3 Key Canine Behaviors Every Dog Owner Must Know

Cute Pomeranian looking into camera

You know your dog’s hungry and playful barks, understand scratching at the door likely means going outside is a must, and know when it is afraid of something. Your furry best friend has got your back, but you still struggle to understand how you can maximize your time together. Understanding your dog’s behaviors will help bring you both closer while enabling you to enrich your time together. Now, let’s look at 3 important, but often misunderstood, canine behaviors.

Tail Wagging

When you see your dog’s tail wag, you likely think your dog is happy. You’re not alone. While this might be the case more often than not, tail wagging on its own doesn’t indicate happiness. Simply stated, tail wagging means that your dog is emotionally aroused. There are different types of wags and knowing what to look for can help you understand your dog’s mood and what behaviors it might display. Fast wagging of the tail back and forth generally indicates excitement, and its behavior will likely be playful. Slower strokes are usually a sign of insecurity, which may be accompanied running and hiding. Freely wagging the tail combined with hip wiggling often indicates friendliness, likely to be accompanied by friendly behaviors. Quick tail wags in an upright position indicate aggression, which may lead to aggressive posture, barking, and biting.

Digging 

Some dogs are nonstop diggers while others dig occasionally. It’s in their DNA. Dogs dig for different reasons, which occur at different times. When outside, dogs dig to escape, clear coverings to effectively track other animals, remove hot dirt and make a cool spot to lie, or hide something important to them. Some dogs dig indoors as well – consistently scratching the same spot on the floor or bed comforter and getting nowhere. Digging indoors is just as natural as it is outdoors. You do not see the difference, but it is an exercise some dogs must get out of their system due to stress and anxiety, or a lack of mental stimulation and physical exercise. If your dog digs indoors, you should provide it with more daily exercise. Fetch and running together are great forms of exercise for your dog. Mental stimulation doesn’t need to be difficult either. Mind puzzles, an affordable type of dog toy, are great ways to stimulate your dog’s mind and keep it sharp.

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Yawning

Is your dog tired and powering through the day? Yawning can mean your dog is tired, but this isn’t always the case. Stress, anxiety, pressure, and tension are all reasons why dogs yawn. If your dog yawns consistently, analyze its behaviors and determine what the issue could be. Is it stress or anxiety? No? Maybe there’s pressure and tension. Unsure? Seek the advice of a trained veterinarian just to be safe.

Understanding your dog’s behaviors can open your eyes to what it’s experiencing in real time. Begin watching your dog with a critical eye, make adjustments around its behaviors, and watch your relationship flourish. 

View this article in the July 2021 issue of MP.