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How to Learn to Understand What Your Dog Wants

Dogs are wonderful companions to have. They are loving and playful. Also, they keep you company whenever you require them. Plus, they can protect you with their lives when it matters the most. Yet, understanding what your pet wants at every given time can sometimes feel challenging. Frustration can overtake you unless you find a way of communicating with your companion. To achieve this, you will have to understand your dog’s vocal cues, body language, and facial expressions. As such, this article exposes you to these 3 primary ways of comprehending your pet.

Vocal Cues

Most animals around us use vocal cues to express themselves to other animals and their owners. Dogs are no exception to using sound to communicate. Therefore, the vocal cues you should look out for include the following.

  • Barking
  • Growling
  • Howling
  • Whining

Below is a breakdown of each sound and what it may likely translate to.


Barking is the most common vocal cue most canines make. It can mean several things depending on the situation. Thus, this cue can mean danger or excitement. To understand what your dog wants to communicate, you should watch for the frequency and tone of barking. For instance, a sharp bark can mean your dog has seen something interesting or new. However, multiple barks at a high pitch can mean fear or distress. Once you learn what your dog’s barking means, you will be able to understand it at a deeper level. This is among the benefits to have pets, as you get a friend that will communicate with you all the time, even if they can’t use words.


When your hound feels threatened, it may likely growl at the source of danger. At this point, it is your responsibility to identify and deal with the problem. On the other hand, growling may translate to frustration. Differentiating the two requires observation. For example, a canine that feels threatened will most likely growl while taking a defensive stance. To identify possible reasons for frustration, look at the dog’s behavior and surroundings.


Whining is usually a sign of pain, discomfort, or attention seeking. Therefore, a mournful low whine primarily indicates loneliness. However, a persistent high-pitched whine can mean the dog wants to play or go outside. This sound can be pretty annoying when trying to complete schoolwork at home. Therefore, you can use the services of TopEssayWriting to find time for yourself while in college. Using this platform ensures customer support and a money-back guarantee.

Body Language

Apart from vocal cues, the body language of your pet plays a significant role in understanding their intentions. Below are some common body language cues you should look for.

Ear Movement

A dog that spots or hears something interesting will have its ears alert, up and directed towards the sound. On the flip side, a scared, aggressive, or nervous dog will have its ears flat on its head. Other positions may be a sign of anger, confusion, or surprise. You must keep your eyes open to get the hang of this cue.

Tail Wagging

Tail wagging is usually a sign of happiness, eagerness, or excitement. However, it could also mean your pet is feeling aggressive or nervous. The difference to look for is the movement and position of the tail. A loose and low-moving extremity primarily indicates a happy pup. Conversely, a tucked tail is a sign of fear.

Eye Contact

Direct eye contact is usually a sign your dog wants to exhibit dominance. Your pet may avoid looking at you or other dogs if they feel scared or submissive. Likewise, a dog that maintains continuous eye contact while lying down may be a sign of affection or trust.

Facial Expressions

Believe it or not, dogs communicate through facial expressions. Below are some of these cues.


Your dog’s smile is different from yours. Nonetheless, this gesture is still a sign of contentment or happiness. In most cases, the dog smile by maintaining a relaxed face, loose jaw, and soft eyes.

Raised Eyebrows

Like humans, a pup that raises its eyebrows may indicate confusion, surprise, or curiosity. Also, a dog that persists with this gesture may be trying to figure out what is happening.


A dog licking its snout is usually not a happy gesture. It may signify discomfort or stress, especially when being groomed. Also, it may mean your pet is thirsty or hungry.

How Does Your Dog Communicate With You?

Learning to understand what your dog wants is essential to building a strong bond with your furry friend. By paying attention to your dog’s vocal cues, body language, and facial expressions, you can gain a better understanding of what they want to communicate. With a little bit of patience and practice, you’ll be able to understand your dog like never before and build a lifelong friendship based on mutual trust and understanding.

About the Author

Olivia Evans is a dog lover. Her affection for dogs is the fuel she uses to create content for pet lovers. In her free time, Olivia volunteers in animal shelters.


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