Dogs, like people, can have a wide range of personalities. Just like humans, each dog has their own unique set of characteristics. Some dogs are extremely energetic and hyper, while others are more laid back and relaxed. Dogs are loving, playful, and loyal companions. But some dogs can behave in an unruly manner and for no apparent reason, and this can make life difficult for dog owners.
There are many ways a dog owner can misread a dog’s behavior and ultimately miss out or misinterpret how the dog is feeling. Many of these behaviors are common and often misunderstood. For instance, a dog that yawns is an appeasement dog. The dog is telling its human that all is well. A dog may do this if a human is petting him or petting him too hard or if the human is scolding him.
Here are the Dog Behaviors and Meanings
- Tilting Head to One Side – Tilting his head to one side is a behavior commonly displayed by dogs, particularly in response to fear, anxiety, or stress. Dogs with the tilting head position are believed to have a higher tendency to become aggressive. They may even be diagnosed with Canine Separation Anxiety Disorder, debilitating for the owner.
- Shaking Head – A shake of the head is a dog’s way of conveying that they aren’t sure about something. But did you know that not all behaviors have different meanings, even the same behavior? Dog behaviors are often referred to as “markers.” In dogs, shaking the head is one of four ways dogs communicate.
- Yawning – Dogs yawn for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because they feel tired, bored, or they simply want to socialize. But did you know that dogs yawn for emotional reasons as well? Dogs yawn when they’re stressed, worried, or anxious. If the dog yawns a lot, it may be a sign of anxiety or stress. If your pup yawns, pay attention to the reason for the yawn. Try getting your dog more active or socializing. Yawning isn’t bad, but it’s good to know the underlying reasons when your pup yawns.
- Closing Mouth or Opening It Slightly – If his mouth is closed or slightly opened and held in the normal position, you should know that he is relaxed and happy. But he is stressed, in pain, frightened, or submissive if his mouth is fully closed and it’s pulled back.
- Licking Lips – Have you ever noticed how your dog licks their lips? New research indicates that dogs’ lips are associated with more positive emotions when dogs lick their lips. It’s thought dogs lick their lips to mate. When a dog licks their lips, it is a sign of nervousness or stress. Dogs lick their lips for various reasons. When a dog licks their lips, it is a sign of nervousness. The lip-licking often occurs after the dog gets excited or nervous. It can also occur after the dog experiences a traumatic event like loud noises, strangers coming into your home, someone being hurt, or after the dog is left alone.
- Showing Teeth and Biting – Dog bite injuries aren’t just about protecting their little paws or protecting their puppies. Dog bites are a serious issue with potentially catastrophic consequences, and it all boils down to a matter of dog behavior.
- Panting – Panting is pretty complicated, while seemingly a simple thing. It is the physical act of a dog panting or the act of breathing through the mouth. Panting can be natural, or it can be a response to fear, anxiety, or stress.
- Barking and Yelping – It’s an alert and even sometimes a warning. Whether your dog barks to alert you to danger, or you simply don’t like the sound, dog barking and whining can be annoying.
- Growling – Sometimes, a dog is simply growling. This can be because he feels threatened and wants to fight. What’s important to understand is that while growling isn’t always a sign of aggression, it’s never a good sign.
- Howling – Howling because they’re bored, lonely, or simply hungry. Or, maybe your dog is howling because they have a message for you.