8 Most Common Behaviors In Dogs And What They Mean

by Anne-Marie Smith
common behaviors in dogs

It’s the wish of all dog owners to have a good relationship with their dogs. However, since dogs can’t speak, it’s your responsibility to know and understand their different behaviors and what they mean to be able to relate well with them.

Most common behaviors in dogs

Staying in tune with your dog’s body language and understanding what his different behaviors mean can go along way in improving your relationship with him. This article discusses 8 most common behaviors in dogs to help you understand your pet’s body language and needs better.

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Barking is a very important means of communication in dogs. They bark for several different reasons. For instance, when a visitor comes to your home, your dog will bark to alert you of the new arrival. Also when you’re in danger, your dog will bark to raise an alarm like when there’s an intruder in your home/backyard or a fire in your flat.

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Panting is another common dog behavior. A dog in pain or discomfort will pant as a coping mechanism. In addition, when it’s hot, your canine friend will sweat through the pad of his feet. However, panting is the main means through which dogs expel their body heat. It helps them to regulate their body temperature.


Have you come home one day to find a heap of soil in your backyard or front yard? If so, you’re not alone. Dogs love digging. It’s a natural behavior that’s written very deep in their DNA. They dig for several reasons, for instance, when they want to unearth foods like small rodents.

In addition, when it’s hot, they will also dig a hole in the earth to hide from the heat. There are also dogs that will dig below your fence to be able to escape as well as those that like digging to hide food.

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Puppies love chewing. They’ll chew your arm, leg, favorite pair of shoe, sofa cushions, as well as their toys. Just like growing babies, puppies use their teeth to explore and understand the world around them. Also, when their new set of teeth erupt, they tend to chew a lot as a way of relieving the pain they feel. This is a behavior that should stop over time.

However, there are some dogs that continue chewing even when they’re fully grown. Everyone would feel bad if they came home to find the arm of their sofa or favorite shirt shredded to pieces by their adult dog. But it happens more often than not.

Usually, dogs that experience separation anxiety tend to chew a lot. Underlying medical problems, stress, boredom as well as instinct can also cause your canine friend to resort to chewing. The best way to alleviate destructive chewing in dogs is to identify the root cause of his chewing habit and deal with it effectively.

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Dogs that Bite

Dog bites are very common all over the world, especially among children. Biting people and other dogs is their way of telling the world their present state of mind. Your pet could be nervous, fearful, or reacting to something you did to him. Staying in tune with your pet’s body language is the best way to prevent dog bites.

Jumping Up

If you’re a first-time dog owner, seeing your dog jumping up and down when you return home might be exciting. The first thing that comes to your mind is that your pet missed you and is excited to see you. That’s why he’s jumping up to greet you.

But the truth is that jumping up is your dog’s way of asserting his dominance over you. Therefore, when you show him affection when he jumps, you’re only reinforcing this bad behavior.

Separation Anxiety in dogs

Some dogs experience separation anxiety when you leave them home alone. As a way of coping with the loneliness, they resort to barking nonstop, chewing your stuff, digging, going to the bathroom in the house, or running away.

The good news is that there are things you can do to help your pet overcome his separation anxiety. This includes saying goodbye long before you leave home and practicing the no touch, no talk, no eye contact rule before leaving, and after getting back. You should also consider taking him for a long walk and feeding him before leaving. This last tip ensures that your pet is in a resting mode throughout the day, which helps to calm his anxiety.

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Shaking and Shivering

Lastly, dogs shake, shiver, and tremble. They do this for several reasons, some good, others bad. For instance, after being rained on, swimming, or taking a bath, your pooch will shake off the excess water from his fur to help him dry off faster. Also, when it’s cold, your dog will shiver just like humans do. Other possible reasons why your canine companion shakes or shivers include old age, excitement, anxiety, stress, pain, underlying medical conditions, and intelligence.

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Final Thoughts

All in all, when you understand what your dog’s behavior means, you’ll be better prepared to recognize his needs and fulfill them. This will go along way in preventing unwanted behaviors and improving your relationship with him.

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