Unraveling the mysteries of your pet's behavior can be both fascinating and heartwarming. From circling before sleep to head tilting, each quirky action holds a deeper meaning. Discover why your dog howls at you, why cats love cardboard boxes, and the surprising reasons behind your pet's unique gestures. Explore the hidden language of your furry friends as we delve into their behaviors, shedding light on their instincts, emotions, and the special ways they communicate their love and trust. Get ready to understand the captivating world of your pets.
Circling Before Sleeping
Dogs and cats go in a circle before they sleep as a form of protection. It gives them one last chance to fully survey their surroundings before falling asleep. This would be an important thing to do in the wild to keep themselves and their pack safe from predators.
Holding Up One Paw
Have you ever wondered if something was wrong with your dog because they were holding their paw up? No need to worry! For dogs, this paw motion is more akin to a person scratching their head because they are thinking or curious about something. Now you know that your dog is just deep in thought when they do this!
Getting In Boxes
Whose cat doesn’t like to get in boxes? They sleep in them. They hide in them. They play in them. Some cats even stuff themselves into boxes far too small for them! The reason that cats love boxes so much is that boxes evoke their predator side. They can hide and observe their prey (or your toes).
Bringing You Their Toys
When your dog brings you their toys it might be because they want to play with you. However, sometimes, this happens when the pet wants to give you a gift and show you how much they love you. It is a good idea to praise your dog when they do this so they will show you love and invite you to play more often.
Showing You Their Belly
Both cats and dogs are willing to roll over and show you their belly. When a dog lays on its back and shows you its belly, it’s a sign of trust. Cats are more likely to show you their belly while stretching, but just like dogs, it means they know that they can trust you.
Shaking Their Head
It’s so cute when dogs shake their heads and their ears flop back and forth! Dogs do this to get anything out of their ears that shouldn’t be there. It is also an effective way to rid of any irritation or itching the dog may feel. It is far safer than using claws to scratch the tender ears.
Making a Mad Dash
Some pet parents call it the zoomies. When your dog or cat just takes off running in what seems like a mad dash to wherever their feet take them. To you, it may appear to have no rhyme or reason, but your pet is experiencing an energy burst and getting exercise, which is a great thing.
Like humans, cats and dogs can always use a good stretch. From time to time you will see your pet stretch its legs or back. Did you know that sometimes it can also be a sign of endearment? If your dog stretches when they see you after a while apart, it means that they are glad to see you!
Animals crouch to gain leverage before they jump. However, there are other reasons that animals crouch down low to the ground. A pet unsure of their surroundings may crouch down and observe what is happening around them. They may also be anticipating arising to greet or play with a companion.
Dogs pant as a natural cooling mechanism. Unlike humans, dogs have limited sweat glands, mainly in their paw pads, so they release excess heat by panting. This process allows moisture on their tongues and respiratory tract to evaporate, regulating body temperature. Panting is vital for preventing overheating, especially during physical activity or in warm environments.
Howling is much more than barking. Your dog’s whole body changes position and is part of a howl. This isn’t a random bark. This is a distinct form of communication. It is your dog’s way of saying they are lonely or calling their pack back to them. It can even be a mating call.
Laying on Your Stuff
Cats are the most common culprits, but dogs do it, too. Laying on your stuff- from clothes to books to computers, pets lay on your things to be closer to you. It also usually works to make them the center of your attention. This is why it is so hard to use a computer with a cat around.
Licking Your Face
When a dog licks your face, you can assume that they are happy to see you. This is a greeting that lets you know that they come in peace and are friendly. This is a dog who is ready to be your friend or they already are!
A dog might yawn because it is tired. Another reason is that it is showing passive behavior in a group situation. In other words, if a dog is hanging out and feeling comfortable, they might yawn to show everyone how relaxed they feel. So, if your dog yawns around others, you can bet they are feeling safe and laid back.
Rolling On The Grass
If your dog likes to play outside, you have no doubt seen them roll around in the grass. Dogs do this to pick up scents. Rolling in the grass gives the dog the scent of the area they are playing in. This is believed to be an instinctual behavior for dogs.
Showing Their Teeth
When a dog or cat shows their teeth it is definitely a sign of aggression. Not so fast, though! Some aggression can be just a part of the play. Don’t be too worried if your dog shows its teeth during a game of tug of war or while playing fetch.
Dogs tilting their heads make the cutest photos, especially when their ears are perked up and attentive. The true meaning behind this pose is a desire to understand you better. They are showing you their facial expression and adjusting their ears to hear you better.
It’s no secret that cats love catnip. Whether sniffing it, eating it, or rolling around it, they have a very definite reaction to this little herb. The chemical in catnip is called nepetalactone and it makes cats go nuts running around, playing, and usually sleeping afterward.
Shaking When Wet
Animals can help themselves dry off faster by rapidly shaking all over. It shakes their coat, helping to shed the larger droplets of water. If you have ever bathed a dog, you know how this works. Cats shake off to get dry too, or to remove any other unwanted substance from their fur.
Would it surprise you to know that cats don’t meow to communicate with other cats? Cats make all sorts of noises to communicate with other cats like hissing, purring, and growling, but when they meow it is to communicate with humans. Many researchers believe that cats are trying to emulate human speech patterns and noises when they are meowing.
Tail wagging is not the same for dogs as it is for cats. When cats wag their tails it is usually an indicator that they are unhappy. With dogs, the opposite is usually true. Dogs wag their tails when they are happy or excited.
Rolling Onto Their Back
When two dogs are play fighting (or even fighting for real) one dog may roll onto its back to show subservience. This is kind of like giving up or crying uncle. Hopefully, you only see this happen when dogs are genuinely playing. If this happens too often, you may have a case of doggy bullying.
Chewing Up Everything
The thing about puppies and kittens is that they are babies. Like other babies, they have teeth that are coming in and they want to chew on everything. Since they are also developing super strong jaws, this means that teething can be destructive. Better get them a toy to chew on!
Staring Into Your Eyes
Does your pet take “puppy dog eyes’ to a whole new level? It turns out that these sweet and oh-so-cute looks that pets give have a wonderful meaning. When your pet stares deep into your eyes it is a sign that they love you.
They Sleep In Your Bed
This might annoy some people, especially if you have spent a small fortune on a fancy pet bed. Your pet wants to sleep in your bed to be closer to you and your scent likely makes them feel safe. It is also likely that your bed feels pretty comfy to them.
Cats and dogs eat grass when they have an upset stomach. It isn’t bad for them as long as the grass doesn’t have pesticides on it. If your pet has prolonged issues with an upset stomach, it could be time for a visit to your local vet.
Cats Scratching Everything
Cats scratch to maintain healthy claws by removing the outer layer, marking territory with scent glands in their paws, and stretching their muscles. It's a natural behavior that helps them communicate, exercise, and keep their claws functional. Providing appropriate scratching posts can redirect this behavior and protect furniture.
Following You Around
Puppies and kittens imprint on their owners. This means that they see their owners as parents. They are following you around expecting love and attention- as well as a treat now and again. They also have a keen interest in discovering what you are doing.
Flicking Their Ears
Both dogs and cats have very sensitive ears. Sometimes they flick them because they feel touched or blown on. Animals also flick their ears when they hear an unusual sound or are trying to hear a noise clearer. They will also turn their ears in the direction they perceive a sound to be coming from.
Leaning On You
Dogs lean on their owners as a sign of affection, trust, and a desire for closeness. It's a way for them to feel secure and bonded. Leaning provides comfort, and dogs often seek physical contact to strengthen the emotional connection with their owners, reinforcing the sense of safety and support.
Sitting On You
When your dog sits on you they are offering you their protection. They might sit on your feet or sit with their feet touching you. This is how they let you know they have your back. It is very much part of a dog's nature to want to protect their pack and the people that they love.
Raised hackles on a cat or dog means that they are upset. They do this when they are super aware of the possibility of danger. In this way, they are using their fur to puff up and make themselves seem as large and fierce as possible to any would-be predators.
Cats kneading seems so sweet and innocent unless they get too excited and the claws come out. Why do cats knead on you? Researchers have different ideas, but most think it is a cat's way of showing affection back to you for caring for them.
If your pet is pacing around the house your first guess should be that they are wanting to take a bathroom break outside. They may also be bored or want to run off some excess energy. If your pet is pacing around, you should try to figure out the cause and address it.
Cats jump to get away from you while dogs jump so they can get to you. Cats jump to get to a higher space away from everyone. Dogs jump up on you as a greeting and often jump when playing as well.
Nibbling On You
Cats may nibble as a form of communication or to show affection. It can be an instinctive behavior from kittenhood, associated with nursing. Nibbling might also be a sign of contentment, akin to grooming. However, if it becomes too aggressive, it could indicate overstimulation, and providing toys or distractions can help redirect this behavior.
Smelling the Air
Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell, and sniffing the air helps them gather information about their environment. They can detect scents, identify specific odors, and even track trails. Smelling the air is a way for dogs to explore and understand their surroundings, communicate with other animals, and gather valuable information about potential threats or interesting stimuli.
Squinting their Eyes
Dogs and cats may narrow their eyes as a sign of contentment or trust. It's often referred to as "soft eyes" and indicates a relaxed state. Additionally, squinting can be a response to bright light or a defensive mechanism, conveying submission or calmness in social interactions. This behavior fosters positive communication between the animals and their owners.
Head butting is a common affectionate behavior in pets. Cats and dogs may gently bump their heads against you as a sign of love, trust, or seeking attention. It's a way for them to mark you with their scent glands, displaying a strong bond and reinforcing their connection with you through physical contact.
Dogs can exhibit a "smile" as a non-aggressive expression of happiness or submission. This often involves a relaxed open mouth, sometimes with a wagging tail. It signals contentment and a positive emotional state. Dogs may smile in response to positive interactions, such as playtime or being greeted by their owners, showcasing their friendly disposition.