What Do Dogs Think About?

Dogs really do have a mind of their own—check out these 13 things they think about during the day.

“Dogs are smarter than most people give them credit for. There’s no denying that they have a mind of their own, and can experience a range of emotions, including guilt, joy, frustration and grief. When it comes to dogs and cats, we’ve all witnessed the “sad eyes” of a dog being reprimanded or that brief look of disgust on their face when the cat gets the treat instead of them.

I’m sure that you’ve read an article or seen a news report about dogs who have waited faithfully for their deceased owners to return from the dead. Clearly, they’re thinking about something.

What Do Dogs Think About?
What Do Dogs Think About?

But what, exactly, are our dogs thinking about as they go about their lives?

If you want your pet to love and trust you, you must be open-minded and treat them as equals. Dogs communicate with their owners in ways that aren’t easy to read. They don’t always speak our language, so it’s important to make sure you are truly understanding their cues.

This is what your dog wants from you. Some common thoughts that dogs have are:

“Hey, I love you!”

Dogs are among the most loyal of all pets, so when you find a furry friend who loves you unconditionally, you’ve found a true friend for life. When your dog jumps up on you as you walk through the door, wags his tail when he spots you from afar, and covers you in slobbery kisses, you can be confident he’s thinking ‘Hey, this person is pretty swell!’.

“You hurt my feelings!”

Some dogs are very sensitive to criticism, and some are not so sensitive at all. You can tell the difference, but you should never punish a dog for being shy. Instead, use a positive training program to help allay his or her anxiety.

“Fido was here too!”

Your dog loves to check their “pee-mail,” and if they’re not home when you return from your walk, you’ll probably smell your lawn before you find the puddle of pee.

“This isn’t just a territorial instinct, it’s also a way of looking to see what other dogs have been there,” says Dr. Venkat. “As they sniff, they take in a lot of information about a lot of other dogs, not to mention other animals and humans.

“Does that bunny want to play tag?”

Your dog loves to be around wildlife, and he’s just waiting for a chance to play with a squirrel, rabbit, or bird, Venkat says. “He’s wondering where the animals are and if he can interact with them,” she says.

Dogs are playful, but not all of them should be let off the leash in the woods. Some of them are predators and may see wild animals as prey, so it’s best to keep them on a leash so they don’t hurt them.

“Never fear, I will guard the little humans!”

A dog can be an incredible protector for the family, and many families notice that their dog has a special relationship with their children. “Children tend to want to spend a lot of time with their dogs when they are young, and this relationship can last for years,” says Simon. “Dogs who spend a lot of time around children and play with them from a young age can develop beautiful relationships.

“Dog? What’s a dog?”

“Some dogs, particularly those who were not well socialized when they were puppies, think far more about their two-legged friends than they do about their canine buddies,” Simon says. “Your dog may act like they don’t give much thought to other dogs, or they may even get scared of other dogs.

“What is this new thing and why does it keep making that noise?”

Having a new baby is a seismic shift for the whole family. It can also mean trouble for your dog. Dogs learn to behave in certain ways when there is another dog or when someone is yelling at them. They may not understand the changes and start to act differently around the new baby.

“The Fed-Ex man will kill us all—but not on my watch!”

“Dog’s are always protecting their family from any outside threats,” Venkat says. Even though their assessment may differ from yours, they’re likely to be much more concerned with threats to their home and property. They’ll be more likely to be prepared for emergencies or other potential dangers. Regardless, they are always ready to leap to your defense (or just bark like they would).

“It’s dinnertime! Why don’t they know it’s dinnertime! Maybe I should tell them it’s dinnertime?”

“We know that dogs like a routine, it makes them feel secure and cared for. If you give your dog regular exercise, you will make him or her happier and healthier. If your dog has a routine, then it’s probably pretty easy to know what they’re thinking,” says Julie James, a dog behavior expert and certified dog trick instructor for The Animal Talent. They’ve got ways of letting their humans know what part of their schedule is on their minds!

“Has it been 10 minutes or 10 days since my human left?”

It’s a non-event for most dogs when you leave for brief periods of time. But it’s not the case for those with a condition known as separation anxiety. Some dogs find it hard to cope when they’re left alone in the house and you can tell they are thinking anxious thoughts by exhibiting behaviors that may include barking, panting, and even furniture chewing. We can assume that they’re unhappy, bored, or lonely. “They may be afraid that we are not going to come back.

“I love eating things that smell like your feet!”

Dogs don’t just love to smell you… they also love to lick you. Chew toys can be your best friends and help keep you occupied. They can help get rid of the houseguests, and while you’re busy playing and entertaining them, your house won’t smell like a cat box. No, it’s just a sign of his appreciation. He’s just saying thank you for everything you do for him.

Chew toys are a healthy part of your dog’s diet, and when it comes to choosing the right toys, the vets don’t recommend a single type of product.

“This is the way to the dog park!”

A pup’s sense of direction and regular walking schedule is all they need to make sure they get to their favorite spots. “I know my dog understands we are going to the dog park because he’s always so enthusiastic on the way there,” says James. “I walk him to different parks for variety and sometimes I let him decide which route to take and which park to go to.

You can try it with your dog. Let them choose the route and see where they lead you. “If she doesn’t take me out drinking, I’m gonna have to start asking out her friends.

“You have treats in your pocket!”

Most dogs want to eat. They don’t need to be reminded that they want to eat every day. But most dogs are interested in food because it’s the first thing they think about when they are hungry. How can you tell when your furry friend is getting hungry? They get into a lot of trouble and won’t stop doing what they do, so you have to keep them close to you. Then, when they stare at you, you know that it’s time to feed them.

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