translating the dog language.

What your dog is trying to communicate…

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Your dog communicates best with you. Learn their language, and remember to watch for your dog’s special indicators. Here are some examples that may apply to your friend.

The brows

We often look to their tail to affirm happiness and forget to watch for patterns in their facial expressions. A study in Japan proved that dogs raise their eyebrows at people that they love (especially when food or their favourite toy is in question), but there is not a lot less facial movement when they are around strangers or dogs that they are not familiar with.

That cute but sometimes creepy stare

If a human did this it would be super uncomfortable, but when your dog does it they are simply trying to say I love you (as long as you don’t have food, that doesn’t count…sorry). If your dog is not looking for your direction or instruction, has not done anything naughty (which would be a different type of stare, you know the one…), hungry, or waiting for you to make eye contact so that they can lead you to something, then this is just a sign of admiration. Staring also means that they are in need of your affection, so a scratch would definitely be in order.

You come second to food

If your dog comes to relax beside you after a meal in the evening, this is a strong indication of love. We all know dogs are motivated by food but what comes after eating indicates what they believe to be important. We say evening because morning meals are often followed by doing their business or wanting to play, play, play.

The head rub

If your dog rubs his head against you, almost burying himself in you, this means L.O.V.E. This is more common in larger dogs as they would love to jump all over you but that would probably not be allowed, so instead they release their mega love for you with some head pushing and nudging. Do it back to him/her sometimes, speak their language, instead of a hug rest your head on his/her neck, it’ll become a habit quickly.

They sleep facing you, or the bedroom door

If your dog sleeps with his/her head facing your direction, so that they only have to open their eyes to see you there again, then this is another sign of love and their loyalty to you. They would hate to miss out on being in your presence and feel much more comfortable with you nearby. Moreover, if your dog sleeps in your bed and faces the door of your bedroom, this shows that they are protective and want to keep you safe.

Dog nurse

If your dog licks your wounds and spoils you with extra affection when you’re sick then consider yourself loved! It’s a little gross when they lick a cut, but did you know that their saliva has healing properties for human wounds? You may even notice the way they look up at you after doing this, they are trying to watch over you because they care so if you’re not big on licks from your dog remember to let it slide on these occasions.

Where you go, they go

Does your dog follow you from room to room? To the bathroom, a seat beside you or on top of you, outside then back inside…sounds a bit stalkerish, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. They want to join you because they have a bit of FOMO, and also because they love your company. This is also a sign that your dog feels safe around you, it reduces their anxiety, and it’s fun because they probably increase their average pat rate considerably.


Does your dog bring you a ball, nudge you with his/her favourite toy, or jump around to initiate playtime? Playtime is a clear indicator which must not be overlooked because this is a strong bonding practise. I bet you have some embarrassing games that you play with your pooch when no one is around; rolling around on the floor, chasing, dog noises, etc. keep it up, your dog loves this part of the day.

Good morning, I missed you SO much!

This is for those who don’t allow their dog to sleep in the bedroom, or on the bed. If you open your door in the morning and you are almost immediately greeted by a tail that’s moving so much that their bum shifts from left to right, then you’re definitely doing something very right.

Flea biting

Many dog trainers will strongly suggest against play biting and even flea biting, but flea biting is supposed to be a compliment. They are trying to groom you. A dog would never do this to someone that they dislike, in fact dogs groom their pups in the same way. It’s important to not mistake this with a similar kind of nibble that your dog may do when you’re playing- this type of biting should not be encouraged because they could be testing your dominance.

Pee/poop stare-down

If your dog can pee in front of you this indicates respect. In dog/wolf pack definitions, peeing in front of one and other is an indication of respect and recognition of the witness as a leader and the leader must always be respected. So if your dogs does its business in clear sight of you, they may even give you a quick look or a creepy stare-down whilst in the motion, just know that it’s deliberate and not that yuk after all…

Your dog will always have time to build on your special relationship, it’s so incredibly important to make time for them, keep them happy, make them comfortable and allow them to feel safe and most of all, loved. If you’re busy, and let’s face it we all have one hundred and one things to tick off sometimes, make sure your dog is still getting regular exercise and affection. We suggest Lend a Pet. An Aus-wide pet lending and borrowing service that only costs you $50 a year and guarantees more exercise and adventure for your pet. It’s not pay per lend or borrow, it’s unlimited for a year at no extra cost, and it beats dog walker/sitter fees. Give it a go, your dog will love it.

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