Dogs

50 Different Dog Behaviors, Sleeping Positions, And Faces And What They Mean

June 14th, 2018

Have you ever been around your dog and wondered what she is thinking or feeling? Surely you have caught your canine doing something bizarre that has made you question his mental status. Even the position that your dog sleeps in means something. Here are 50+ of the most common dog behaviors explained in human terms.

1) Puppy dog eyes

One of the most adorable things your dog does is give you those big puppy dog eyes. Though most people melt and reward this cuteness with a treat, this is your dog’s way of saying he loves and trusts you. (I’m sure he will appreciate the tasty morsel too!)

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

2) Awaiting your approval

If you find Fido looking at you before he is about to do something, this means he respects and desires your opinion. He understands you are in charge and does not like to upset you.

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crozefeet via Flickr Source: crozefeet via Flickr

3) Squinting or blinking of the eyes

This means your pet wants attention and is ready to spend quality time with you. If you notice this behavior, check yourself. Have you been too busy to show her some love today? If so, make some time. It’s good for both of you!

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clon_phoenix via Flickr Source: clon_phoenix via Flickr

4) Staring

You will notice even low maintenance dogs have a need for your attention. Here again, intense staring is not her way of being creepy. She just wants your affection.

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Wikimedia Source: Wikimedia

5) Tongue out studying you

If you caught the opposite sex doing this to you, you might call the police. When a dog does this, it’s a sign they are relaxed, happy and mellow. This is usually their expression after getting the attention they crave!

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ppaufelix via Flickr Source: ppaufelix via Flickr

6) Intense Eye Contact

Who doesn’t want to be the focus of a loved one’s attention? If you have a dog and he is making intense eye contact with you, he is focused on you and you alone. He is very alert to your expressions and what you want from him.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

7) Open mouth with relaxed tail but high ears

If you catch your dog like this, it means she is neutral, relaxed and secure in her surroundings. If you are wondering when the best time to approach a strange dog is, it is when they are doing these things.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

8) Straight pointed tail and forward ears

In this situation, your best friend is curious about something within his environment. Maybe he hears a new noise or smells something interesting. Either way, he is ready to play detective.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

9) Loose floppy tongue

If her tongue is hanging out, she is feeling chill. This is a sign nothing is wrong in her world and everything is O.K.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

10) Baring teeth, ears back and snarling

This one is obvious; however, it never hurts to remind people what an angry, aggressive dog looks like. If you encounter this, your dog is feeling threatened and giving warning to the enemy. Do not approach a dog in this state. Even if he is angry at something else, you run the risk of being bitten.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

11) Rising bark

It’s play time! If your dog starts with a low bark and it gets higher toward the end, he cannot contain his excitement and he wants to play a game with you!

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

12) Howling

Have you ever noticed dogs howl at the most annoying times? Usually when a dog hears a high-pitched sound, like a siren or train whistle, they howl back. It is unclear if this is because they are annoyed, or it is causing their ears discomfort.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

13) Low growl

If a dog is doing a low growl, she’s anxious and fearful. Any scared animal is unpredictable. Do not surprise her when her nerves are getting the best of her.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

14) Crazy Legs/Dead Bug

If your dog is sleeping with all his limbs sticking up in the air (resembling a dead bug) he is submissive and vulnerable. Not all dogs sleep like this, but if yours does he is a laid back independent pup that feels secure in his surroundings.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

15) Side Sleepers

Dogs don’t usually sleep on their sides for long, but it is a typical napping position for them. Dogs who do this often have strong familial bonds and a lot of trust in their “pack.” She is probably a carefree happy dog.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

16) Superman

When a dog is sprawled out and laying on his belly, he is probably an energetic animal that has finally crashed. Most often puppies sleep like this, it allows them to pop back up and resume play time when they awake!

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

17) Passed Out

When a dog is passed out completely, laying on her back with her limbs drooping across her body, there is a good chance she is overheating. This is the best way for her to lay to cool off. If both paws are draped across her chest, she is saying “leave me alone.” Dogs need their beauty sleep too!

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

18) Belly curl

A dog sleeping on his belly with his paws either underneath him or out to his sides is not getting good quality sleep. In this position dogs can’t reach REM sleep because their muscles cannot fully relax. Gentle, shy dogs usually sleep like this.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

19) The Fox

When a dog’s paws are underneath her and her tail is wrapped around to her face, she is probably cold. This position allows her to keep as much heat in as possible. If you were to visit a wolf den (not recommended!) you would see them sleeping like this. If the dog is not cold, she could be apprehensive.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

20) Back to back

It’s so cute when you see two dogs sleeping back to back! It’s even sweeter when they sleep back to back with their owners! A dog will only do this with one of his “pack” members that he 100% trusts.

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essetime via Flickr Source: essetime via Flickr

21) Wave your paws in the air like you just don’t care

If your dog is either standing or sitting and has both paws raised, she cares! She is probably trying her best to concentrate.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

22) Giving gifts

If your dog brings you a gift, whether it’s a dead animal or your shoe, they are trying to make you happy. If your reaction is “ew” but you smile, I doubt he will be offended.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

23) Post Dinner Cuddles

When a dog wants to snuggle up after a big meal, she is very comfortable with you.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

24) Licking

Some people allow their pet to lick their faces while others get grossed out if they even lick their hands. Either way, when a dog licks you he is being submissive. He is easing some of his stress and showing you love.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

25) Going crazy when you get home

“Finally, you’re here! I missed you all day!” If he could talk this is what he’d be saying or shouting rather. The wilder they get when you walk through the door the more excited to see you they are.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

26) Helping himself to you bed

Ever come home to find your dog laying in your empty bed? This is a sign she wants to feel close to you when you were not there. Your bed has your scent, and well, it is rather comfortable.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

27) Taking over your bed

When your dog joins you and your significant other in bed and tries to take up all the space, he trying to feel like part of the pack. I promise he is not trying to be annoying intentionally!

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

28) Kicking Their Feet After Pooping

After taking your dog out to do their “business,” you may have noticed that they kick up the grass and dirt behind them. Is it just strange dog behavior or is there an actual purpose? The reason might surprise you. Kicking their paws up in a backward motion is so much more than just wiping off a mess. Dogs have glands located in their paws that release unique pheromones; they often will rub or scratch their paws along the ground to release a “territorial scent.” This might explain why your dog might seemingly stop in their tracks to kick backward for a moment or two — they’re letting other dogs know that they’ve “claimed” the area. This type of behavior within canines is the way they establish a hierarchy and who is in charge within that territory. Much like urinating on objects in the area, releasing their pheromones through their paws lets other dogs know who’s boss. This behavior doesn’t only apply to the biggest or scariest dog — both Chihuahuas and German Shepherds alike perform this normal bathroom behavior. In fact, a previously dominant or alpha-dog may cease to scratch their paws on the ground if another dog has established a stronger presence. Another reason that dogs may engage in kicking up the dirt or grass after going potty may be the fact that they are literally trying to spread the scent of their “business” to more ground. Both male and female dogs engage in this type of behavior.

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Vet Street Source: Vet Street

29) Butt Sniffing

We are going from the cute head tilt to the disgusting butt sniff. Why do they do this? A dog sniffing a butt is the equivalent of a human shaking a hand. They are saying, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” They are also trying to get to know the other dog or person they are sniffing.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

30) Chasing their tail

You may laugh at your pup for chasing something he will likely not catch. More so, if he does catch it, it is going to be painful! Puppies do this because they do not realize the thing they are chasing is already theirs. Other dogs do this when they are in a confined space or feeling bored. Check you dog for fleas or have his anal glands checked if he does this regularly, it could be a sign of a problem.

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PetPav Source: PetPav

31) Post Bath Energy

If your dog starts running around like a wild animal after she gets a bath, she probably hates being wet and is trying to dry off. She also may be relieved it’s over!

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pheezy via Flickr Source: pheezy via Flickr

32) Staying right by your side

Most of us find this dog habit annoying and an invasion of your personal space. You must remember your four-legged family member is innately a pack animal, and desires to be close to his “pack.” That’s you!

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

33) Couch Trashing

If you ever come home to a couch that has been completely ransacked, your pup has separation anxiety. Most dogs get over this eventually, but in the meantime, take the time to walk him and get some of his energy out before you leave him alone.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

34) Low front, mouth wide open and wagging tail

If this happens when you two are playing, it means he is truly having fun and enjoying himself. He is bowing to you as a thank you!

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

35) Rocking Horse

Likewise, when your dog makes like a rocking horse and moves from front to back, she is enjoying the current activity and wants it to continue.

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

36) Showing empathy

Your dog knows when you are upset, and he most likely wants to comfort you. They have their own ways of doing so, but if you are upset and he is sitting near you watching you, licking you or resting his head on you he is letting you know he is there for you. Dogs can read our body language and they don’t like it when we are upset!

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Animal Channel Source: Animal Channel

37) Eating grass

Every dog owner has wondered why dogs do this and if it is normal. The good news is, it is normal. The bad news is they are lacking a specific nutrient in their diet, trying to improve their digestion or maybe trying to treat intestinal worms (worst case scenario). If it is a hot day, they may just be dehydrated.

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Dogster Source: Dogster

38) Eating feces

This one is very repulsive, but don’t worry he will survive! Dogs do this to keep their “territory” clean. They may eat their own, or other dog’s feces because they don’t want to poop where they eat. Mother dogs eat their puppies poo to keep them clean. Just because they won’t get sick does not mean you must let them do this!

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Veterinary Secrets via YouTube Source: Veterinary Secrets via YouTube

39) Butt scoot

This one is funny until they are doing it on the carpet! If you see your dog dragging his behind across the ground, he may just have a dirty butt he is trying to clean. This could be an indication of worms or an anal gland problem so keep an eye on him.

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IFeelTheSpoops via Imgur Source: IFeelTheSpoops via Imgur

40) Hanging out a car window

This one is very common. She is taking in her surroundings and enjoying the plethora of new scents.

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BarfWorld Source: BarfWorld

41) Humping

Another cringe worthy dog habit: humping someone or something. Take comfort knowing there is nothing sexual about it, dogs do this to show dominance.

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