A Guide to Dog Behavior
Like almost anything sentient in life, understanding behaviors can be the key to helping, hindering, and everything in between. When a behavior is out of place, it indicates to us that something is amiss. When it comes to pets, knowing which behaviors are ‘normal’ and which should cause concern is key to looking after their wellbeing. After all, they are unable to communicate verbally with us when something is wrong, so we must pay attention to the visual cues.
This piece will serve as a guide to navigating your dog’s behavior and what it might mean!
What is Normal Dog Behavior?
A happy and healthy dog will eat and drink regularly, interact with members of the family and the outside world, being curious about the new things they find and smell. They will like playing, exploring and they can also sleep for up to 18 hours a day!
Like humans, dogs can also get scared, especially if they are uncertain about someone or are in an uncertain situation. However, when they have learned that regular environmental stimuli will not hurt them, they become more confident.
They are great at being resilient when something had spooked them and will move on relatively quickly, depending on the experience.
It is also worth remembering that dog behavior can also be undesirable while considered normal too. Actions such as urine marking, going into the toilet inside the house, consistent barking, and mounting any object in the house are also all completely normal behaviors. So, while they may be irritating, they are not a cause for concern.
Are There Common Behaviors for Dogs?
There are many common dog behaviors that manifest physically, which could be of concern if you have not owned a dog before. These behaviors include dog panting, barking, and chewing.
Dogs pant quite heavily, especially after a good run in the park or a solid game of ball because their body temperature is released through the mouth! That being said, if your dog is panting heavily without any known causes of physical exertion, then it could be that your dog is trying to manage pain and should be seen by a vet.
Barking is another behavior that could be cause for concern depending on the circumstance but otherwise is perfectly normal behavior. It is just their way of communicating with everyone, which could be either “danger is coming!” or “there is a new person!”. The situation should help you judge accordingly, like if there is supposed to be a new person around!
What Behaviors Should Cause Concern?
There are some behaviors that can warn you that your dog is afraid. While it might become apparent that your pup is not being themselves, there are a few things to look out for which might indicate if they are experiencing fear, discomfort, or negative emotions.
Displacement behaviors such as panting when not hot, shaking their fur off when they are not wet, and yawning when they are not tired are all signs that something might not be right. Dogs may become aggressive if they are frightened; however, this is usually a last resort response after putting space between themselves and the perceived immediate threat.
Always try to understand what your dog is telling you to avoid any issue escalating.