My dog Max enjoys sitting outside in his pen on a low table so he can see the surrounding area – just in case he needs to protect his turf from a squirrel, cat or other “dangers” in the yard. When he spots an intruder he leaps from his perch and races to the gate, barking as he runs. Then he trots excitedly back to me, barking as if to say “Come and look.” Pets place their trust in us and have many reasons why they might seek us out. It may be nothing more than the excitement of seeing another animal, but it could also be because they need your help or are trying to warn you of danger.
Like human family members, our dogs and cats might be off doing their own thing, such as chasing imaginary prey in their sleep, barking at squirrels, or gazing through a window at the birds. Most pets aren’t able to spend their entire waking moments with their owner, and they enjoy having some alone time. However, if you have a strong bond with your dog or cat, sooner or later they will come to you for a relaxing massage, back scratching, some playtime or just to say hello.
It doesn’t take long for most people to learn the signals their dog uses when he needs to go outside. Pacing back and forth and whining are obvious signs. So are barking, pawing your leg or standing by the door you normally use to take him outside. But some canines may come to you and wait for you to read their mind. One of my dogs puts his head on my knee and whines.
You can find plenty of stories online of dogs and cats warning their owners of danger. Pets will likely detect the smell of smoke or sounds of danger before we notice there’s a problem. Pay attention if your pet comes to you and appears nervous or upset. If your dog or cat wakes you up at night, it’s always a good idea to get up and make sure everything is alright.
To Comfort You
Our canine and feline friends know when we aren’t feeling well or are upset. They will come to us if they feel we need to be comforted. I had a cat who only wanted to sit on my lap and snuggle if I was sad or feeling a bit under the weather. Some dogs might come to you and rest their head on your lap, or bring you one of their favorite toys as their way of giving you comfort. A 2012 study found that dogs can not only feel empathy, but they can also show us sympathy and want to comfort us when we’re distressed.
Hurt/Not Feeling Well
Before dogs and cats became domesticated, they were on their own in the wild. There wasn’t someone around to help them if they were injured or sick. Their natural instinct is to try and hide injuries or sickness because both are a sign of weakness that predators recognize. However, most pets who have a solid relationship with their owner will seek them out for help. Anytime your pet isn’t acting like their normal self, a trip to the vet is recommended.
Dogs and cats can be fearful of an approaching thunderstorm and may come to you for comfort. Our pets often know a storm is coming before we are aware of it. They react to not only thunder, but the wind, rain, lightning, odors and even changes in barometric pressure. Cats are more likely to hide and not as apt to suffer from severe noise phobias as dogs.
Sometimes a pet might come to you for reassurance that everything is OK. Other times a pet may seek you out because he’s hungry and wants some CANIDAE treats, or just wants to cuddle. Regardless of the reason, our pets go to who they trust and love.
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