Dog Expressions

Hi Everyone,

This week I’d like to do something a little different and talk about something we all struggle with: what our dog is trying to say to us. Just as humans do, dogs have certain expressions and actions that mean something that we may or may not understand. Here are a few examples:

Chasing His/Her Tail

This is ultimately a sign of extreme energy. Just as a little kid would run around the house if hyper, your dog may be chasing his or her tail to let out some energy. If this is an extremely common occurrence, it is actually possible that your pet may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.



This is typically a sign of affection or a way to get your attention. Also, it’s likely that this is a dog’s way of making a little more sense out of his or her surrounding environment. When a puppy, your dog also may have been licked by his or her mother and licked the other puppies in the litter, so this could be a habit from birth.

Tilting His/Her Head


A funny noise or sight may cause a dog to tilt his or her head in effort to try and figure out what is happening, or find out where a sound may be coming from. However, if your dog is tilting his or her head frequently of even twitching to one side, it could be a medically issue like a tick or flea in the ear or an ear infection.



Why on earth dogs do this I do not know. My dog does it all the time and it just blows my mind. This one will just have to stay a mystery to me.

Staring at You


My dog is the #1 dog when it comes to staring. From any corner of the room, any distance, any situation, I’ll catch my dog staring at me (and like a person would do, he looks away fast to act like he was just being casual and accidentally looked my way). Typically dogs will stare at you because they want your attention or a treat and they are pretty much counting down the seconds until that happens. Sometimes dogs stare at you because they’re ready to attack you (hopefully that’s not the case with your own dog…)

Thrashing His/Her Toys


If your dog likes to take his or her toys and shake them back and forth like crazy, this isn’t just a strange behavior. If your dog had a real animal in the wild, this is a killing instinct. It’s meaningless in the house, but this action would most likely break the neck of a small prey or just finish the job (lovely, right?)

Although there are many other weird or seemingly unexplainable actions from our dogs, these are the most frequent. Do you see these types of behaviors often in your dog(s)? Are there any other expressions you can add to this list or any other bits of information?


  1. My dogs have tons of strange behaviors that we can’t explain and some that we think we know where they got it. Both of my dogs are rescue dogs, and when we got Tucker, we was terrified of phones, cameras, remotes, basically anything in that shape. He would cower and run away whenever we tried to take his picture! We think that at some point in the past, his old owners put a shock collar on him, the kind with a remote, and we think that’s why he is so scared of handheld electronics.

  2. My dog seems to be perpetually tilting her head to the side. I know you said it could be from a medical issue, but we’ve had the vet check her out a few times over, and she’s totally fine. My dog is just really, really easily confused. I mean, half the time I look at her, she looks back and tilts her head. The girl just does NOT understand the world. Also, she doesn’t divert her eyes for awhile. If I make eye contact with her, she’ll stare back at me, blinking every once in awhile, and maybe after 30 or so seconds, she finally looks away… but then she looks right back at me! I’ve just got a strange, admittedly non-intelligent dog on my hands (although I love her anyway).

  3. My dog is huge and his name is Bear. We all lovingly call him “Big Dumb Idiot” because that’s what he is. He is a big fan of the confused head tilt that you mentioned, probably because he isn’t very smart (but he’s really cute). He also likes to get right up close and sit and stare while he breathes right in your face. It’s very unpleasant because his breath stinks but I don’t have the heart to yell at him because he’s so cute. I feel like I’ve said that a lot in this post but he really is just a big dumb sweetheart (that could eat an intruder if need be).

  4. The funny thing is Sammy, my German Shepherd, is a genius, and I can’t actually think of any time I’ve seen her tilt her head. Like I genuinely think she’s just so smart she doesn’t get confused. But Bella is an absolute idiot, and she tilts her head all the time, looking confused and curious. This explains a lot.

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