Animal IQ

Dogs Give Unusual Clues to Tell Us They're Playing Around

What is going on in your dog's head? It's probably cycling through thoughts of treats, sleep, whatever's on your dinner plate, belly rubs, sleep again, and, hey, c'mon, are you done eating that? While reading minds won't get you very far, deciphering clues from your dog's actions can. Decode this: a yawn, sneeze, and stretch. Hint: They don't mean the same in dog as they do in human.

Netflix and Play?

A sneeze can mean a few things when we're talking about dog snouts. According to Canine University, a sneeze can indeed suggest your dog has some nasal irritants (just like the human sneeze situation), but it can also mean it's playtime. When your dog is roughhousing with you or another dog, it might let you a little snorty sneeze to let you know they're just messin' around. This sneeze is a smaller little burst of air than a regular, mucus-flying achoo. Unlike humans, dogs can summon this little sneeze on command.

A little puppy raising its paw can mean the same thing — it's not trying to shake your hand, it's saying "high-five, buddy, it's play time!" Another sign is when a dog does a downward dog yoga pose (coincidental name?). This front leg stretch is a tell-tale signal that the pup is excited and, you guessed it, ready to play.

In dog body language, a yawn and a side-eye mean vastly different things than what they mean in human circumstances. Dogs use these usually snobby clues to communicate that they mean no harm and they're friendly. Humans on the other hand... On a different note, that famous look of guilt your dog might shoot you after they tear up your FAVORITE SHIRT, BEETHOVEN, isn't actually a guilty expression. It's fear.

"Woof" Means "I LOVE YOU SO MUCH"

If you have a dog, you owe it to him to try to understand it. (Science says we're already pretty good at it anyway.) Your dog is doing his best to get you, too — your dog can actually catch your emotions because he's just that in sync with his owner. Blame puppy love. Your dog loves you, like really, really loves the heck out of you, and there is no shortage of science to back that up. Your dog would rather get some positive attention from you than receive a treat. Dogs with separate anxiety feel a little more chill after getting a whiff of their owner. But can they really help it? Even from a genetic standpoint, not really. Being man's best friend is literally in a dog's DNA.

Does My Dog Know What I'm Thinking?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Dogs tend to process verbal meanings through the left side of their brains. 01:52

  2. Dogs are the only non-primates who actively seek out and establish eye contact with humans. 03:49

Written by Joanie Faletto August 28, 2017

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