or is a little too hot. Below are 9 common dog behaviors, what they mean, and what you can do to remedy the situation.

1. Head tilt

Tilting the head can be a perfectly natural reaction, and it is commonly seen when a dog hears or sees something for the first time. In this case, they usually move their heads to investigate better. They may have a better angle to look at something or move their ears to hear better. However, if the tilt of the head continues for long periods of time, it may be a sign of a ear infection or other health problem.

2. Eat poop

It’s disgusting and it may be enough to keep you away from your dog for a while, but eating poop is not an uncommon canine behavior. The scientific term for this action is coprophagia and there are many theories as to why a dog chooses to eat another dog’s poop. This could be a sign that your dog is missing certain nutrients from their diet. It could also be a sign of canine senility.

3. Travel by scooter

Scootering is the action of a dog dragging their butt across the ground, and it’s usually a sign that something in that area is bothering them. These are usually the anal glandular sacs located on either side of the anus. These are emptied during a healthy bowel movement, but certain diseases and conditions can prevent this from happening. It could also be a sign that your dog has suffered an injury to the area and is trying to ease the pain.

4. Lick people

Licking people is a dog’s way of showing affection, but considering what else dogs do with their mouths, it’s generally not attractive behavior. If this bothers you, coaching is the best way to stop it. Ignore the licking and only praise your dog, or even a small treat, after he has stopped. By rewarding them for not licking, you’ll teach them that you don’t like face licking.

5. Sniff cigarette butts

Dogs can learn a lot about each other through smell, and one of the most informative areas to smell is around the buttocks. In addition to the anal glands, this is where dogs can smell each other’s genitals. They can learn the other dog’s sex, sex status, and even health through this fairly straightforward process. Letting another dog sniff their butt is also usually a sign of confidence. There is no reason to stop dogs from sniffing each other this way, unless it bothers one of them, and it could improve their relationship.

6. Rely on people

The addiction is quite common and even more so in some breeds. If your dog is leaning against your legs, feet, or against your body when you are seated, this is just a sign that he wants to get closer to you. It is not a sign of domination, although it could be a sign of

separation anxiety. They fear you will leave them if they close their eyes or aren’t careful, so by leaning against you, they can be alerted as soon as you walk away.

7. Dig

Jack Russells, we’re watching you. Digging is common in terrier breeds because it is instinctive to them. They were bred to hunt rodents in small holes and burrows, and they would dig to reach their prey. When they live in a house, digging can be a sign of boredom, or they can dig to hide their toys and other belongings. They can also dig in hot weather, as this creates a cooler place to lie down. Play games, throw a ball, and try not to leave your dog outside alone for long periods of time if digging has become a problem.

8. Excessive tail hunting

Tail hunting is a natural activity for many dogs. In most cases, it’s fun and it burns energy. It could be a sign that they are bored and want to be entertained. It could also be a sign that something on their tail is bothering them, so they could have fleas or ticks. If your dog chases his tail repeatedly and excessively, it could even be a sign of OCD.

9. Bark / growl / howl

Dogs communicate vocally, and they can do so by barking, growling, and howling. Some breeds, like the Husky, have a tendency to howl and that’s perfectly natural, but there’s almost always a reason your dog is vocalizing. Unfortunately, this reason can range from happiness to fear. They might tell you to be vigilant because they may sense some type of danger, or they might just welcome you home after work or react to a distant sound that you haven’t heard.

Dog behavior and communication

Dogs communicate naturally through vocalization, and they have many ways of communicating through body language and their activities. Listen to what your dog is trying to say and assess the situation critically. If something has changed in the environment, it is natural for your dog to react in some way, which may include tilting the head to better hear a new sound, bark to raise your alert level, or sniff the butt of a new visitor to get to know them better.


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