dog

10 Important Things Your Dog Wishes You Knew

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

If you have a dog, or have ever had one, then you know that it’s easy to fall into a method of communication with them. Just like people, each dog is unique and different, and each one communicates in their own way.

And if you ever wished that your dog understood you a little better, scientists have good news: dogs actually understand us way better than we think they do, maybe even down to exactly what we’re saying.

And after spending time together, your dog probably understands your personal quirks and habits down to the last detail.

But just as all dogs and humans are unique in the way they communicate, they also all have some basic needs and emotions.

Whether your dog is big or small, shaggy or short-haired, and active or lazy, there are some universal things that all dogs wish their humans knew.

In fact, understanding these basic wishes (if you didn’t already know them, which you may) can actually help you become an even better dog owner, because you’ll have a better understanding of where your dog is coming from.

And a little understanding goes a long way in any relationship.

Check out the top 1o things your dog wishes you knew right now, and then go hug them tight.

I Wish You Knew That... You Don't Own Me

I Wish You Knew That... You Don't Own Me
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

It’s easy to think you “own” your dog when you’re buying all the food, but that’s not how your dog sees it.

In fact, your dog thinks she owns you! After all, you’re buying all the food, aren’t you?

But really, your dog sees you as a family member to protect and keep safe from potential threats.

When your dog cuddles up to you, or sits close by, he or she is letting other dogs know that this human has been claimed.

I Wish You Knew That... I Get Stir-Crazy

I Wish You Knew That... I Get Stir-Crazy
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

If you’ve ever come home to a trashed house and a sorry-not-sorry dog, you might have felt a bit guilty for having left them home alone for so long.

And that’s exactly what your dog is trying to tell you. She wants you to know that, just like a human, she needs exercise and stimulation in order to be content.

If you notice your dog has been wrecking things lately, you may need to take her on more walks and spend more time playing.

I Wish You Knew That... I Get Lonely

I Wish You Knew That... I Get Lonely
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Another reason for destructive behavior is anxiety. Dogs get anxious when left alone because they’re really not always sure if you’re coming back.

Being abandoned is a fear that most humans can relate to, and your dog feels it just as strongly, even if you’re just running to the store.

If you suspect your dog may have separation anxiety, talk to your vet about working through the issue.

I Wish You Knew That... My Memory Isn't As Good As Yours

I Wish You Knew That... My Memory Isn't As Good As Yours
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

If your dog does something wrong, she needs you to tell her right away, because she’s simply not going to remember later.

If you scold your dog for something she did earlier in the day, she won’t understand why you’re mad.

So if you come home to a chewed-up shoe and scold her, she’ll think she’s being scolded for greeting you at the door. You’ll have to let the shoe go.

I Wish You Knew That... My Vocabulary Isn't That Big

I Wish You Knew That... My Vocabulary Isn't That Big
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

While dogs have been shown to understand us remarkably well, they still don’t really get the subtleties of spoken language. Dogs recognize certain sounds and words (think “walk” and “no.”)

Instead of presenting your dog with a speech, which will be lost on her, try communicating with body language, the way dogs communicate with one another.

I Wish You Knew That... I Understand Your Tone

I Wish You Knew That... I Understand Your Tone
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

What dogs do understand, though, is tone of voice because they use it, too.

You can tell the difference between your dog’s happy bark and its alarmed one, and your dog can tell if your voice is calm and happy or tense.

Dogs pay a lot of attention to the noise we make, even if they don’t catch every word. They can also sense our feelings from the tone of voice we use.

I Wish You Knew That... I'm Not A Baby

I Wish You Knew That... I'm Not A Baby
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

While we like to think of our dogs as our babies, they’re not. Not really. A baby is a human, and will grow up into an adult human. Your dog is a dog, and is probably already an adult.

While many dogs will patiently let us put sweaters on and cuddle them, they also want to do dog things, like sniff around and explore.

Remember that your dog needs time and space to be a dog, too.

I Wish You Knew That... I Like To Change Things Up Sometimes

I Wish You Knew That... I Like To Change Things Up Sometimes
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

We usually have our dogs follow a fairly predictable routine, with a certain schedule for waking up, walks, and meals. But an occasional change of plans is exciting for dogs, too.

Dogs do need stability and routine, but too much isn’t fun, either. Change things up once in a while.

I Wish You Knew That... I Know How You Feel

I Wish You Knew That... I Know How You Feel
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

With their ability to understand body language and tone of voice, dogs are great at deducing how we’re feeling.

And not only does your dog know how you feel, but she’ll actually feel it right along with you.

If you’re feeling anxious, your dog, who looks to you as a leader, will assume there must be something to be anxious about and become anxious, too.

I Wish You Knew That... I Want To Spend As Much Time As Possible With You

I Wish You Knew That... I Want To Spend As Much Time As Possible With You
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

It’s not a happy fact to think about, but dogs don’t live as long as we do. And during their lifetimes, they want to spend as much of it in the company of someone they love: you.

That means not leaving them at home when you go away, and to make a concerted effort to spent as much time with your dog as you can, even if it’s just hanging out at home.

What are the ways your dog lets you know you’re their favorite human?

Let us know in the comments, and SHARE these wishes with anyone who loves their dog!