Category Archives: dog behavior

5 Ways Dogs Say Thank You

dog thankful andreBy Laurie Darroch

Even though our dogs don’t say thank you in words and may not truly understand the concept of giving thanks, they do say thank you to their human companions in their own unique ways. Dogs definitely do show their gratitude for our care, companionship and love. Here are 5 ways dogs thank us.

Licks and Tail Wagging

Although licks may be interpreted as a sign of affection, a soothing habit or a way for a dog to taste whatever is on your skin, licks can also be a way your dog says thank you for coming home or for giving them food, love and attention.

Tail wagging has different interpretations as well, but give your dog attention or a CANIDAE treat, or simply come home from a day away, and they are so grateful and happy to have you home.

However you interpret either physical act, your dog may simply be saying, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! ” and “I love you too!” while he repeatedly licks you and wags his tail exuberantly.
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6 Reasons Your Pet Might Seek You Out

pets seek us dennisBy Linda Cole

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.
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Five Smells That Dogs Don’t Like

dog smells joaquinBy Laurie Darroch

When your dog is getting into everything, you can use particular smells she doesn’t like to help keep her out of trouble. If she is in a hyper pestering mood, ruining your personal belongings, digging in your yard or messing up any other area, there are smells you can use to deter her. It’s natural behavior for a dog to chew and dig, but with the help of their sensitive sense of smell you can train them to stay away from places or things you don’t want them getting into.


Chili peppers get their kick from capsaicin, the main ingredient that gives them their spicy flavor and smell.  The spicier the pepper is, the more likely your dog will not care for the smell.

My dog hates jalapeno peppers. When she is being a pest, all I have to do is hold one up in front of her to make her back away. It works like a charm and as an added bonus, there is no mess. If she wants attention when I can’t give it to her and tries to get on me or in the middle of something I’m working on, I simply hold up the pepper and she stays away until I’m done. It doesn’t hurt her. Watching her stick her hind quarters in the air and make faces at the dangling pepper always makes me laugh, but it works.
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Why Dogs Dig, and How to Stop It

dogs dig eselsmannBy Linda Cole

When you peer out a window and see dirt flying in the garden, this can set in motion a frantic race to save the plants from a digging dog. The sight of a dog happily destroying a prized rose may even cause a serious gardener to have nightmares. Dogs dig for a variety of reasons, and stopping the behavior can be difficult. The best place to start is to figure out what is motivating your dog to dig, and then try to find a solution.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Terrier breeds were bred to hunt and follow burrowing vermin underground, but most dogs picking up the scent of a mouse, mole or other small animal hiding in a hole will likely dig to find the critter. It’s a natural instinct that’s hard to control. Some dogs enjoy digging and others learn that they get attention for doing it, i.e., they get yelled at. Negative attention is better than none at all, in their mind. Random holes in an area are a good indication that your dog is just trying to entertain himself, especially if he’s in an area with sandy or loose soil.
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Are Dogs Hardwired to Listen to Us?

dogs hardwired dan lentzBy Linda Cole

We express ourselves every day in different ways, especially through verbal communication. You can usually tell if someone close to you is happy, angry or sad by the sound of their voice. As it turns out, human and canine brains are very similar when it comes to understanding the components of human speech. According to a 2014 study, dogs are hardwired to listen to us in much the same way we are hardwired to listen to others.

It’s no easy task sometimes to get a dog’s attention, which leaves one to wonder if he even heard what you said – let alone understood your words. However, dogs are very capable of understanding human speech as well as picking up on the tonal complexity in speech. If your dog doesn’t listen to you, it’s not because he isn’t paying attention. He can differentiate between human speech that has meaningful words and sounds with only emotional inflections. Scientists have known for some time that dogs “get” how we say things, but little is actually known on whether canines understand what we say to them.

The human brain processes important verbal information in speech in the left hemisphere, but the characteristic parts of speech are processed in the right hemisphere – e.g., the speaker is male or female, someone familiar to you, and emotional cues. When we listen to someone speaking, we hear the meaning of words in the right ear and emotional cues in the left ear. Most of us have a left-right cross link in our auditory organs; in other words, the right ear hears meaningful speech and is linked to the left hemisphere of the brain while the left ear hears emotional cues and is linked to the right hemisphere.
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The Science Behind a Dog’s “Guilty Look”

guilty look iconoclastBy Linda Cole

Anthropomorphism is when we place human characteristics or behaviors on animals, plants, and inanimate objects. Dog owners sometimes use it to confirm the guilt of their pet after finding a torn up pillow or other signs of misbehaving. It’s obvious who the culprit is when there’s only one pet in the home. When there’s multiple pets, placing blame on the one with the “guilty look” could be indicting an innocent pup, which can damage your relationship with your dog. There is science that explains what a dog’s guilty look actually is.

In recent years, scientists have begun studying the complexity of the dog’s mind, how they view their world, and which emotions they experience. We know dogs feel fear, anxiety, grief, affection, suspicion and other emotions, but not necessarily in the same way we do. Guilt is an emotional response acknowledging wrongdoing, which is something dog owners assume their pet understands because of the “guilty look.” In reality, that look isn’t what it appears to be.
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