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The Most Common Dog Behaviors and What They Mean

The Most Common Dog Behaviors and What They Mean

Dogs are complex creatures with their own ways of communicating their needs to us and other animals. Whether it be the way they carry themselves or a more specific action like chasing their own tails, each movement allows them to convey how they’re feeling.

However, this method of communication only works correctly if you’re well-informed on what to look for. These are some of the most common dog behaviors and what they mean so that you remain in-the-know about your dog’s core habits.

Howling and Barking

Dogs don’t exactly have a large verbal vocabulary to alert us of danger. So, instead, they make loud noises to draw our attention to what they perceive as a potential threat. Howling may be your pet alerting you of their nervousness in a certain situation. This isn’t the only reason your dog might bark or howl, though. In fact, these behaviors can also occur as the result of excitement, boredom, and even physical pain. As such, it’s important that you pay attention to your dog’s habits to best gage the context behind their actions.


Digging is also a common behavior that dogs exhibit. Depending on the breed of your pet, you might even find that they’re more predisposed to this habit than others. For dogs bred to chase and hunt prey, digging is an instinctual drive that they have, and one that they’ll turn to when feeling energetic or bored. Because of this, you’ll want to keep up with regular playtimes and ensure you leave your pup feeling tired each day. This way, they can release their energy in constructive ways and not spend it digging up your flowerbeds.

Nipping or Biting

Another common dog behavior, and the meaning behind it, is the action of nipping or biting at you or guests. Much like infants feeling their way around the world with their hands, puppies explore their surroundings with their mouths. As they grow, they start to push boundaries to see what they can get away with and, often times, this means playfully nipping at your hands. Putting a stop to this behavior early on is the key to avoiding problematic biting as your dog ages. If your dog isn’t typically a biter and they’ve recently begun doing so, this action could also demonstrate anxiety, fear, and aggression.

Intent Staring

Dogs are also capable of intense focus when there’s something of interest to them. It could be a favored treat or a new toy that they can’t wait to sink their teeth into. Either way, your dog may intently stare at these items, or at you, waiting for you to give it to them. This level of attention is great for working your pet’s mind, and, in fact, is the action you want to see when in the middle of training. With their eyes locked on you in this manner, it’s much easier to teach them new commands.

For additional insight into your dog’s behavior, reach out to Acadia Canine Academy. As dog behavior training specialists with several decades of experience, we understand what makes the canine mind tick. We’ll help you train and better understand your dog’s needs so that you can form a strong, lasting relationship with them.


© 2022 Acacia Canine Academy

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