Warrington, Cheshire

15 Things Your Dog Wants You To Know


Our understanding of canine behaviour, and how to modify it, has really come a long way over the years, driving the positive dog training world forward. But sometimes, we expect too much from our dogs, such as unrealistic reasoning abilities and impeccable manners, and we forget to allow our dogs to just be dogs. And just like us, our dogs won’t be a well-mannered, happy-go-lucky dog every single day in every single situation. Take the time to understand how your dog feels and learns, so that you can effectively communicate with them. Here are some things your dog would like you to know:

1. When I wag my tail, this doesn’t always mean I’m happy. 

Of course dogs will wag their tails when they are happy and playful, but this can also be a warning sign or stress signal that indicate they’re scared or anxious. You cannot judge how your dog feels just by looking at their tail, you must also consider the rest of their body language as well as the environment and situation they are in.

2. Please leave me be when I am eating or sleeping.

Our dogs are entitled to eat their meals uninterrupted and sleep peacefully. If you constantly mither them and disrupt their sleep and mealtimes, of course they’re going to become frustrated. Allow your dogs the space and time they need to eat and rest, without constantly disturbing them. From puppies, teach your children that the pup should be left alone whenever they go onto their bed – this is their safe place. If your dog already shows signs of reactivity whenever you go near their bowl, hire a trainer to avoid making this behaviour worse. 

3. When I’m rewarded, I’m likely to repeat the behaviour. 

Our dogs are more than happy to do what we ask of them once we make it clear what we are asking for, make it fun and reward when they get it right! Rewarding your dog doesn’t always mean food, it can also be vocally or physically. If you shout at your dog when they display a bad behaviour, you’re still providing them with the attention they seek, inadvertently rewarding the behaviour. Scolding your dog may also lead to fear, and they don’t always understand what they did wrong! Positive reinforcement is a much more effective method to reinforce good behaviour.

4. I understand your actions much more than your words. 

Dogs are experts at reading our body language, understanding the mood we are in based on our facial expressions and body movements. What we say to our dogs doesn’t matter half as much as what we do for them, so be mindful of the nonverbal signals you are sending to your dog. 

5. I don’t misbehave to get revenge. 

Have you ever wondered whether your dog chewed your sofa as punishment for leaving them or not providing enough attention. Dog do not understand the concept of revenge. When a dog misbehaves, this can be due to fear, anxiety, boredom, frustration or another unmet need, such as the lack of physical exercise and mental stimulation!

6. Please listen when I tell you I don’t want to be greeted.

While many dogs are happy to greet every single dog along their walk, as well as every person, sometimes, like us, they just don’t want to meet everybody. If your dog suddenly reacts while greeting another dog and maybe tries to move away, listen to them and create some distance. 

7. Consoling me isn’t always appropriate. 

When our dogs appear frightened or unsure of something, it is in our nature to console with praise and attention. By doing this, we are telling our dog that they are doing the correct thing by being afraid, and they are likely to repeat the anxious behaviour. 

8. I know how you feel. 

Does your dog seem to stay by your side when you’re feeling ill or upset? Dogs are extremely skilled at perceiving our emotions. They know when we are angry, upset, happy etc. just by reading our facial expressions and body language – although they cannot comprehend the reason for our mood.

9. I am incapable of feeling guilt. 

Does your dog show the famous ‘guilty look’ whenever he has done something you perceive to be wrong? Believe it or not, he is not feeling guilty. That look on your dogs face is an appeasement reaction to your tone of voice, facial expression and body language! He know’s you’re upset, but he doesn’t always know why. 

10. I get confused when you change the rules. 

Inconsistency in house rules within the home is a recipe for disaster. If you let your dog on the sofa, but your partner doesn’t, how can you expect your dog to understand when he is and isn’t allowed on the sofa? Or maybe you allow him to jump up at you but get mad when he does this to stangers? Be clear and consistent with your rules and your dog will learn the boundaries very quickly!

11. I know when you’re late. 

While our dogs don’t experience time in the same way we do, they are in tune with regular patterns and routines. They can detect changes within the environment that trigger certain events. For example, the sun comes up, humans get up, he gets fed, humans leave, car noises are heard, humans return, he gets walked, fed and then sleeps. When this routine is disrupted and cues are missed, your dog knows. 

12. I don’t always like to cuddle. 

Cuddling is a nice human interaction, but this isn’t the same for dogs. When we place our arms around our dogs, many dogs start to feel trapped and threatened. Be sure to read your dogs signals when you cuddle, if they start to lick their lips, turn away and don’t come back for more, back off! If they start to paw you, move closer and snuggle into you, your dog wants to cuddle.

13. I am an individual. 

While dogs of the same breed will share similar characteristics, every dog is unique and have different genetic predispositions, learning history and experiences throughout their life. Comparing your dog to a previous pet or somebody else’s dog is not fair. You should learn your dogs preferences, motivators, fears and needs to better understand them and their behaviours.

14. Please don’t rush me when I go to the toilet. 

When you let your dog out to toilet, they have a process to find the perfect spot with the right smells to mark their territory correctly. Please don’t rush them by constantly tugging on their lead.

15. I really love you!

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