Category Archives for "Dog Behavior"

Why Do Dogs Lick? Do They Clean Themselves?

Man’s best friend often gets the limelight due to various reasons. Perhaps they are the only beasts on earth to attract consistent human attention. We may adore and pamper our pet cats, but there’s something special in dogs which instantly draws our attention.

Be it a street dog or a fine breed like German Shepherd, every activity of this animal comes to our notice. One of such behaviours is licking. If we take a walk along the street or closely watch our pet dog while performing home cleaning activities, every other second, we will notice that they lick their body.

The question is- Why do they lick? Do they want to convey us something or is it a personal business of this species? Let’s find out.

​What Does Licking Mean To Them?

When a dog licks its own body, it can have multiple inferences. Every body part where dogs lick sends a different message.

Licking the lip means they are scared of some potential danger or threat. We are all aware that dogs possess marvellous sixth sense, which is why they are even hired by the military and the police.

As for pets, the moment they sense something dangerous, be it another animal or a person, they send gestures to their owners by licking their own lips.

​Our canine friends are also seen licking the base of their tail, i.e. the portion where the tail joins the body. Only those furry friends who are allergic to fleas lick this area. Exposure to flea causes itchiness, which compels them to lick their tail base.

​At times, dogs also lick their wounds, which may be in any part of the body. They use their saliva to destroy the cell wall of harmful bacteria. As saliva contains important anti-bacterial, anti-viral as well as Lactoferin compounds, it enables dogs to prevent further spread of the infection or growth of germs in that area.

Paws are other places where dogs lick. If licking takes place after coming home from outdoors, it is a cleaning exercise. Through licking, our good pets are able to wash their dirty paws and throw away germs, pollutants, etc.

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Also, when we undergo home cleaning works, pet dogs are seen to lick their paws; reason being the same.We shall get more into the details of maintaining cleanliness through licking in the next section of this article.

Paw licking can also happen due to environmental allergies. In this case, it’s not the paws but also armpits as well as the flanks and groins. When all the three areas are licked at some point of time, they need urgent medical care.

​In rare instances, dogs lick non-food items and even try to have them. This is a sign of pica or GI disease. Licking at the air or lip smacking are signals of possessing seizure-like behaviour.

​Whenever canine friends feel pained physically, they start licking specific joint areas. The Opiorphin component in saliva gives relief from pain.

​Some other reasons behind licking are cognitive dysfunction, dehydration, boredom, or hunger, problem in and around the mouth and obsessive compulsive disorder.

​So, these are the commonly noticed licks of any dog. Now, let’s see how licking helps them in staying clean.

​How Dogs Clean While Licking

​Our furry friends are among the few animals that clean themselves. They get fanatic when it comes to clean and healthy lifestyle. The moment they feel any dirt or germs accumulating on their skin, they start licking.

We’ve already learnt about paw licking for cleanliness, now we shall try and investigate the science behind it. Canine saliva is considered to be an excellent cleaner. All the components of saliva contribute to healing or cleaning the doggy’s body.

Their saliva is enriched with enzymes like peroxidises and lysozome that kill bacteria and bacterial germs. Defensins, Lactoferrin and Cystanins also aid in the same task.

Thrombospondin is an anti-viral which helps our best friends to keep viruses at bay. Further, dog’s saliva also contains essential nitrate compounds which prevent growth of bacteria and other germs.

No matter how much polluted an area might be, dogs have their own tactics of remaining clean and healthy all the time.

​How Effective Is This Practice

Licking sends a quick signal to what’s going on in the dog’s mind. If owners carefully study the licking habit of their dogs, they’ll immediately come to know the real reason.

Dogs who lick sometimes in a day signifies feeling of affection and compassion towards the master. Licking is a dog’s own of expressing love and asking for love in return.

It creates a good bonding between them and their owners, with whom they spend a huge chunks of their life. Besides this, dogs also develop a sense of belonging by licking the skin of the family members.

However, when dogs lick themselves every now and then, it can be dangerous. Continuous or non-stop licking points to hormonal imbalances, presence of an underlying medical condition, anxiety, nausea, physical pain, and allied problems. Therefore, excessive licking is a big reason to worry.

This does not mean that licking is a bad habit. Nor is it true that dog’s saliva is harmful. In reality, saliva of a barking partner is more effective than that of humans. It helps in smooth digestion besides preventing canine cavities.

​Above all, licking is a sign of excellent grooming. If your furry friend keeps licking, it often means he is in good health and excellent spirit. Physically, dogs are strong, stout and stable. In terms of mental health, they remain active and stress-free.

Besides proper mobility, dogs can resist any diseases, sense danger and live happily with their masters. In short, there’s no harm in licking, unless it continues indefinitely.

Remember, it is not just a habit or addiction, but a feeling of love and emotion. For them, it is an excellent medium of talking to us, expressing their anxiety and spending quality time.


That was all about the inherent behaviour displayed by our good pets. Now that you’re aware about it, you can take better care of your darling dogs and keep them safe and secured for maximum tenure. Watch out for all the possible signals and try to understand what licking means.

As long as there’s no medical condition or the licking does not border on an abnormality, there shouldn’t be any cause for alarm. So, keep petting your canine friend, enjoy his licks and you will surely take your friendship to a different level.

What Your Dog’s Sleeping Position Says About His Personality

When you have a dog you become very invested. You want to know and understand everything there is to know about them. The more time you spend with them the better you understand what a whimper or head nod means.

The bond between you and your dog becomes deeper the better you understand their body language. A dog cannot
communicate verbally, so the only way to understand what they are trying to communicate to you is to understand their body language.

You can tell that a dog is in distress by the way it wines, you can also easily tell if a dog is happy when it wags its tail. You can be able to tell a lot about a dog’s state of mind and a lot about its personality by the dog’s sleeping positions.

It is very important to pay attention to your dog’s sleeping position. the sleeping position may change based on how
he is feeling, who he is sleeping near and even where he is sleeping. A dog’s sleeping position could give you insight when the dog is injured or is experiencing some discomfort.So when your dog changes his sleeping position you should check carefully to see whether the dog is in pain.

Here are a few dog sleeping positions and what they communicate.

Snuggled up

When your dog sleeps back to back with other pets in your home or snuggles up with you, they are communicating
the same thing. they are trying to get close to you or with the other pets. When you find the dog sleeping this way he is generally feeling very affectionate and also very loving.

If the dog is sleeping this way next to your new boyfriend it tells you that he is very comfortable with him. Try to show your love back to the dog by snuggling back.


This position is when the dog sleeps on the floor with all legs sprawled out on the floor. This position looks like the dog is flying in the sky. The dog sleeping in this position could be your pup that is sleeping and ready to spring into action to get ready to play some more.

This position allows dogs to get on their feet very quickly. Dogs will usually sleep in this position during the day when the need to spring to action. Rarely will you find a dog sleeping in this position at night.

You might find that your young energetic puppy may prefer this position if they want to drop and sleep wherever they were standing.

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Paws up in the air

This position is very well suited for a dog that is looking to cool off after a long day. When the dogs sleep in this position they are able to better handle the heat. The stomach has less fun and the sweat glands are found on the paws, so when it is easier for the dog to cool off hen it lays in this position.

A dog will only sleep in this position in an environment that they feel comfortable. In this position they expose their most sensitive areas on their body, they must, therefore, feel confident that nothing can happen to it for it to sleep in that position.

In this position, dogs cannot get to their feet quickly. They must, therefore, feel safe in that environment for them to sleep in this position. This position indicates that the dog does not have much to worry about. This position is most common during summer when the temperatures are high and the dogs are looking to cool themselves.

Curled up

Most times you will find that dogs will sleep curled up in a semi-circular almost circular position. It is a common position in the wild as well as it allows the animal to protect the vital organs while sleeping.

The position also allows the dog to preserve heat. When a dog sleeps in this position it is able to get back on its feet quickly. It is, in fact, a defensive position that enables it to protect most of its organs and to also spring into action when threatened and that is why even wild animals prefer to sleep in this position.

In this sleep position, you may see an animal is not moving much, in this position you may realize that an animal
that sleeps in this position twitches less. You may think that a dog sleeping in this position is feeling uncomfortable but that might not be the case.

In the cold months of the year like fall and winter, you may find that your dog will prefer to sleep in this position. Some dogs also just like sleeping in this position regardless of the season. they may find that its comfortable.

Sleeping on The Side

For a dog to sleep in this position they would have to feel very comfortable and very safe. This position leaves a dog’s vital organs exposed. This position is considered to be a very calm and relaxed position. Dogs that prefer this position are usually easy going.

You might find that your dog will change its position if it goes to a new environment or a place your they are not familiar with. A dog that sleeps in this position is carefree and does not have a concern in the world.

When asleep you will normally see your dog moving its legs and you may also see some twitching. A dog that sleeps
on the side is a very affectionate and very happy dog that enjoys a very strong bond with his owner and also with the family that owns him.

Tummy Sleep

A dog that is sleeping on his stomach is usually very tense. Its muscles are usually contracted and tense, this will
prevent them from drifting into a deep sleep. When a dog sleeps in this position it could mean that they are uncomfortable or unhappy or there is something that is stressing them. It could also mean that the dog is very
energetic and ready to start playing around.

A dog sleeping position could give you deep insight as to whether it is uncomfortable, happy, hot, or tense. It is therefore very important to pay attention to the sleeping position that your dog is sleeping in.

How To Make Your Home Dog Friendly

If you are bringing a dog home for the first time too, it is likely that you are concerned about creating a great environment in your house for it. Here are a few things you can do to provide your pet with a safe home.

1. Get on your knees for a dogs eye view

Start by going on your knees to inspect your house from a dogs eye view. It will help you to get rid of any safety hazards and items that are easy to knock over. Put potted plants, carvings, and precious ceramic safely out of your dog’s path. Also get rid of any plants that are poisonous to dogs such as aloe vera plants.

Ensure you baby-proof your cleaning supplies and medicine cabinets to keep your dog from ingesting harmful chemicals. Dogs will chew on or eat anything so keep your floors free of clutter or anything that could be a choking hazard.

It’s also essential that you cover any dangling or exposed electric cords in the home. Have the electrician cover them because dogs have been known to chew through electrical cables and you don’t want that kind of loss in your home. Since dogs will eat anything, it’s vital that you store your food in a secure place such as a locked pantry. Dogs love to eat, and they can do it forever, so if they get into your food stash, it can be a disaster.

The same applies to trash, cover it securely to keep your dog from rummaging through and eating rotten or dangerous food remains such as bones and coffee grounds that could choke or poison them. Use trash cans with a secure lid that your dog cannot pry open even if it drops them.

Dogs love to drink out of toilets, and it’s a good idea to avoid using automatic toilet bowl cleaner in case they access your toilet when the doors are left open. Also, keep items such as soaps and shower gels out of reach.

2. Prepare to train your dog

A new dog coming to your home is a fresh slate for you to write on. It’s up to you to train your dog how to respect you and your home. Dogs are pack animals, and they will respond to the alpha in the home. You as the dog owner are the alpha, and you have to keep it this way by making the rules and enforcing them.

Dogs respond well to routines, treats, praises and other forms of positive reinforcement when learning new behavior. You will have to use this to train your dog on how to behave. If you think it will be hard, find a good dog school for your pooch or employ a professional dog trainer.

3. Do you have time to exercise your dog?

Keep in mind that dogs are social animals. If you keep your dog cooped up in the home with no interaction with you or the outside world, no form of training, electronic dog door, or wireless dog fence will keep it from running off or getting unruly. Make sure you are ready to exercise your dog frequently and spend enough time bonding with it once it comes home. If your dog is bored or depressed, you will have behavioral issues such as trashing your home, chewing your favorite things, barking uncontrollably and other unpleasant behaviors. You can also use joint pain relief for dogs  by petbounce, which is very effective and reliable for your dogs.

4. Buy the right equipment for your dog

It is essential that you buy proper dog equipment for your pet to use once it comes home. These are items you need to keep it secure and comfortable in and outside the home. Here is a list of the things you can buy or prepare.

A wireless dog fence

If your yard has no secure barrier to keep your dog in, ensure you prepare it before you bring your new dog home. To avoid the hassle of building a physical fence, you can buy a wireless dog fence. It is an underground electric fence that keeps your dog from escaping the yard using an electric dog collar.

The collar beeps or sends out a mild shock to your dog each time it tries to pass the wireless fence. The electric shock from a wireless fence dog collar is not harsh. It is just enough to startle the dog each time it tries to leave the yard. It takes about eight weeks to train a dog to honor an electric dog fence, and the training will last for all the days you are together.

Using a wireless dog fence will give you and your dog freedom. You can let it out in the yard to play without supervision. Its also portable and comes in handy anytime you travel to other places such as a cabin or summer place with your dog. The dog fence can also help you keep your dog off sensitive areas such as pools and gardens.

Dog stroller and leash

When you take your new dog for a walk, you will need a non-tangling dog leash. It’s also a good idea to get a dog collar with your dog’s information on it so you can get it back in case it gets lost. If your dog is a puppy or old rescue, you could consider using a dog stroller for your walks.

A dog stroller is similar to a baby stroller but for dogs. It helps protect your pup when its too hot to walk on the pavement or you are going for very long walks. It also works great when going to places where dogs are not allowed on leashes or when taking sensitive trips such as to the vet.

Food dispensers

It’s important to give your dog its spot in the home and its items to use. It helps to keep your dogs nose out of your things. Start by buying it good quality food and water bowls.

You can also buy an automatic dog food dispenser which measures out a certain amount of food regularly throughout the day. It will provide your dog with regular meals, keep it on portion control, and save you the hassle of always filling up its food bowl.

Dog bed and crate

Buy your pooch a dog bed where it can rest during the day and sleep during the night. It’s a good idea to let your dog sleep on a dog bed from the first day it gets home. It will keep it from coming to your bed or sleeping on upholstery in the living room.

Alternatively, you can buy your pooch a dog crate. A dog crate is a safe place for your dog to chill during the day or even sleep in the night. You can leave it in there to keep it from rummaging through the house as many dogs do at night or when left alone in the home. Put a comfort blanket, and some few dog toys in it and your pet will be content.

Electronic dog door

If you want your dog to roam free in the home and compound, then consider installing an electronic dog door. It’s an electric door slot you can fit on your front or back house door to allow your pet to come in and go out as it pleases. It’s only small enough for your pet to go through and works with a collar around your dog’s neck to open and close when necessary.

You should buy a smart electronic dog door that comes with a microchip collar. The microchip in the dog collar is your dogs key, and you can use it to program the time you want to let your dog out. You can even control such doors with a phone app for convenience.

Know any pet owners? If you do there is a very good chance that you may have seen them wearing a dog pin … or a cat pin … or another type of animal pin.

Dog toys

Dogs love to play so you should buy dog toys for your pooch to play with such as chew toys, cuddly toys, and food puzzles. The toys will keep your dog from boredom so that it doesn’t chew your furniture out of frustration. Make sure you buy age-appropriate toys for your dog and ensure they are safe to play with to avoid any unwanted accidents.

You can also buy toys that your dog can play with outside without human interaction. A good example is a dog ball launcher. A ball launcher, will automatically throw balls for your dog and keep it busy chasing and retrieving them in the yard. Such toys come in handy when you are busy and have no time to exercise your pet.

These are a few things you can do and buy to make sure your home is safe and comfortable for your new dog. You may feel items like an electronic dog door are unnecessary, but they will make life easy for you and your pet. Overall, make sure you provide your pooch with a lot of love because that is most important. Good luck with your new pet and enjoy having a loyal friend for life!


What Does Tail-wagging Tell About a Dog

Dogs are social creatures that use a combination of body postures, facial expressions, and vocalization to communicate. Like any other animals, dogs communicate through eye contact, ear position, and tails. When being defensive or aggressive, they make eye contact while tending to back off. When they are in an alert mood, their ears are held straight-up and the tail has certain movements.

Tail-wagging is a canine way of communication that can be easily noticed. Many dogs have either bushier tails (like Pomeranian, Havanese puppies) or lighter undersides or contrasting colors that outline this part of their body.

In the canine world, tail-wagging spreads into the air the pheromone scents from a dog’s anal sacs which is inside the rectum. The pheromones are used as a way to communicate specific information from dog to dog. Dogs with docked tails (like Yorkie and Toy Poodle puppies) also wag their tails, although these are harder to be noticed.

Specialists in animal behaviors discovered that the tail wag is an intended gesture for another creature, either animal or human. Dogs tend to wag their tails according to their breed and temperament. There are some movements dogs generally use such as hip-gyrating or tail-twirling. There are dogs that wag often, while others are more reserved, without being unfriendly or unhappy.

Depending on the tail position, body language, and facial expressions, a tail wag can have different significances. A tail wag can be a sign of friendliness or may indicate dominance, aggression, uncertainty or submission.

Canine behavioral researcher, Julie Hecht, and Duke University professor of cognitive neuroscience, Brian Hare, have researched on the most frequently met weird dog behaviors and explained their meaning.


If a dog keeps his tail in a natural position, he is calm and happy. The position of a dog’s tail varies depending on the breed. Specific dog breeds have tails that naturally hang behind their legs, while others have tails that curl up over their backs. When a dog keeps his tail in a natural position and doesn’t move it side-to-side, he is in a good mood.

A friendly manner to greet someone is to wag the tail in a neutral position, sweeping back and forth. Generally, happy dogs that want to express their excitement use a more rapid wagging. When being accompanied by a play bow and elbows on the ground, a dog may invite you to play.


A tail held high that keeps wagging stiffly and a tense body, with legs spread, and the head held high is a sign of a dominant dog.


An erect tail kept over the back with tension that twitches should be a warning. Usually, the body posture denotes confidence and the dog stares and bares his teeth, growling or barking. In such situations, it is advisable to avoid the interaction because the dog is likely to bite.


A tail held between the legs, with its tips moving quickly is a sign of submission. Generally, the head and ears are retracted, and the lips are drawn back from the teeth.


Tail-wagging can also indicate an anxious or confused mood. A dog that experiment this state usually looks up, with a questioning and expectant allure, sweeping his tail in a slow movement.


When wagging his tail, a dog uses a neutral, horizontal position, then it gets higher, meaning he is excited. An alert movement indicates he is aggressive. If it starts from a neutral position and the rhythm decreases, the dog is probably unsure or scared.

The direction of the tail indicates the feelings a dog has

Studies showed that the direction in which a dog wags his tail can indicate his emotional state, depending on the side of the brain that controls the emotions he is feeling at that moment.

Movements to the right are triggered by the left part of the brain which is associated with positive feelings and control, while movements to the left are triggered by the right part of the brain which is associated with withdrawal or flight response.

For example, when a dog meets his owner or a strange person, it tends to wag his tail to the right when facing the person. When he meets an unfamiliar dog with an aggressive posture, he tends to wag to the left.

A dog that moves his tail up may be indicating that he is more assertive or dominant. When he moves his tail down, he is always submissive.

Another important factor is the speed of the wag. A higher intensity indicates strong emotions, either positive or negative. A slow-moving indicates that the dog is calm and curious, and you can safely approach him.

Tail diseases

There are also specific conditions related to dogs’ tail. One of them is known as happy tail and consists of getting the tail injured from banging it into things. When it recovers, and the wounds are cured, the tail is harmed again.

Another health condition is the limber tail, also known as swimmer’s tail or cold tail. It refers to the limp that follows a vigorous swimming as a result of the loss of circulation to the muscles. It is usually fixed within 2 or 3 days. If it takes longer to recover, then it might indicate a neurological issue or a fracture that need to be checked by a veterinarian.

Author Bio

Troy works as a Marketing Specialist for He takes great pride in partnering with the best certified breeders in Ohio to offer the highest quality, cutest puppies for adoption. He looks forward to sharing his love for pets with people through the agency. Anyone who knows him, knows how much he loves his dog, who he rescued from a shelter a few years ago. He keeps thinking about getting him a playmate. With every litter of Pomsky puppies, he struggles with not taking one home!