RSPCA Bolton Branch

Registered Charity No. 232243


Understanding dog behaviour

Understanding dog behaviour

Just like us, dogs can experience a range of emotions, the problem is, they can’t tell us.

Happy Dog ©RSPCA

Instead, dogs communicate using mostly body language. They use all different parts of their body, including their tails, ears and eyes to tell us how they’re feeling.

As pet owners it’s important to understand your dog’s behaviour and take part in activitiesto make sure they are living happily and healthily. Learning about and observing dog behaviour will help you identify a happy dog, a nervous dog, or an angry dog.

Understanding dog behaviour

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ guide to your dog’s feelings; Every dog is an individual, so every pet will have slightly different behaviour.

Spend time with your dog to learn their normal behaviour, that way, when something’s wrong, you’re more likely to notice it quickly.

If you’ve got a puppy, consider purchasing our expert advice book covering all the aspects of daily care you’ll need to know.

If you’re worried about your dog’s behaviour please contact your vet for advice and they may refer you to a dog behaviourist.

Dogs are playful and sociable animals, who can become distressed or bored without having fun things to do.

If your dog likes other dogs, consider attending doggy social events such as Big Walkies?

Is something wrong?

Remember that pets don’t always make it obvious when something’s wrong. You’ll need to be observant so you can notice even subtle changes.

Some of the tell tale signs:

  • high levels of grooming,
  • change in their feeding or toileting habits,
  • excessive panting,
  • a change in energy or activity levels

Any change in behaviour may mean your dog is either distressed, bored or injured. If you’re concerned speak to your vet and they might refer you to a dog behaviourist.

Our dog behaviour guide

We’ve created a dog behaviour guide to help you understand your dog’s body language and what they could be feeling.