This Is What Your Dog’s Behaviors Really Mean



Dogs do not see the world in the same way that we do. While this is the case, they do rely on their body language for communication. Read on to see the way they exhibit their feelings and emotions through their actions and demeanor! Some of these will definitely shock you.

On Hind Legs

There are several possible meanings when a dog stands up on its hind legs. It is likely to show affection. Just like humans, they want to hug sometimes. However, it can show playfulness when they are around other dogs. As long as they are not acting aggressively or growly, they are probably only playing.

Furniture Chewing

Pups also like to chew on various objects when they are teething. However, it could mean something else when they are no longer puppies. This does not mean they are bad dogs, however. There is a good chance that they are just not getting the physical activity they need. A good way to treat this is to take them out for a walk. If your dog ever starts chewing at the furniture, it is time to give them exercise.

How They Bark

There are several reasons dogs bark. If it is loud and frequent, it might be something urgent. Perhaps they sense danger and want to let you know. Shorter and softer barks, meanwhile, mean that they want to play. Loud barking can also mean that they are in pain. Make sure to pay attention to figure it out!

Bringing You Toys

Do not assume that your dog wants to play just because they have a toy in their mouth. One theory says that they want to please you this way. They consider you the alpha and want your respect. Another theory claims that this is their way of showing that they trust you. He has so much trust in you that he brings you such a valuable object. Of course, it might also mean that he loves you so much that he wants you to enjoy his prized possession. You might hurt his feelings if you throw the ball away after this!

When Dogs Yawn

Humans tend to yawn when they are bored or tired. However, dogs do this when they feel safe and secure. For them, it is a sign of submission. If you see a dog yawning 15 times, it means they feel relaxed. However, it can also be a sign of stress or anticipation. When a dog is in the vet’s office, numerous yawns might reflect their nervousness. When they do this before a walk, it can be a way to keep their enthusiasm in check as well. Like humans, they also do it to show how tired they are.

Like A Caterpillar

Don’t you just love it when your dog gets a good wiggle, kicks up their legs, and wiggle on their back? We cannot think of an image that makes us happier. There are times when the dog does it to scratch an itch, but it is possible that they only want to get your attention. Take the time to shower them with love!

Before You Go

We bet you also feel guilty about leaving your pet home when you leave for work. Some people even spend money on doggy day cares to feel better about it! When your dog makes that sad face, you will understand why this is the case. Sometimes, they will wear a calm face, but there is no need to worry. Your dog knows that you will be back soon enough! That face is a sign of trust, not sadness.

Pacing Back And Forth

Your dog might be pacing because they feel nervous, excited, or bored. They like to pace around the room for the same reasons we do! When they are going around in circles, they likely want to play with you. This is the way dogs chase each other when they meet. Yes, it is a sign of playfulness!

Pointing Their Snout

Have you ever seen a dog freeze up and nudge its snout toward something? They might also lift a front paw. This is common among hunting breeds, but just about every dog does it too. Dr. Ellen Vindell said, “Dogs are just dogs, and there are certain behaviors that probably any dog that’s a dog can do…. You’ll see a sporting dog who circles like a herding dog, and you’ll get some herding dogs who point.”

Showing Discomfort

Aside from expressing how comfortable they are, yawns can also mean something else. If a dog yawns in public, they might be exhausted and hoping for an afternoon nap. Yes, it can mean anxiety and discomfort as well. Make sure to be on the lookout for this behavior when you notice that your dog is doing this a lot while in an unfamiliar place.

Dragging Their Bum

It might look funny when your dog drags their bum, but you should be concerned. Called scooting, dogs often do this when they have an impacted anal sac they want to release. Certain dog breeds suffer from it at higher rates. This can be truly uncomfortable, so make sure to bring your pal to the vet right away.

Tilting Their Heads

People tend to talk in a higher pitch when speaking to a dog. Dogs might tilt their head when you do this as if they are trying to understand what you are saying. Dogs are great at reading as well as responding to vocal cues and body language. They take everything in from reprimands to instructions. They can recognize certain words, so perhaps they are waiting for those associated with walks and treats! A theory says they move their heads like that to adjust the outer ears for better listening comprehension.

Sniffing Around

Dog noses are great for certain things. Humans have 5 million olfactory receptors, but they have 220 million! They can smell at least a thousand times better than we can. When they sniff around, they are either sensing danger or tracking prey. They will stay still and silent when they do this. Dogs can smell the difference among individual dogs or people. Yes, they can even tell identical twins apart!

Flipping Up Tongues

When dogs think they did something wrong, they might stick out their tongue and flip it up to apologize. They feel guilty and feel apologetic. It might also be their own way of putting on an innocent face. After all, who can possibly resist such an adorable face? Expect this look when they pee on the floor!

Just Like Yoga

Unlike us, dogs do not just stretch after they wake up. They do so for the sake of their muscles. It can symbolize love and affection as well. When you get home to find your dog stretching, do not think that they just woke up. No, this is a way to show you that they are happy to see you! Aww.

Exposing Their Belly

When your dog shows you their belly, it means that he respects you and feels submissive. Perhaps they also want to play with you. The only way to respond here is to rub their belly! They will want it to happen again and again, so they will keep doing it. However, they also display this behavior when they are getting attacked by some other animal.

Tucking Their Tail

Your dog might be in distress if he tucks his tail in between his legs. These creatures do so when they are scared, ashamed, guilty, nervous, or uncertain. If your dog does this, it is a good idea to comfort him and ensure that he feels safe. Why not pet him and talk to him in a soft voice? Doggie treats also work well!

Raising Their Paws

A dog raising their paw might mean that they are looking to play or need something from you. Most pups and young dogs display behavior like this. When a pup wants to eat, it often puts their paws out for their mother. A puppy doing the same thing to you means that they want affection and love!

Using Their Tails

It is no secret that a dog wagging their tail means that they are happy and excited. However, it can mean submissiveness when they hang the tail down as they do so. If you ever see a dog do this, show them love, affection, and security. When they wag it high, however, it means that they are alert and playful!

On Your Feet

Dogs like to lay on your feet when you are eating dinner or watching TV. It might be a little annoying, but your dogs mean well! This is their way to show their love and loyalty. They only want to be as close to you as possible. It is behavior that they got from their ancestors when they used to run as a pack.

Leaning On You

If your dog leans on you while hanging out, you should be flattered! It is the equivalent of a hug for them. They are not being lazy. No, they only want to connect with you. Do not nudge your dog off the next time that they do this. We highly recommend simply letting them express affection in that way.

Tackling You

We know that it is not comfortable to get tackled by your dog. Perhaps you have been injured this way in the past. They do not want to hurt you, however. This is their way to show you that they are happy to see you! They have been waiting for you to come back, and they cannot contain their excitement.

Flicking Ears

A dog flicking their ears is one that listens. This is common behavior among animals, as a matter of fact. It happens when they are unfamiliar with a sound and to figure it out. Let your dog try to figure things out for a second when you see this happening. We personally adore how inquisitive and observant they are!

Licking Themselves Clean

It is not a secret that dogs clean themselves by licking their bodies. When your dog is dirty, they will try to lick himself clean. However, it can mean that they are hurt as well. A dog licking their paws and legs a lot will mean a trip to the vet, especially if they do this near the joints. Better safe than sorry!

Snarling And Showing Teeth

Dogs show their moods in a variety of ways. They are not always positive. A dog wrinkling their muzzle means aggression. If they ever snarl and show their teeth, it is important for you to remove them from whatever is going on. After all, it means that they are ready to attack at a moment’s notice.

Investigation Time

When you go out for a walk, there will come a time when your dog halts all of a sudden and raise a foot. No, they likely did not hurt themselves. They are actually figuring out whatever it was that caught their eyes. Their brains are working! Dogs also tend to sniff a lot when they are playing detective.

Straightened Tail

A tail in the air can mean excitement or confidence. Dogs often do this when they meet another dog or animal. If the tail stays up and shaky, they might feel challenged. A happy and content dog often has their tail at level with the body. A tail hanging low or tucked between the legs can mean insecurity.

The Side Tongue

It is cute when dogs hang their tongues out of their mouths. It is a signal that they feel happy and calm! It will happen when you go out for a walk or play fetch. Excessively doing this might mean they have the “hanging tongue syndrome,” which is common among dogs with flat noses like bulldogs or boxers.

The Side Tongue

It is cute when dogs hang their tongues out of their mouths. It is a signal that they feel happy and calm! It will happen when you go out for a walk or play fetch. Excessively doing this might mean they have the “hanging tongue syndrome,” which is common among dogs with flat noses like bulldogs or boxers.

Digging Holes

Your dog does not have evil intentions when they dig up the yard. It is instinctual for them as it is encoded in their DNA. This is especially true for terrier breeds. They often dig in the yard to leave bones, toys, and other valuables there. It is also possible that they do this to look for prey or bury their dead.

Why They Bite

It is not at all pleasant when you are bitten by your dog. However, it can mean playfulness and affection! Dogs bite one another when they play together. It is not considered aggressive, and this behavior carries over to the way they act towards you. Make sure to look out for signs of fear or aggression, however.

Sleeping Beside You

Do not be offended if your furry friend likes to skip the dog bed and lay down beside you. They got it from their ancestors! Their forebears hunted in packs and slept together for security and warmth. Your dog only wants to get close to you. Take it as a compliment that they trust you enough to even do this.

Paw Pats

It is not nice to get slapped by a person, but this is not equivalent to a dog slapping you with a paw. They are not angry, only trying to catch your attention. It is even more different when a dog slaps another dog. For them, it is a sign of trust. Think of it as the same thing when we pat one another on the back.

Eating And Cuddling

If your dog cuddles you right after eating, they are showing you how much they adore you. A lot of dogs want a nap after a good meal. There is no better place for them to do this than beside their favorite human being! It is a very good idea to cuddle up with them when you have a dog who does such a thing.


Panting does not mean that your dog is in danger. No, this is the way they like to cool off when they overheat. They are unable to sweat like us, so this is how they lower their body temperature. A dog panting is in need of water. They might also be trying to let go of stress or pain when they do this.

Eye Movement

In certain ways, dogs are like humans. They tend to show emotions with their eyes as well. They look at the ground when they feel tired or sad. Meanwhile, they open their eyes wide and look around when they are excited. A raised eyebrow might mean confusion. Make sure to take these all into account!


There are a number of reasons why your dog might bow. We are talking about when they lower their heads and keep their bodies erect. It often means they want to play. Swinging hips and wagging tails excitedly are common behavior as well. Dog trainers actually call it the “play bow.”

Walking In Circles

Your dog probably walks in circles before lying down. But why? This is likely behavior they got from their wolf ancestors. Wolves do such a thing before laying down to flatten debris or leaves to make the surface more comfortable. We daresay that it is funny to see them do such a thing.


People tend to quiet their pets when they howl, but they have a good reason for doing such a thing. This is akin to yelling, which is how we release angry feelings. They are not trying to assert dominance over you, trust us. You should let them do this because this is a good way for them to express their feelings.

Hugging With Eyes

Puppy dog eyes are good signs! No, they are not trying to act cute to catch your attention. No, they are only showing their affection. It is just like hugging for the adorable creatures! The look of innocence means they adore you and want a kiss or hug. A dog looking into your eyes means that they love you.


No, your dog is not trying to yodel. Yowling means they want to communicate with you. An animal journal writer said this: “Our German Shepherd rescue, the sweetest dog we have ever owned (unless you happen to be a cat), is 9. She ‘talks‘ about everything! Grumbles, over being denied a cat lunch, has 5-minute conversations over going out for a walk, exchanges pleasantries (you would swear) over how happy she is to see someone.”

Eating Feces

Yes, dogs eat poop. It might be disgusting, but this is not uncommon behavior. Coprophagia, the act of eating feces, could mean malnutrition. If your dog does it too much, you should go see a vet. Once your vet rules out nutrient deficiency, you might have to seek out a trainer to help break this nasty habit.

Chasing Tails

We bet you have seen your dog go in circles and chase their tail. This is common and only a sign of playfulness. However, doing so excessively might signify behavioral or health issues. A dog chewing their tail might also mean anal gland issues or allergies. It can also be a sign of OCD. Yes, dogs get it too!


Licking is not at all uncommon for dogs. They like to do so to show their affection. Yes, your dog licking you is just like them telling you that they love you. Dogs also like to taste the minerals and nutrients found in our skin. Still, it is good to know that intense licking can be corrected by training them properly.


Humping is common behavior among dogs as well. This is not necessarily a sexual or dominance issue for them. Dogs hump animals, objects, and people in a playful manner as well. There is no harm in this behavior, but we understand if it makes you uncomfortable. This habit can truly get inconvenient.

Sniffing Butts

“Can you imagine if people greeted each other like that?” you might think in reference to butt-sniffing. We already know that a dog has a sense of smell that is 10,000 better than ours. This is their way to get to know the world. They can tell the diet, gender, temperament, and gender of other dogs this way!

Dog Squinting

Do you know that slight squint that dogs do? We are sure that you have been manipulated by it in the past. A dog squinting or blinking often means he wants your attention and quality time. A dog doing this excessively might signify that you are spending far too much time away from each other.

Open Mouth, Relaxed Tail, High Ears

People often wonder about the right time to approach a dog. The best time to do so is when they have a relaxed tail, pointed ears, and open mouth. A dog in this state feels relaxed, neutral, and safe. It might be a good idea to cuddle up when your pooch is behaving like this! Trust us, nothing can be better.

Straight Tail, Ears Forward

What does it mean when a dog has their tail straight and ears pointed forward? You probably think that they want to listen closely to what is currently at hand. It means that something caught their attention. They are likely curious about a certain thing or person and feel ready to investigate!

Dead Dog

Have you seen a dog in the so-called ‘dead bug’ pose? It must have earned a laugh or two from you. With their limbs in the air, the dog looks exactly like the namesake of that pose. However, your dog likely looks relaxed and even content. This is a vulnerable pose, so the dog probably feels safe! Aww.

Side Sleeping

A lot of dogs lie on their sides at nap time. However, they do not stay like that for a long time. It means that they will have a longer time standing up and defending themselves in case of trouble, after all. A dog sleeping like this is one without any troubles whatsoever. They clearly trust their owners!


We cannot think of a pose cuter than the superman pose. After tiring themselves out, dogs like to crash on their belly with their limbs spread out. This only happens when they are truly exhausted. Puppies commonly do this since the pose lets them stand up in no time at all.

Passed Out

This is another pose your dog might take when they are tired. However, you should not be happy since this pose might mean that the pooch is overheating and trying to cool off. The pose we are referring to is when they swing their paws across their chest. When this happens, let them get some rest.

Belly Curls

While cute, this pose means that the pooch is not enjoying a good night’s rest. Called the “belly curl,” you can identify the pose when they sleep on their belly with paws out to the sides or underneath them. They won’t reach REM because their muscles are tensed. Gentle and shy dogs often sleep this way.

Curling Up

Have you ever seen your dog curl up like a fox? When the paws are lying underneath the body with the tail wrapped around them, there is a good chance they feel cold. They do this to retain as much body heat as possible. If your dog sleeps like this, you should throw a blanket on them to help them out.

Back To Back

Dogs have been so domesticated that many forget that they are actually ‘pack’ animals. However, you might remember this after seeing dogs get along and exhibit certain behaviors. Sleeping back to back is one of these patterns. Not only is it cute, but it means that they completely trust one another.

Bringing Gifts

We bet your dog has gifted you shoes, leaves, or even dead animals in the past. There is no need to fret because it means that they respect you! Isn’t it adorable that they want to make you happy this way? It can be unpleasant to dispose of a dead animal, but it is also very sweet in a way.

Boosting Energy

There are dogs who like getting baths, but they are not that common. We all know how much the average dog hates it. If your dog runs around the house like crazy after getting one, they are clearly not big fans. They hate being wet, so they hope to dry off right away in order to get their scent back.

By Your Side

Anyone who has owned a dog knows what ‘invasion of privacy’ is like. However, you should not be offended when your dog follows you to the toilet and stands there. They only want to stay close to you at all dogs! Remember, they are pack animals who like to stick together.

Showing Empathy

Have you ever suspected that your dog understands you? They are empathetic creatures. Dogs can tell when the air is full of ‘strange’ feelings like sadness or anger. When you are sad, they will try to comfort you. This is why they might lick you, look at you, or rest their head or paw on you when you feel upset. Isn’t that the sweetest thing you have ever heard?

Eating Grass

It is not uncommon for dogs to eat grass. Sadly, this often means that they lack a certain nutrient or want to digest their food well because grass is fibrous. Watch out since it can also mean intestinal worms. On the other hand, maybe they are dehydrated and want to drink the water on the grass. If you notice this is happening a lot, you should take your dog to a vet right away. Better safe than sorry, right?

Humping Inanimate Objects

Have you ever found your pup humping a leg chair or a stuffed animal and had no idea why this animal would possibly find this normal? Well, it could be that they are doing it to try and get your attention. If your dog knows that this behavior will get a rise out of you and make you pay attention to them, then that’s what they’ll do.

Digging After Going To The Bathroom

You may have thought that your dog digging up some grass after using the bathroom in the yard or on a walk was their way of “covering” their droppings with pieces of nature, but it’s actually a way for your dog to mark their territory. Another dog smelling traces of a dog’s paws scratched into the dirt is a great way of saying that they have been there and this is now their patch of grass.


Despite what you may think, when you see your pup winking at you, it is very unlikely that he is trying to tell you a funny joke or hint something to you. In reality, he likely just has something in his eye that is bothering him or feels that his eye is irritated in some way.

Barking At Nothing

Sometimes when our dogs are looking out the window and start barking, we notice there is nothing actually there for the dog to bark at… so why are they barking? They could be doing this because they are protecting your house. Your house is their house, too, and they want any and all intruders to know that they are there.

Licking You

Most people love when their dog licks their hand or their face, but did you know there is a reason behind it other than dogs loving to lick everything? Some believe that when your dog licks you it is their way of showing affection, while others believe that it is used as a sensory tool for dogs, like a human reaching out to feel something.

Staring At You

Do you find your dog fixated on you a lot of the time? Some may find this a bit odd, but to a dog, it’s totally normal. Your dog is likely staring at you because he wants a treat and knows that no one could possibly resist his sweet puppy dog eyes.

Shaking Toys

If your dog is violently shaking their toys back and forth in their mouths, you might think it’s adorable and funny, but to them, it replicates how they would kill their prey if they were in the wild. We know it’s hard to imagine your sweet pup doing such a thing, but it’s just second nature for them sometimes.

Only Eating In Private

If your dog refuses to eat when another dog or human is in the room with them, it is not because of any other reason except for the fact that they do not want to share their food with you. While humans likely don’t think about this because we don’t eat dog food, dogs don’t understand that!

Only Eating In Private

If your dog refuses to eat when another dog or human is in the room with them, it is not because of any other reason except for the fact that they do not want to share their food with you. While humans likely don’t think about this because we don’t eat dog food, dogs don’t understand that!

Kick When You Scratch Their Belly

Many pet owners think it’s super adorable and funny when their dog kicks while their belly is being scratched, but in reality, it’s like a human getting tickled. When they kick their legs it’s because their scratch nerves are telling them there is something itchy and they need to get it off. So, if you notice your dog’s legs kicking when you scratch a certain spot, just move over a bit.