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Communication begins with proper understanding. If you want to start building a better relationship with your dog, you need to understand the causes and meaning of his most common behaviors. Let us take a look:
- Panting – Dogs release sweat through their feet pads. Most of their bodily heat is expunged through their panting mouths. It is their main means of regulating their body temperature. A lot of dogs also pant when they are trying to cope with pain.
- Barking – Dogs usually bark when they are trying to raise an alarm to possible danger. They also do it to herald new arrival. Barking is one of the most important forms of canine communication.
- Chewing – Just like children, dogs like to chew on toys to relive the pain they experience when new teeth set in. If you have a full grown dog, you might come home to find your favorite shoes or couch cushions ripped to pieces. However, you need to keep in mind that they don’t do it because they like the taste of leather or cotton. A fully grown dog that exhibits regressive behavior might be experiencing separation anxiety or general anxiety.
- Digging – Digging is one of the most instinctual activities practiced by canines. The behavior is hard-wired into their DNA. Dogs that move around in natural packs dig to uncover or hide their food. A den dug in cool earth also provides them shelter from sweltering temperatures.
- Jumping up – Although it seems like an enthusiastic greeting or play behavior, jumping is a clear-cut sign that your dog is trying to assert his dominance over you. If you encourage jumping with affection, you are just reinforcing his behavior. Talk to an animal behaviorist if you find the behavior getting out of hand.
- Biting – Dogs tend to bite people as a way to communicate their current mental state. The dog might be reacting out of fear, aggression or nervousness. You need to pay close attention to the body language of your dog if you want to avoid bites.
- Separation anxiety– Dogs usually live and travel around in packs. It is quite natural for them to feel the pangs of anxiety when they are separated from their pack leader or pack mates. Take your dog for a nice and long walk if you are going to leave him alone in the house for a long time. That is the best way to curb his anxiety.
Once you start seeing these behavioral cues in context, you will be better equipped to tell when the needs of your pack are not being met. If the needs of your dog go unfulfilled, it will lead to the appearance of unwanted behaviors. As a rule of thumb, you need to make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise and discipline before you reward him with affection.