5 Things your Dog is Trying To Tell You- Dr James Greenwood

Dogs are amazing animals.  They are fun, intelligent and the make for the most loyal companions. But have you ever wondered whether your dog is trying to tell you something? Here are my top 5 signs to say your dog has something to say …

1)   The cute little head bob.

Ever noticed your dog tilt it’s head left or right whilst looking right at you? While this is the most adorable thing ever (and makes for a great Instagram post) it is actually your dog trying to understand you better.

Some suggest it may be your dog trying to hear you better and others think the head tilt might be a way for dogs to see past their muzzle and have a better view of your face – either way the head tilt indicates your dog is absolutely only focusing on you at that very moment.

2)   The sloppy dog kisses.

Does your dog lick you? Whilst perhaps not the most hygienic, you may like to know this indicates your dog really does love you!  Licking the salt from our skin is one theory why dogs like to lick but it is more likely due to affection.  Licking is often a sign of comfort and relaxation – think about a mother licking her pups – it reflects a dogs nurturing nature.  But watch closely – licking themselves beyond normal grooming could indicate a skin or pain issue, so if you are concerned seek veterinarian advice.

3)   When your dog misbehaves on purpose.

Sometimes when you’re having a really bad day, does your dog seem to pick up on it and almost behave even worse on purpose?  Perhaps he ripped up the newspaper or trampled the clean laundry? I get asked a lot about dogs being purposefully naughty but actually this is never the case.

Dogs do not have the emotional capability to act out of spite.  It is normally the human behaviour that allows an opportunity for the dog to react – he hasn’t jumped up on the new sofa because he has muddy paws, it’s because his owner was too busy to wipe them – perhaps the phone rang or something similar.

Rest assured, your dog will never purposefully want to fall out with you – they truly only have their hearts full of love.

4) Fussy eaters.

It is true that some dogs will prefer certain food flavours and textures – just the same as people. It is important to find which food your dog prefers and offer them the best quality you can budget for.  But what about if your dog stops eating?  Sometimes this can be due to a medical reason so always best to discuss it with your veterinarian, but other times they are simply telling you they want something tastier!  When our dogs don’t eat straight away, our human instinct is to panic and offer them something super tasty instead to tempt them (which they then eat).  If that is the case – your dog has just skipped straight to desert!

By refusing to eat the proper food your dog has learnt that something even tastier will be on offer.  Be patient and don’t reach for the treats too quickly – it is much better for your dog to have a balanced diet.

4)   The tail chasing expert.

Ever wondered why your dog sometimes chases its tail?  This is usually a playful expression of behaviour and is normally a sign that your dog is telling you they are really, really excited!

But occasionally it can also be a sign that your dog is asking to exercise more – yours is a doggo-gym-bunny!  Some dogs relish high levels of aerobic exercise and tail chasing can be a sign that they have excess energy to burn.

But, again, they could be asking you for a trip to the veterinarian in case it is actually in response to parasitic infestation such as fleas or an anal gland irritation. If you are ever in doubt, always best to discuss these things with your veterinarian.

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