We love our dogs, but sometimes they’re just plain weird. Like when they follow us into the bathroom or whine for seemingly no reason. Why do they do these things? It turns out dogs aren’t as mysterious as we think they are, and there are simple explanations for their odd behaviors.
Once you get really good at recognizing certain cues and body language, you’ll be an expert at deciphering what it is your dog is trying to tell you. Then, you won’t be confused the next time you catch your pup doing something strange, like curling up into a teeny-tiny ball even though you paid a lot of money for an extra large dog bed.
Caring for a dog is like raising a child. It’s hard to not want to cuddle them 24/7 when they’re first born. But then they learn how to walk and talk, and you realize they’re wonderful and complex creatures with their own way of doing things. Of course, figuring out their thoughts and emotions is a lot harder, especially when the only words they know are gibberish. Lucky for you, we’ve put together this handy guide of all the things you’ve ever wondered about your dog with a handy explanation. (We can’t help with your baby, though, sorry!)
Keep scrolling to learn more about your dog’s quirks.
What do puppy eyes mean?
If you've been on the receiving end of hard-to-resist puppy eyes, you'll know how hard it is to keep your calm. It's like your puppy knows exactly how to get what he or she wants, whether it's more food or forgiveness for knocking over the trash can. According to research, dogs are more likely to switch to this expression if they know humans are watching. The jury's still out regarding whether dogs use puppy eyes specifically manipulate us, but we're pretty sure our sneaky pups know all the tricks when it comes to getting your dinner leftovers.
Click here to learn more about what puppy eyes mean.
Do dogs get jealous?
Pet owners will recognize the looks of betrayal they get from their dogs if they pet another animal. "How dare you cheat on me," they seem to say. Or are we projecting our guilt onto our animals? Do dogs actually get jealous? The research seems to indicate that yes, dogs do in fact experience jealousy. While you probably can't guarantee that you'll never pet another dog in your life, there are a few other things you can do to prevent your dog's distress and jealousy.
Click here to learn more about why dogs get jealous and how to prevent it.
What does my dog's barking mean?
Dogs are very communicative animals, as evidenced by their many different barks. But what do they all mean? If you pay attention to a few different cues, including pitch, duration, and frequency, you can probably figure out what your dog is saying. Or, you can check out our handy guide and save yourself the trouble!
Click here to figure out what your dog wants based on his or her bark.
What do dogs dream about?
Most of us imagine that our dogs are dreaming about fetch when we notice them kicking their legs while asleep. But is that really true? Some researchers believe that dogs are capable of dreaming, and that they often dream of their owners (aww!) when they're asleep.
Click here to learn more about dogs and their dreams.
Why does my dog curl up into a little ball when he sleeps?
Dogs have preferred sleeping positions, just like humans. So while there's probably nothing wrong with your dog wanting to curl up in a little ball to get some shut-eye, you may want to check that your pup isn't doing it because he or she is cold.
Click here to learn more about why dogs curl up when they sleep, plus ways to make Fido comfortable.
Why does my dog growl, whine, grunt, and howl?
Learning about the different sounds your dog can make is key to having the deepest relationship with your pet. This way, you'll better understand your pup's mood and be able to calm them when problems arise.
Click here to learn more about the many sounds dogs make and what they mean.
Do dogs feel love?
As devoted pet owners, we all want to believe our dogs love us. But studying an animal's emotions is tricky because it typically expresses itself different than humans. That said, some researchers believe dogs are capable of feeling love, or at least something similar to our concept of love.
Click here to learn more about how dogs experience love and how you can tell if your dog loves you.
Can dogs be allergic to humans?
The idea that dogs could be allergic to their owners makes us so sad, but it's a real possibility. It's rare that dogs and cats develop an allergy to human dander, but it does happen.
Click here to learn more about pet allergies and how to tell if your dog is allergic to you.
What makes dogs fat?
We're all probably guilty of feeding our dogs too many treats sometimes, and this bad habit comes with a cost. A December 2018 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine outlining the effects of being overweight on a dog's lifespan noted that all the animals in the study — more than 50,000 dogs across 12 different breeds of varying sizes — lived shorter lives if they were overweight. Of course, there are simple steps you can take to getting your dog to a healthier weight.
Click here to learn more about what causes dogs to get fat and how you can prevent it from happening to your precious pooch.
Why does my dog follow me into the bathroom?
Having your dog follow you everywhere, including into the bathroom, can be annoying. But take heart, this behavior is a sign that your dog really loves you. That said, just make sure your dog's attachment to you is healthy and not the sign of underlying anxiety.
Click here to learn more about why your dog is constantly following you.
Should you pet your dog before leaving?
It's hard to resist petting your dog before you leave, especially when you get those heartbreaking puppy dog eyes. And research shows that you shouldn't! Gently stroking your pups before heading out the door can reduce their stress, making the separation just a little bit easier.
Click here to learn more about the therapeutic benefits of petting your dog.
Do guide dogs know their owners are blind?
Dogs are incredibly perceptive; it's why certain breeds can alert their owners when the person's blood sugar is low. So, would guide dogs know their owners are blind or at least realize that their owner is different than other people? According to experts, dogs probably don't know that their owners are blind per se, but they learn that their owners respond better to vocal cues rather than visual cues. Not that that makes any difference in terms of how much they love us.
Click here to learn more about how guide dogs communicate with their owners who are blind.