Hidden meaning behind dog behaviours

Animal lovers may sometimes wish they were like Dr Doolittle, understanding their pet behaviours. Here are insights into 7 common dog behaviours...

Dogs are amazing animals that have been part of human life for thousands of years. Over this time, they have developed a complex set of behaviours that they use to communicate with their owners and other dogs.

Understanding your dog's behaviour is important for establishing a strong bond with your pet and keeping them healthy and happy. Here are some explanations behind various common dog behaviours.

Chewing on furniture

Chewing on furniture is one of the most common behavioural problems that dog owners face. Dogs chew on furniture for several reasons, including boredom, teething, and anxiety.

Puppies, in particular, may chew on furniture or floor skirtings as a way to relieve the discomfort of their teeth emerging, while older dogs may chew on furniture when they are bored or anxious. To prevent your dog from chewing on furniture, provide them with plenty of toys to chew on, and train them to use these toys instead of your furniture.

Standing up on their hind legs

Standing up on their hind legs is a behaviour that dogs use to get a better view of their surroundings. Dogs may also stand up on their hind legs to get attention from their owners or to reach food that is out of reach.

This behaviour is usually harmless, but it can be dangerous if your dog is near a hot stove or other hazardous objects, or if it’s standing up against a child. Dogs may also get up on their hind legs while interacting with other dogs. This can be a sign they’re feeling playful, as long as they’re not growling or acting aggressively.


Barking is a natural behaviour for dogs, and they use it to communicate with their owners and other dogs. Dogs may bark for several reasons, including alerting their owners about potential dangers, expressing excitement or frustration, or simply to get attention.

Understanding the different types of barks can help you understand what your dog is trying to communicate. For example, a high-pitched, rapid bark may indicate excitement, while a low, frequent, deep bark may indicate aggression or fear.


Yawning is not just a sign of sleepiness in dogs; it can also indicate anxiety or stress. Dogs may yawn when they are in uncomfortable or stressful situations, such as when they are at the vet or meeting new people. If you notice your dog yawning excessively, it may be a sign they are anxious or uncomfortable.

Conversely, when your dog yawns multiple times when it’s with you or in a safe environment, this can mean they are relaxed

Wriggling on their back

Wriggling on their back is a behaviour that dogs use to show submission and invite play. Dogs may also wriggle on their backs to scratch an itch or cool off on a hot day. This behaviour is usually harmless and can be a sign that your dog is happy and comfortable. Rolling over and exposing their belly is another behaviour that dogs use to show submission and invite play.

Tucking and straightening their tail

A dog's tail position can indicate their emotional state. If your dog tucks their tail between their legs, it may be a sign they are anxious or afraid. If your dog's tail is straight and stiff, it may be a sign that they are feeling aggressive or alert, while a relaxed and wagging tail usually indicates your dog is happy and comfortable.

Dragging their bum

Dragging their bum on the floor – otherwise known as scooting – is a behaviour that dogs use to relieve itchiness or discomfort in their anal area. This behaviour may indicate that your dog has an impacted anal sac they are trying to release, or they have worms or other health problems that require medical attention. Some breeds are affected more than others with this behaviour.