Perky Tails

Be Canine Kind

The Five Welfare Needs – Behaviour

The Five Welfare Needs - Behaviour

By Perky Tails Ltd

Behavior is a peculiar topic that many believe they understand, especially with their animals. Simple actions of dogs have seemingly become common knowledge: 

  • Tail Wagging – Happy 
  • Dog jumping around – It’s excited
  • Tail tucked – Scared
  • Ears Up – Alert


But, how well do we really know our Dogs? How are we affecting it? And what can we do to understand our dog’s better?

According to USA Today, a new study has found that dogs are able to make eye contact and listen for cues from their owners similar to an infant. You know that cute head tilt that your dog sometimes does when you are talking to him? That head tilt may in fact be a sign that your dog is understanding your facial expressions and cues. 


Dogs look at our eye contact and body language to figure out what we want them to do. This study looked at several different dogs’ behavior after watching two separate videos. In each case the dogs responded almost identical to the infants that were studied along with them. The researcher, Topal, believes dogs pick up these human-like tendencies after generations of bonding with humans. 


It is surprising how much a dog can sense just by observing our facial expressions. For example:

  • Your dog can sense when you are sad.

Have you ever had that moment where you’re about to cry – but suddenly your dog comes over and starts cuddling up next to you? They do this because they can sense something is wrong. Dogs provide comfort during rough times and their unconditional love is inspirational. 


  •  Your dog knows when you are being unfair.

A study found in the journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that when dogs saw you giving more attention to another pet in the house they would become distressed and anxious. 


  • A dog can tell when you have a new set of priorities.

For example, when you bring home a new baby your dog will pick up the fact that he or she is not going to get the most attention anymore. This can often lead to depression for your dog and sometimes he or she will even start to resent your baby. To help smooth this process get a Baby Sounds CD to familiarize your dog. 


  • Your dog will know when you are mad.

Dogs hate to disappoint and can sense the emotions and body language that comes with an upset “parent”. When you are upset with your dog and he gives you those “sweet puppy dog eyes” he knows that you are upset and is hoping to change things. Instead of disciplining your pet, why not count to ten, take a deep pause and then give your dog a treat. Once the tension is gone, grab the Dog Leash and Dog Collar and take your pet for a nice long walk. Odds are that you’ll both feel a little better. 


  • Dogs sense when you are afraid.

Your dog will pick up on the fact that you are acting frightened. Certain types of dog breeds may react by trying to protect you, while others will probably be just as afraid as you are. But almost all dogs quickly sense when an owner is feeling afraid or anxious.


Next time you are in public talking to your dog in that baby-like voice don’t be self-conscious because your dog knows what you want him or her to do by that tone. He associates that tone with you talking to him. So, when people are giving you weird looks, disregard and tell them that your dog really does understand you, and that the scientists believe so too!