Understanding Dogs’ Needs

Meeting your dog’s needs is important for their health and well-being. Caring for your dog correctly will strengthen the friendship between you two and make them a better companion.

However, understanding what your dog needs can sometimes be difficult. Dogs are social creatures that communicate in many ways. Here’s a list of how to better interpret what your dog may be trying to tell you.

Body Language

  •  is an obvious visual clue. If your dog is wagging its tail, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s happy. Tail wagging indicates emotional arousal. Based on the speed of their tail, the emotional intensity will vary.
  • you won’t know if your dog is happy, excited, or stressed until you read some of the other signs. Think of these as goosebumps on a human.
  • as well. The way a dog shifts their weight is a telltale sign of how they feel. If a dog is leaning forward, this means they’re trying to get closer to something whether it is in excitement or aggression. Leaning back indicates fear.

Vocal Cues

  •  is the easiest to decipher. It usually acts as a warning to signal danger.
  • it could mean they are lonely and need companionship.
  • . In some cases, seek out a professional to have your dog assessed for pain.
  • Once you determine your dog’s emotional state, it’s important to acknowledge it. Treat them with kindness and in turn, they will take care of you.

Behavioral Patterns

  •  usually means they are being aggressive.
  •  towards you, this is a playful approach
  •  can tell you a lot as well — if they’re by the door, this probably means they want to go outside. Standing by the food bowl indicates that they want to be fed.
  •  is another unfortunate result of a dog with unmet attention needs. This behavior may also mean they need more toys. When this happens, instead of responding with anger, it is recommended that you try to understand why the dog is acting this way.
  • Your dog has physical and emotional needs. Sitting on your foot is a great display of this, it signals that your dog is taking ownership. Dogs are protective by nature, and they will often bark at guests because of this.


Understanding your dog’s needs means you will need to decipher many signals at once. Don’t rely on one action alone because it won’t give you the full picture of what your dog is trying to say to you. Knowing your dog’s needs provides you with the foresight needed to prevent a problem before it occurs. It also allows you to develop a greater bond with them, and this will go a long way later in life.

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