Category Archives: dog behavior

How to Help a Grieving Dog

dog grieving katjaBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs do have emotions as deep as grief. As loyal and loving as dogs are, there is plenty to show in their behavior that our dogs do indeed grieve the loss of a companion, whether human or other. Grieving can be about change too, such as a major move. No matter the reason for their grief, there are signs you can learn to recognize and methods you can use to help your grieving dog.

Recognize and Acknowledge

Since our dogs cannot speak to us in words, it’s important to learn to understand the language they do use – that of behavior and body language. As responsible pet owners and loving companions, over time we can learn how to recognize changes out of the norm. In the case of a lost companion, the source is obvious, but grief can be caused by other things as well. What signs does your dog show when they are depressed or grieving?
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Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor?

dog humor nao-chaBy Linda Cole

Humor is defined as having the quality of being amusing or laughable. Comedians are people who have the ability to entertain and make us laugh, but what about our canine friends? Can they understand the concept of humor? One of my dogs, Riley, enjoys a good back scratching by rolling over on a patch of dry dirt, flinging her back legs in the air and squirming her bottom back and forth as she squeals with delight. I laugh every time and she seems to understand it’s something that amuses me. Canines are good at watching us and learning from our actions, but are they capable of understanding when they do something funny that makes us laugh and then repeat a particular behavior for our amusement? Do dogs have a sense of humor?

Anthropomorphism is when people attribute human characteristics to other animals, and it’s not difficult for many pet owners to see human characteristics in their dog or cat. There are no “proof positive” studies on canine humor, but researchers have found that dogs can laugh and express their happiness when playing with other dogs or humans. The laugh is a distinct pattern of breathy pants which is different from panting that indicates your pet is hot or tired from racing around. It’s not uncommon for a laughing dog to smile. Dogs are very capable of distinguishing laughter of other canines from normal panting. Research has shown that playing audio recordings of these distinct pants elicits a positive response from shelter dogs and may reduce their stress, promote positive social behavior and increase their chances of finding a forever home.
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Why Do Dogs Roll Around on Objects?

dogs roll tony alterBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs roll on their backs to show submissiveness or trust, and as an act of defense when fighting. They might also roll around on a toy, food or something they find during play or while exploring outside. When your dog rolls on his back on an object, he is doing it for a reason.


A dog rolling on their back may be showing that they are content. During play, a dog can expresses happiness and pleasure at the activity with every part of his body. Have you ever watched a dog rolling around on your bed on his back? It may just feel good to him. Certainly the exuberance with which they perform the activity is a sign of happiness. Rolling around on a favorite toy, for example, may just make them happy knowing that is their toy and they are staking their claim to it.
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5 Tips for Good Dog Park Behavior

dog park dave fayramBy Langley Cornwell

Being an owner of a dog at a dog park is a lot like being the parent of a toddler at a grocery store; only the behavior of the loved one you are at the dog park with can be a lot more uncertain. In fact, some people take their dogs to dog parks simply because they have nowhere else to let them run around. Because of this, the dog in question may have poor manners and pent up energy to deal with. This doesn’t have to be your problem. By following these five tips, you can make the best of the situation.

Do Leash Training

If your dog isn’t trained to behave around other dogs, it’s a good idea to start out with some basic leash training. Yes, you want your dog to be able to run free, but you can’t just open the gate and hope for the best. Leash training is a great way to get your dog to stick close to you whether a lead is attached or not. Dogs learn how to heel while on a leash, and can gradually move onto heeling without the leash. This is a crucial step in getting your dog to obey other rudimentary commands so you can have more control over him at a dog park.
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Can Dogs Recognize Their Owner’s Face?

dogs recognize christopherBy Linda Cole

We know that our dogs can tell us apart from a stranger. They know our individual scent and the sound of our voice, but just how well do they know our face? Could a dog pick out the person he loves by appearance alone? According to a 2013 study, a dog can not only recognize his owner’s face among others, he can also recognize them in a picture.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland trained 23 pet dogs and eight kennel dogs to lie still in front of a TV screen as they watched a series of images while their eye movements were tracked. Each dog was tested individually. The dogs were shown images that included photos of familiar human faces and dogs, as well as faces of people and canines they had never met. The pictures on the screen alternated between upright and inverted.

Using eye-tracking technology, sensors were fitted just above the dog’s eyes to determine where he looked and how long his gaze was when watching each image. When a picture appeared, the first place each dog looked was in the area around the eyes, which indicated they understood the images were faces. Researchers found familiar faces and the eyes held each dog’s gaze longer than unfamiliar faces. All of the dogs gazed longer at faces of their own species, however, than any of the human faces including pictures of people they knew.

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5 Signs Your Dog Isn’t Feeling Well

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs cannot verbally tell us when they are not feeling well. They show it in altered behavior or physical cues. As we get to know the normal ways they act, any changes in their actions and reactions may be a sign that something is wrong. Here are five things to watch for.

Physical Symptoms

The most obvious signs that your dog is not feeling well may be a visible injury, infection or vomiting, but other signs take observation skills on your part. Skin lesions or irritating rashes, coughing, difficulty breathing, lumps, discolored eyes, excessive scratching, abnormal drooling or bad breath are all possible signs that can mean your dog is not feeling up to par. They may be signs of a simple condition that is easily treated, or of something more serious. If you have doubts or you can’t easily figure out what is actually wrong, go see your vet.

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