Published: 16:46, 22 September 2021
| Updated: 16:46, 22 September 2021
From following you to the toilet to sneezing with excitement, our dogs do a number of questionable things, but what do they mean?
We know dogs love spending time with their humans as their heart rate increases by 46% when being told how much they are loved.
However, with life returning to normal, it can have an unusual effect on our furry friends who have been so used to having us at home throughout lockdown.
In fact, Google searches for ‘dog behaviourist near me’ and ‘how to stop separation anxiety in dogs’ have increased by 250% this year.
So, to help us understand why our pooches sometimes act in certain ways we need to take a closer look at the psychology behind our pets behaviour to help uncover what is going on in their head.
Dogs are naturally giving and trust the humans they are with.
When they have a person or family that cares for them and protects them, they very much want to be part of that family for safety and affection.
Dogs can sense Oxytocin, which is the love or feel good hormone you release when interacting with a dog that makes you happy.
But why do they display so many other behaviours and what does it mean?
Dogs tend to beg when they want something, however, dogs actually learn this behaviour from our own reactions.
By responding and giving attention to a dog’s actions, such as petting them when they’re looking at you when you’re eating, you help the dog understand that begging usually means reward and attention of some sort.
Giving your dog attention and any food from the table only gives the dog confirmation that its begging works, and that’s why they’ll continue doing it!
Following you to the bathroom
Who hasn’t experienced their dog being a bit too nosey and following you to the bathroom, or lying down right outside the door?
Our dogs love to know what their humans are doing.
Fearful of missing out, your dog will follow you into whichever room you go to, as they don’t know what you’re up to and what you’re planning to do.
Separation issues are also something that can cause your dog to follow you anywhere since they do not know when you’ll come back from the bathroom if the door is shut.
Sneezing with excitement!
Has your dog ever sneezed when they got excited? In smaller breeds, there’s a palate in the back of their throat that can become irritated when they're excited or having fun.
When it becomes irritated it narrows, which causes the dog to sneeze and wheeze.
Bringing you their toys
Dogs love spending time with their humans. This means they’ll even try to bring you a toy, or something else to get your attention to make you interact with them.
Simply put, they might bring you their toy to make you play with them or get some extra cuddles!
It is normal for dogs to experience separation anxiety at least once in their lives.
Some dogs take it well, while others might suffer more.
The problems with separation anxiety can occur when the dog experiences changes, such as you returning to working full-time after having spent the last year-and-a-half at home with your pooch.
Dogs can display anxiety by barking, howling or chewing on furniture and their toys to calm their stress.
This is an inherently worried reaction from the dog’s side, and not something done in revenge.
Do dogs understand we are different from them?
Dogs understand you are slightly different from them, and that their fellow canine friends are similar to them, no matter the size and appearance.
They will sometimes use dog language to interact with you, but also knows there are mannerisms reserved for other dogs that you will not understand.
Shannon Keary from Canine Cottages, said: “Dogs are naturally attention-seeking, loving creatures and will do anything to gain their owner’s attention.
"This could be things like bringing you their toys or being interested in everything you do – even going to the toilet!
"It is important to understand a dog’s behaviour in order to give them the best care, and love, we can offer them.
"This is imperative now that more people are being called into the office, and dogs will be left alone for a longer period during the days.”
To learn more about dog psychology click here.