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9 Dog Behaviors: Understanding Dog Behavior

Posted by Ryan Tanner on

9 Dog Behaviors: Understanding Dog Behavior

Dogs use their behaviors and sounds to communicate with their owners. At first glance, these dog behaviors may seem confusing or even irritating. We want to make it as simple as possible for you to understand what your dog is trying to tell you. Although they are a completely different species, dogs have many of the same physical and emotional needs that we do.

1. Barking

Every dog barks occasionally although some make more noise than others. You may notice that your dog has several different types of barks depending on the situation. She may have one to say hello to you, one to show other dogs that they are in her territory and another to alert you to someone outside your home.

2. Tilting the Head

One of the cutest dog behaviors is tilting her head when you are speaking to her. However, the reason for this may be purely mechanical rather than emotional. Many dogs develop head tilts so that they can better see you over their snouts as you are speaking. However, if your dog is tilting her head frequently even when you are not speaking, she could have a medical problem, such as a middle ear infection.

3. Humping

Humping you or other animals could mean that your dog is sexually aroused. However, even de-sexed dogs may hump if they are very energetic and you are ignoring them. It could also be a sign of dominance or could signify that your dog is stressed or anxious.

4. Scooting on the Ground

One of the funniest dog behaviors to watch is scooting on the ground. This most frequently happens after a dog has a bowel movement in an attempt to get extra poop off her fur. It also happens if your dog’s anal glands are filling with fluid and need to be expressed manually.

5. Digging

Dogs are energetic diggers because they have lots of energy. While some dogs may dig in your backyard or garden simply because they are bored, many dogs try to dig holes to hide food or bones that they want to save for later. Others hide toys that they do not like in the ground.

6. Running Back and Forth

Many dogs have what is called the “zoomies” in the morning or at night if they have been indoors for some time. They may also do this at any point in the day to get you to play with them if they have a great deal of energy.

7. Leaning on You

Dogs are loyal companions and usually bond strongly with the humans that care for them. To show you their love, they may lean on you while you sit, lie on your feet or try to climb into your lap.

8. Wagging the Tail

If your dog is wagging her tail vigorously, it almost certainly means that she is happy. However, a slowly wagging tail could mean that your dog is upset or anxious about something new.

9. Chewing


Almost every dog loves to chew, and this is particularly evident in puppies who are teething. Even older dogs chew to keep their teeth and jaws strong. Your dog may also chew to learn more about her environment, to relieve boredom, or to get rid of stress. It’s important to give your dog something to chew on (so they don’t unleash their chewing energy on your slippers or your children's toys!). Look for a chew that will be irresistibly tasty and will have some longevity. Check out our Bully Sticks, which are a great option for giving your dog an irresistible snack which occupies their attention and is a long-lasting chew. Our bully sticks are 100% thick premium beef so that each one will be a challenge to your dog, helping them release their pent-up energy.

Although every dog has its own personality and may put its own spin on these dog behaviors, they are fairly common across all breeds. We hope that as you learn more about what your dog is trying to tell you by understanding dog behavior, you will feel more confident in caring for your canine companion.