You’ve seen that look. The one your dog gives you when you walk by the food bowl and “forget” to fill it. And just to make sure you are aware of your mistake, he politely taps the bowl. This is dogsplaining, plain and simple. Dogsplaining is when your dog thinks you just don’t get it — so much so that it needs to explain it to you — often.
Does your dog dogsplain to you? We checked out Twitter, asked our friends and looked to our own home for some prime examples to share — and included what pet parents can do to address what your dog is truly communicating.
1. You’re most interesting when you’re cooking
Here’s that look again. You’re cutting up cabbage for your slaw and your dog gives you the deepest, longest sigh. You lock eyes. He might even throw in a gentle paw to the knee, letting you know you’re currently the center of everything and how dare you ignore him at this moment.
Of course you understand why. You control food, including the scraps that may fall to the ground. (Or in my house, the cabbage we toss as a treat.) But having a pup underfoot when cooking can prove dangerous. Teach a good backup and wait command to keep your dog out from underfoot and safe while you’re cooking.
2. If it falls on the floor, it’s fair game
Sometimes it just doesn’t matter whether it’s edible or not — anything your dog sees fall to the floor must be a treat. As seen with this poor dog who decided a cooking spoon was the perfect dog treat, most pups will tell you that it doesn’t have to be digestible to be gobbled up.
Want to avoid the emergency trip to the vet? Check out these tips for puppy proofing and be sure to teach your dog a solid leave-it command for those “oops” moments when something drops.
3. Any food is my food… but especially cat food
It may smell tasty and satisfy the taste buds, but a regular cat food diet for your dog is inadvisable. If your pet likes to taste or (let’s be honest) steal your cat’s meals, a really solid leave-it command is super-helpful.
Take a look at some additional tips and tricks to keep dogs out of your cat’s food.
4. It’s a dog’s sovereign right and duty to lick its butt
Gross… and generally OK, right?
Yes, but not too much. Too much licking or dragging your dog’s rear on the carpet can be a sign of intestinal worms, anal gland impaction and allergies, according to Dr. David Elbeze of PetCoach. So if Fido seems to be really going at it, you may want to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and get it checked out.
5. No walk is long enough, except when it’s cold… or raining… or too hot… or snowing…
Whether your new puppy is first learning to walk on a leash or your elder, seasoned dog hates to walk in the rain, sometimes a quick walk can turn into a war o' the wills when your dog’s just not feeling it.
Check out these quick tips for leash-training success. And for the dog that has difficulty in rain, a few small changes can help build confidence and make walking, even in bad weather, a pleasant stroll around the block.
6. Kids are weird
Well, truly, they are. Kids move fast, yell, laugh, are different sizes and shapes and otherwise are perfect for weirding out dogs who enjoy a simple routine and not much going on. Liza, one of our senior rescue dogs, is beloved by little boys — much to her chagrin. She’s much happier when we walk the other way, away from small children, which we do as a rule to keep everyone safe.
However, socialization of puppies and dogs with children can go a long way to helping your dog become well-adjusted. Get your dog comfortable around kids with these tips.
7. Food tastes better the second time around
You look out into your backyard to see your dog sniffing at and then, ugh, eating its poop. It’s gross to watch your dog re-eat its dinner, but also fairly common. In fact, your dog could decide poop is yummy for a number of reasons.
Of course, poop isn’t the only way dogs re-eat their food. Dog vomit can also be a delectable second breakfast for Fido, so be sure to clean right away when your dog throws up. (And learn more about what’s considered “normal” dog vomiting here.)
8. Your house is boring
Just like you, if your dog’s mind goes unstimulated, mischief can follow — and the winter months can make keeping your dog’s mind active even harder.
Alongside entertainment, regular enrichment activities help keep dogs happy, healthy and out of trouble. Check out ways to stimulate your dog’s brain. Or during the colder months, relieve winter boredom.
9. You’re all I've got
Remember, while we have the whole outside world, chances are your dog’s whole world revolves around you. For some dogs, that means much of their world goes away when you leave them alone. If your dog’s one of those that freak out when you leave for work, take it as a compliment, be as patient as possible and contact a local trainer for help.
Unsure of what is actually happening when you leave? Here are six common signs of separation anxiety in dogs.