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8 Secrets Your Dog Won’t Tell You

8 Secrets Your Dog Won’t Tell You

If dogs could talk, they would tell you these secrets in human language. But they have other ways of communicating these messages, if we are really listening and observing them.

See Also: Translating Woof Into the Human Language. Seriously?

1. I’d rather work for a living than lie around all day with nothing to do. Give me a purpose, and I’ll be happy.

People enjoy doing work they love and getting well paid for it. Why wouldn’t dogs? People also love doing work that encourages them to learn. Dogs are no different. Better yet, turn work into play, and tails will be wagging!

See also: Do Dogs Enjoy Working For a Living?

2. I don’t like to be hugged. Why are you always putting your arms around me?

In human behavior, a hug is a sign of affection. I know it can be tempting to say, “I love you” to your dog with a hug. But, that’s not what it means to him. In dogs it represents social status and they can easily feel like they are being restrained. It’s an invasion of their space. Some dogs can tolerate hugs, but many can’t.

Woman Expresses Love With a Hug, Dog Isn't Enjoying It

3. I don’t much care to be pet on my head either. Please don’t let strangers approach and pet my head.

Again, some dogs can tolerate this, but many can’t. A hand reaching over a dog’s head can feel very threatening from a stranger. Instead, reach under a dog to rub his chest. If it’s a dog you’ve never met, always ask for permission first and let him come to you to sniff you first.

See also: Don’t Pat My Head if You Don’t Know Me

4. Humans have created a crazy sound environment that I often find stressful. Please know that I hear sounds more than twice as high as you. I’m always trying to orient every sound to know if it’s safe or not.

Humans hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz. Dogs hear at least twice as high, sometimes all the way up to 55,000 Hz. While I think it’s great that more events and public places are dog friendly, so often those environments are created for humans. A fundraising party for dogs and their people that benefits your local shelter, doesn’t benefit your dog when a loud band is playing. Please be careful what sounds you subject your dog to, and provide simple sounds at home that calm the canine nervous system.

See also: What Do Dogs Hear?

Dog Enjoys Calming Music for Canines

5. Don’t correct me for growling. It could be my way of telling you that I feel threatened.

Dogs communicate with their growls. If it’s a play growl, think of it as your dog laughing. But, if it’s a growl that is communicating stress — showing teeth, fur raised, body tense — then it’s his way of saying, “I’m not comfortable right now. I’m feeling scared and threatened.” While you don’t want to ignore their growl, correcting it or scolding him for growling will only increase his fear. It’s a way of telling him not to express his fear and there is something to be afraid of. Next time, he may skip the growl and just bite.

See also: 10 Dog Training Tips

6. It’s very confusing to me when you ask me to do something that I’m rewarded for one time and scolded for the same behavior another time.

You come home from work and your dog is so excited to see you. He jumps up on you and gets praise and attention. The next day, your neighbor knocks on the door, and your dog gets so excited and jumps on them and you yell at him. This can be very confusing to a dog.

7. I’m older now, and my nervous system is more sensitive than when I was in my younger years.

Like people, dog’s nervous systems are more sensitive as they mature. The same things that used to be interesting to them may now be annoying and stressful. Maybe they could handle loud, crowded environments as a youngster but in their senior years, they might prefer to stay home and watch the grass grow.

See also: Grey Muzzle: Helping Homeless Senior Dogs

Mature Dog Watching the Grass Grow

8. Even if you never listen to all of my secrets, I’ll still love you anyhow.


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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


+ add your own
6:47AM PST on Nov 2, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

11:33AM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

I think some of these depend on the dog, your relationship with them, and also their age / length of time in your home. My oldster loves hugs. In fact, she climbs up on the bed to snuggle close and is happiest when I throw my arm across her, hugging her and rubbing her belly. My Border collie LOVES being scratched and patted on her head, as does my Redbone coonhound. The others, not so much. Cheeks and behind the ears are better to them. You have to take the time to watch and learn with each animal.

2:43PM PST on Feb 14, 2014

Hard not to hug a dog.

4:51PM PST on Feb 13, 2014

I have given this a long hard thought and I strongly disagree with hugs. The only time I would agree is if you are a stranger you definitely don't want to hug.

However, I find dogs to be much more in tune with intent. All of my dogs come to me for hugs as do many of our friends dogs. In fact we are pestered until we hug and touch noses.

There is a way to create a loving and trusting atmosphere for dogs. When we introduce a new dog we allow them time to get to know us and trust us. When we introduce hugs it's with an open arm policy. We start with very loose hugs and if they are uncomfortable in the least they are free to leave. We end up with very affection relationships and with them coming to us for hugs....yes, they really do that! We have one that any time my husband and I hug Ginger barks until she is picked up and included in the hug. For her, this is equivalent to a pack dog pile. Two of our dogs would join us as we sat on the steps of our front porch and nose their way under our arms to be hugged. We watch sunsets and just enjoy talking this way for a long time and everyone is happy.

The most important thing is trust and intent. They have all been given the options of affectionate touch with the understanding they are free to opt out and all have come to love our love play.

I do agree with all the other points made here.......just not about the hugs.

8:20AM PST on Feb 13, 2014

An interesting post, thank you.

10:55AM PST on Feb 4, 2014

Very cute.

11:35AM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Thanks for sharing :)

12:17PM PST on Jan 29, 2014

Thanks for the reminders and I'd like to think i'm in tune with my dogs and their total well-being

12:05PM PST on Jan 29, 2014

Thank you for the good information contained in this article, *_*

2:44PM PST on Jan 27, 2014


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