10 Common Dog Behaviors And What They Really Mean

It turns out that all dogs share a common set of behaviors, some are funny some are gross but they all tell us something about how our furry friends are feeling.

Peppy Pooch Understanding Dog Behavior - Head Tilting


How often have you looked at your dog and thought, ‘why on earth are you doing that?’ Well, you’re not alone. At Peppy Pooch we’re constantly wondering what’s going on in our dogs heads. It turns out that all dogs share a common set of behaviors, some are funny some are gross but they all tell us something about how our furry friends are feeling.

Check Out These 10 Common Dog Behaviors And What They Really Mean:

1. Greeting Stretch
When you come home from work or school and your dog greets you with a stretch, that means that he is saying hello to you. Yes, that’s right! Contrary to what most people believe, your dog didn’t just wake up from a short nap or decide to do some puppy yoga. Next time your puppy greets you with a stretch, it would be great to give him a little pat or a greeting too.

2. Licking You
While you might not always want your dog to cover you in slobbery kisses, his licks are actually his way of showing affection. Plus, your dog has probably figured out that licking you tends to get your attention. Of course, there are other reasons dogs lick you. Some researchers say licking is a sensory tool for dogs — similar to reaching out and touching something. Another explanation could be that canine mothers lick their puppies (and puppies lick their mothers and litter mates) for grooming and social reasons. So this natural behavior continues into adulthood.

3. Cocking Her Head
Whistling, speaking in a high-pitched voice or even making funny noises can cause one of dogdom’s cutest and most amusing behaviors: head tilting. Exactly why dogs cock their heads to the side remains uncertain, but behaviorists speculate that canines are trying to make sense of what they hear. They also might be trying to pick out a key word like “walk” or “fetch” to find out if what you’re saying will lead to something fun or rewarding. Another reason your pup might tilt her head is to more accurately determine the location of a sound. If she’s consistently holding her head to one side without an obvious trigger, she might have a medical issue and should see a veterinarian.

Peppy Pooch All Natural Dog Treats - Dog Staring

4. Staring at You
Are your canine’s eyes always trained on you? Chances are, he’s hoping you’ll give him a treat or shower him with praise and affection. After all, it’s hard to resist those pleading, puppy-dog eyes. At Peppy Pooch we get this a lot! It’s important to keep in mind that some dogs consider direct eye contact threatening. So before you gaze back at him, make sure he isn’t showing any signs of aggression or fear.

5. Thrashing Her Toys

Fifi sure looks like she’s having fun when she vigorously shakes her stuffed squeaky duck. But the truth is, she’s manifesting one her most primal instincts: killing. OK, we’re being a little dramatic. Out in the wild, thrashing is how Fifi would kill her prey. At home, she’s just exhibiting innocent play behavior.

6. Chasing Her Tail
If you had a tail, wouldn’t you chase it? This amusing behavior is simply a fun way for your pup to expend her excess energy. But if she does this constantly, then she might have anal gland problems or flea allergy dermatitis. In some cases, tail chasing can be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you can’t distract your dog from chasing her tail, or if you suspect she has a medical condition, you should speak to your veterinarian.

7. Walking in Circles Before Lying Down
Sometimes we just want to tell our dogs that no matter how many times they walk in a circle before lying down in their bed, it won’t change their resting spot’s level of comfort. You can blame your dog’s ancestors for this curious ritual. Behaviorists believe that when wolf-like dogs lived in the wild, they would walk around a spot to pat down the leaves, grass or other debris to create a nice nesting spot.

8. Sniffing Butts
A dog’s way of saying, “Hello, nice to meet you,” to another dog is to sniff the other dog’s butt. In the human world, this behavior could land you in jail. In the dog world, this is a socially acceptable form of greeting. But still, why sniff butts? A dog’s ability to smell is 10,000 times better than ours, and, well, there are a lot of revealing aromas that come from a canine’s rear end.

9. Humping You, Objects or Other Dogs
Does this scenario sound familiar? Everyone’s having a great time at the dog park until Buddy starts mounting another dog. Buddy’s owners are so embarrassed and apologetic. “But he’s fixed,” they insist. Humping — whether it’s on other dogs, on your leg or on an object — is usually not for sexual reasons. And it’s probably not an attempt to dominate. More likely, neutered and spayed dogs hump because they are excited or seeking attention - we frequently experience this with our dogs in the car on the way to the park. To prevent this embarrassing behavior, ignore it, try to redirect it with a treat or toy or just shout ‘No Humpies!’ until everyone around starts laughing at you.

10. Eating Poop
This habit is just plain gross. Many things can cause coprophagy (the medical term for consuming feces). Your pup might be hungry. He could like the smell and taste. It’s possible he’s missing key nutrients from his diet. He might just think it’s fun. It’s not a behavior we want to dwell on, so for everyone’s sake, we’ll just say that if your dog is fond of eating you-know-what, ask your veterinarian for help.