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What’s your dog trying to tell you?

Do you ever wonder why your dog has certain behaviors, and what they mean? The zoomies, the staring, the licking? According to experts, there are reasons for their behaviors, but they may not be for the reasons we think.

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Thousands turn out in 2012 at Liberty Park for the Strut Your Mutt event.

Thousands turn out in 2012 at Liberty Park for the Strut Your Mutt event.

Deseret News

Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking or feeling? Many dog owners may be wondering the same thing. According to the ASPCA, roughly 23 million American households welcomed pets into their homes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although there isn’t a concrete method to know exactly what your dog is feeling, some of their behaviors can be interpreted, according to The New York Times. Whether they excessively lick your face or they follow you from room to room — bathroom, too — there is likely a reason behind it. It just may not be the reason we think.

Before you resort to categorizing dogs’ personalities according to their breed, consider a recent study from the University of Massachusetts that found “that behavioral traits in dogs are not specific for breed.” In other words, your golden retriever may be friendly, but that isn’t necessarily a result of its breed. They’re just a good boy/girl.

“While genetics plays a role in the personality of any individual dog, specific dog breed is not a good predictor of those traits,” said senior author Elinor Karlsson, PhD, associate professor of molecular medicine at UMass Chan and director of the Vertebrate Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

So, what personality traits and behaviors can we decipher?

Dogs show physical signs of stress, The New York Times reported, such as pacing, panting and scratching. Being able to understand certain cues from your pet can help you better understand them.

Physical signs of happiness or stress are important to pay attention to, especially in situations when you are outside of the home with your dog, such as the dog park, at the vet or out in public. Removing stressors for your dog’s environment may help with better behavior on their part, making for a better experience within the home.

With more and more millennials choosing pets over parenthood according to Forbes, the focus on what goes on in the canine mind may be higher than ever.

While we humans don’t have all of the answers as to what goes on in a dog’s mind, we are certainly trying. Research facilities dedicated to understanding the canine mind are present throughout the world, with facilities in Hungary, Austria, Germany, Italy, Australia, Time reported.

Better understanding of your dog’s personality and their behaviors can help with training, socializing and communicating. Happy dog, happy life.