Dogs might be man’s best friend, but they’re also one of life’s biggest mysteries. For all the time we spend with our fur babies, we actually have very little idea about what goes on in those canine heads. So much of what they do is so confusing! If you’re ever wondered why your pup brings you a ball but seems to have no interest in fetching it, or why he stares at you without blinking, or why she takes over your bed when she has a perfectly good one of her own, you’re not alone. We wondered the same, and we finally decided— it’s time we learned to speak dog! Luckily, there was a translation guide available over on Diply. We checked it out, and now we’re here to share the meanings behind nine of the most confusing doggy actions.
- What He Does: Bring you presents.
What It Means: He thinks you need stuff!
His slobber-covered ball? That dirty stick on your last walk? The squeaky toy with the stuffing all falling out? If you tossed it away the last time your dog brought it to you, thinking that he wanted to play fetch – or just wanting to get it away from you – you probably missed your pup’s true message! He’s actually channeling his hunting instincts and trying to give you a gift of something he thinks you’ll like or need— and those things just happen to be what he loves and needs, slobber and all.
- What She Does: Destroy your furniture.
What It Means: She’s nervous— or bored.
The most destructive and annoying action actually does mean something. If your canine is a young untrained puppy or on the more nervous side, gnawing on the furniture is an expression of separation anxiety. If she’s not, then it means she’s bored! Get some exercise together and have some fun while saving your chairs and tables.
- What He Does: Yawns.
What It Means: Well, a lot, actually.
For such a simple action, yawning is actually one of the most complex ones our fur babies do. It could, as you might think, mean he’s tired— or it could mean he’s nervous! Around unfamiliar people, dogs will yawn as an expression of stress or fear. If he’s doing it around you or other familiar faces, though, check to see if somebody in the room is yawning— your pet could be mirroring the action out of empathy, the same way yawns are contagious among humans!
- What She Does: Raise one paw in the air.
What It Means: The hunt is on.
We used to think this act meant our dog was worried, but it’s actually just an expression of concentration. If she’s got her paw up and her head down, she’s probably about to pounce on something!
- What He Does: Take over your bed.
What It Means: It’s snuggle time!
Is your buddy a bed-hog? The reason why has less to do with claiming territory and more to do with love— he just wants to be close to you! What better place to do it than where you sleep and snuggle?
- What She Does: Lean against your legs.
What It Means: She needs some quick reassurance.
If she does it suddenly while you’re out and about, it could mean that she’s trying to feel safer and reassure herself. In general, though, this one’s pretty easy— she wants some love and affection, and to be close to you!
- What He Does: Sit on your feet.
What It Means: You’re his.
This doggy action is another one that’s as much about you as it is about your pup, and varies according to your dog’s personality. He could be doing it to simply be close to you, comfort himself after an anxious separation, claim you in front of other people or animals, or assert his dominant personality. If you know your pet well, you’ll know which interpretation best fits.
- What She Does: Hunch over.
What It Means: She’s so, so scared.
If you notice any dog hunching and trying to make herself as small as possible, it’s probably pretty easy to figure out what’s going on: she’s scared. Really scared. In fact, dogs who act this way were likely abused, so if your rescue hunches, take it as a sign she needs even more love and gentle handling.
- What He Does: Stare. A lot.
What It Means: Love!
Do you get into starting contests with your canine companion? If his expression is relaxed, you’re a winner no matter who’s victorious— he’s just gazing at you with love! And if he breaks out the unblinking stare when you leave the house, it means he has faith you’ll return and very little separation anxiety. Congrats on the healthy human-dog relationship!
Does your dog do something mysterious that’s not on this list? Then be sure to check out Diply’s original article for even more translated doggy actions. Did anything on this list surprise you? How well do you think you understand your pets?