How To Understand Your Pet’s Mental Health

Many pet owners like to think they are connected with their dog or dogs. We attribute different behaviors we have seen or read about to them and assume that they are accurate. When a dog rolls over, we like to think that it is a show of wanting attention from owners and others, that licking is only as a sign of affection, and that wagging their tail only means happiness. However, according to experts, this is not what it means all of the time, and that means owners like us need to reevaluate or rethink some of our behavior towards our furry friends more. 

Is It Easy To Understand Dogs?

Owners can misinterpret dog behaviors easily, and it is common to not fully understand what our pets might be meaning by their actions or behaviors. Just as it is with human interaction, it is easy to not understand the meaning of an attitude or the source of the attitude and misinterpret someone’s reasons for acting in a way that they do. Many dog behaviors are not the same as the way we interpret them simply because we as a group of people have assigned meaning to actions without knowing if they were correct. 

One such behavior is rolling over. In nature, rolling over is normally a sign of both trust or submission, exposing the most vulnerable part of the body to others. Behaviors like tail wagging, which are often generally interpreted as an indication of happiness, can also mean aggressiveness or timidness depending on the height the tail is wagged around. Ultimately, you can’t just focus on one aspect of a dog’s actions, rather you need to account for their full body language in order to properly understand how to act and treat your dog. Even your dog’s yawning may not mean tiredness according to specialists, and rather can also mean stress. 

Different Ways To Understand Your Pets

One way to go about managing your dog’s mental health is through socialization. Many dogs enjoy being around other dogs, but even then you need to make sure that your dog feels comfortable as well. If you notice your dog’s tail wagging stiffly instead of smoothly, your dog might not feel safe. Additionally, we think dogs are all extroverted, so when one does not act the way we assume it to we think that it is not feeling well. Our perception of dogs can make us not the best pet parents, but changing how we act and listen to our dogs is an easy way to fix that. 

Sometimes, the behaviors we associate with happiness or extroversion are the exact opposite. A dog might roll onto its back to get people away from it being petted or touched. Even more, one of the most recognized behaviors – acting sheepish or scared when someone raises their voice – is actually just a reaction to the louder and aggressive tone. While the dog may react to it, it is not because they regret their actions. Dogs, however, understand humans better and can understand human speaking volume and actions fairly well. All of the observed behavioral nuances point to the fact that we have a lot to learn about our furry friends.