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Things That Confuse Dogs

March 1, 2023

Does your pup sometimes tilt his head at you, as if asking you to explain something? This adorable sign of doggy confusion never stops charming us. Actually, it turns out that there are quite a few things Fido is perplexed about. A local Roanoke, VA vet lists some of them below.


For us humans, hugs are an expression of support, comfort, and/or affection, and are often offered when greeting loved ones. To our canine pals, however, they are often a sign of dominance. Your own pet may not mind it if you hug him, but you should never hug a strange pooch.


Fido is very loyal and lovable, but he’s not perfect. Sooner or later, he’ll do something naughty, such as chewing or digging. However, you should never punish him, especially after the fact. Your pooch won’t necessarily associate his behavior with your reaction, and won’t understand why you’re angry at him. This can cause confusion, fearfulness, and anxiety. Focus on rewarding good behavior instead.


This one can actually be quite problematic. It’s important to be consistent with your canine companion. For instance, you shouldn’t reprimand Fido for getting on the couch one day, and then let him get away with it the next. It’s also important to utilize the same words or phrasing each time. Your furry buddy won’t understand that ‘Sit’ means the same thing as ‘Go Sit Down!’ If you’re struggling with consistency in training or dealing with behavioral issues, our Behavioral Counseling services can help.


Major upheavals, such as moving or changing owners, can really upset your canine buddy. Fido won’t know what’s going on: he’ll just know that his world has shifted. Pay extra attention to your furry best friend during times like that! Introducing new activities, like swimming, can also be confusing for dogs at first. If you’re planning to teach your pup to swim, check out our article on Teaching Your Dog to Swim for some helpful tips.

Human Body Language

We’ve gotten pretty good at translating doggy language. Most people know that pups wag their tails when they feel cheerful, and snarl or growl when they’re angry. However, Fido doesn’t always understand our nonverbal language. For instance, you should never look a strange dog in the eye. That translates to a sign of dominance in dog talk, and could be taken as provocation.


It’s probably not much of a shock to learn that Fido finds our feline pals a bit confusing. (We do too, buddy.) After all, Fluffy uses a litterbox, willingly cleans herself, and hates car rides!

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, today!

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