20 Distinguishable Dog Behaviors and What They REALLY Mean!

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Adopting a dog can be one of the most fulfilling decisions of your life. After all, no animal is more loyal or loving than man’s best friend! For as much as we think we know about dogs, there is always some new behavior that they can exhibit to mystify us. 

Today, we are going to take a closer look at 20 dog behaviors and what they REALLY mean!

Flashing the Puppy Dog Eyes

If you have a dog, you know how adorable they can be when they flash those eyes. You know the ones, the puppy dog eyes. Puppy dog eyes manifest by way of a big round and open-eyed stare that sends the message, “I love and trust you.” 

Also, those puppy dog eyes might be signaling for treats, too!

Staring Into Your Soul

Are there ever moments in your day-to-day life where you find your dog staring at you? If your dog likes to stare at you from across the room, whether laying down or sitting upright, it is likely because they are waiting for your approval! Your lovable pup looks to you as the alpha!

Squinting or Blinking Slowly At You

Cats and dogs may exhibit similar behaviors, but the intended outcomes of each species are likely at odds. When it comes to your dog squinting or blinking at you for prolonged periods of time, it likely means that they want some love and attention.

When your kitty stares or squints at you? Well, who knows!

Tongue Lolling, Studying You

If you have a breed of dog with a long and floppy tongue, you are likely used to it hanging out of your dog’s mouth. Fortunately for you, this is often a sign of a relaxed and happy dog! Whenever a dog can loll its tongue while calmly watching its owner, you know that your animal is being treated right.

Following Their Owner Around

There are a host of reasons why your dog is following you from room to room. One of the primary reasons for this ‘velcro behavior’ is loneliness. If you have a dog with separation anxiety, this can be one of the behaviors that visibly manifests itself before your eyes.

Open Mouth, High Ears, Relaxed Tail

Don’t look at us crazy, the configuration of your dog’s mouth, ears, and tail can say everything about their feelings. When your dog leaves its mouth open with ears held high and tail swung low, your dog is in a neutral stance. This typically means that your dog is safe, secure, and ready for anything.

Forward Ears and a Straight Tail

Now we get to look at a dog with its ears forward and tail straight! What does this slightly odd-looking behavior mean? In this situation, your dog is typically exhibiting some sort of curiosity for the environment. Whether the dog smells or hears something, you can definitely take this pose as a sign that their attention is being drawn.

Floppy & Loose Tongue

The rigidity of your dog’s pose can tell a lot about the innermost workings of man’s best friend. When your pup is loose and relaxed, their tongue can end up hanging out of their mouth. This means that your dog is comfortable with its environment while feeling totally chilled out.

Teeth Bared in a Snarl

You don’t have to be a canine expert to know that a snarling expression rarely means something good. If you see a dog with its teeth showing and its ears back, they are likely showcasing fear by hiding it behind anger. Never approach a dog that is in this state, even your own.

Escalating Barking Noise

There is no such thing as relaxing on the couch when your dog is barking at you. More than just a bark, the slowly rising howl-bark combo is indicative of a hyper streak in your furry best friend. When your dog starts with a low bark before raising it to a higher-pitched, it means that your dog cannot contain its excitement for playtime!

Low and Keening Growl

Hearing your lovable pup growling deep in their chest can be a terrifying experience. A deep and low growl is typical for dogs that are angry, anxious, or downright fearful. Scared animals are never predictable, so give your dog a wide berth during these times.

Sleeping on the Side

While you may love to sleep on your side, this is not common behavior for canines. Dog’s don’t sleep on their sides for very long, but this is a common position for naps. You’ll also see dogs sleeping on their sides when they are feeling particularly comfortable.

Superman Splayed Legs

Even though we think all dogs are heroes in their own way, the Superman sleeping behavior isn’t always common. Typically, you’ll find that energetic young puppies like to collapse and fall asleep on their bellies with their legs splayed out like Superman.

Howling, Howling, Howling

There are about four million reasons for your dog to howl, but the majority of them are due to some sort of external annoyance. Whether your dog is responding to a train, a siren, or another animal, it only takes one trigger to cause a howling avalanche.

Legs Akimbo in the Air

One of our favorite dog behaviors involves furry friends rolling onto their back before slinging their legs into the air in all manner of weird positions. Not dissimilar to a dead bug, this pose shows that your dog is submissive, comfortable, and absolutely secured in its area.

The Uncomfortable Belly Curl

If you notice your dog laying flat on their belly with his or her paws tucked under them, they might dealing with some sort of internal discomfort. This is a common position for alleviating gas but you shouldn’t let your dog sleep like this for long periods of time. When a dog is curled up in this position, they cannot attain quality REM sleep due to muscle contractions.

Curled Like a Fox

Is there anything cuter than seeing your dog curled in a little ball with their tail wrapped around them? The fox pose is a common position for animals that can’t quite get warm enough on their own. This is a common sleeping position for outdoor animals. If you want to alleviate your dog’s burden, toss a little blanket their way — or better yet, cuddle with them!

Sleeping Back to Back

Seeing two dogs sleeping back to back is almost too pure for our hearts to contain. When your dog sleeps back to back with you? Even better! In both scenarios, your dog will be exhibiting absolute faith in their sleeping partner. This pose is only used with members of the pack that your dog completely trusts.

Paws in the Air

Seeing Fido laying on his back with his paws straight up in the air can be more than slightly mystifying. With that being said, this odd pose is nothing to worry about! Your (slightly weird) dog is some mixture of bored and hyper or maybe they just want to see the world from a new angle!

Bringing You Gifts

Finally, if your dog has a habit of bringing you gifts, you should embrace it! Well, don’t take any dead birds inside of the house, but definitely don’t castigate your dog either. Your lovable furry friend is simply showing appreciation in the only way that they know how.


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