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Dog Language – Why is my dog doing that?

Ever wondered why your dog is trying to tell you, or why they do certain things? Sometimes their behaviours are obvious, but sometimes they’ll leave you puzzled.

Whilst all dogs will develop their preferred ways of communicating with their owners, there are some behaviours that are common to all pups. We’ve pulled together some of the most common things dogs do to communicate with you.


Everyone knows that when you arrive home from a long day, (or even just putting the bins out), that your furry companion will be excited to see you and jump all over the place. However, did you know that what they’re trying to do is jump high enough to get to eye level so that they can give you a great big kiss on the lips. This is because in a doggy brain, it’s seen to be showing a higher level of affection. Dogs can show affection by lying or leaning on you, but licking you is their no.1 way of saying “I love you!”.

I know, crazy right? It doesn’t stop there. When you’re giving your dog belly rubs or pats on the head, you may have noticed that once you’ve stopped, your pooch will raise their paw and place it on you. This is not because they want you to continue, (well not just that), but because they are attempting to reciprocate the love that you just gave them. 

Woman sitting with golden retriever


Most of you will have seen videos on social media of dogs attempting to sing when their owners are playing an instrument. In fact, that’s exactly what they’re trying to do. Dogs are able to vocalise their barks and howls in an almost harmonic manner. The same thing can occur when you’re playing with them or have just arrived home. Of course, it won’t be the same quality as the Adeles and Lady Gagas of the world but they give it their best shot. 

Brown dog with open mouth in field


When your dog’s hair raises on their head, neck or body, it can mean that your pup isn’t quite sure about the situation. It’s a lot like when we get goosebumps.

So, if you notice your dog’s fur standing on end, it’s probably time to remove them from the situation so they can calm down.

Irish doodle asleep on the floor

Head and ears

No dog breed is exactly the same, so it can be easier or harder to tell their current emotion by the positioning of their head, or the pointiness of their ears. But there’s one thing that is common across the majority of dogs and that’s head tilts.

You’ve probably seen that when you speak to your dog, their head can tilt from one side to the other. This is because they’re trying to hear you better. They may even emphasize this to get your affection or a treat.

Black dog standing on two legs


Licking their lips and yawning can be a sign that your dog is uncomfortable. It’s often seen when dogs are put in situations they don’t like, such as in strange environments or being hugged.

If you notice your pup licking their lips or yawning, it’s best to remove them from the situation before it escalates into snarling or nipping.

Of course, there’s a big exception to this if they’ve just finished a meal or woken up from a nap.

Understanding your dog’s body language is key to building a strong bond with them. Equally, making sure they’re getting just the right amount of exercise and rest will help ensure their happiness and health stays in tip top condition.

It’s easy to find out whether your dog is getting the right amount of activity with a PitPat dog activity monitor. Get yours today from just £39.

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