12 Pet Behaviors Owners Get Wrong

As a pet care provider, I'm always told that a pet is a reflection of the owner. So much so, that people believe they know their pet right down to their thought process. So I'm here to present a guide that may surprise you the next time you're giving Mr. Whiskers animal commentary.


When a dog yawns you figure it's sleepy but it just might be him shaking off stress

Yes, dogs do yawn when they're tired- and they've been observed to “catch” a yawn from their human companions- but usually a yawn means they’re tense. A yawn helps a dog to release anxiety and re-focus. Kinda like rolling your shoulders and head. 

A hissing cat is an angry cat right? Not exactly. It's trying to terrify you

A cat's hiss is intended to mimic a deadly snake attack, from the hissing sound to the slitted eyes and bared fangs. When your cat hisses, it's imitating something that can kill you.


When a cat doesn't cover its poop you think it's just being careless. Truth is, she's leaving a message

 Normally cats are quite tidy with their turds, leaving them in litter boxes and carefully covering them up. But when your cat drops a log in the box- or worse, outside the box- exposed and uncovered, she’s saying,  “Attention other cats: this is my territory.” So there's another cat somewhere making her feel threatened.


You think a dog eating its own feces is insane but it's actually instincts

Predatory animals in the wild find dog dens by the smell of their poop. (You might have noticed it's pretty pungent.) Mother dogs will often eat feces to protect their puppies. Another possibility your dog might eat it, is out of boredom. Fortunately, it's easy to cure with a walk.


“Purring means she loves me!” That's not always the case

Cats do purr when happy but they also purr to comfort themselves when they're frightened and to help heal themselves. Scientist have found that vibrations caused by purring can repair muscles and tendencies, breathing, and reduce pain and swelling. It's not just the cat that benefits, cat owners reap the healing properties of purring and there also less likely to have heart attacks.


A cat showing you its belly might seem like a trap but it's really a sign of trust

Most cat owners have experienced it- seeing their cats spread on its back,belly up, then reaching in to pet the cat and getting scratched. So they assume it's a form of play when it's rather the opposite. It's comparable to a human hug, where you press your body against another person. He's exposing his belly to say, “I trust you.”


You probably associate cat rubbing as affection. Nope. She's saying, “I own you.”

That cat lovingly caressing your leg is not only marking you as her property, she’s also letting other felines know whether she's interested in hooking up. So wherever you go, after being scent marked, you're a walking Tinder for your cat.


Dog usually pees when you come home? You think he's happy to see you but he's really saying you're the boss

 If your dog cowards and pees when he sees you, it's an act of submission not over excitement or lack of control. If you yell at your dog for doing it,  you'll make the dog even more submissive and prone to pee. Instead sit down with him and avoid eye contact.


A wagging tail doesn't always mean a dog’s happy. Pay attention to the position

 The position of the tail matters a lot more than the wagging itself. When the tail as held too low and curved and is wagging slowly everything is cool.  If the tail is higher or arched over the back the dog is feeling dominant or aggressive. If the tail wags to the dogs right, (your left as you face the dog) it's a sign of an interest. where wagging to its left signals anxiety.


We associate leash tugging with excitement. It's really confusion

Dogs need to be specifically trained to know what a leash is and to know where you want their bodies relative to yours, when you're out on walks. Otherwise they'll keep pulling harder and harder until they damage their tracheas. Training, by the way, does not mean simply yanking on the leash. It will only trigger your dog to pull harder.


Cats love keeping tidy but all the bathing is done to get rid of your scent

 Cats are incredibly scent oriented, so they're particular about how they smell. Although very eager to put their scent on you and your environment but not so keen on smelling like a human.


You might think your cat brings you prey to please you it's actually trying to teach you to hunt

Cats are natural hunters and yours have noticed that you're absolutely terrible at killing your own food. So like a mother raising its kitten, your cat brings you prey (often still alive) to help you learn to hunt.


Now that you have the inside scoop on these commonly misunderstood behaviors, knowing what your pet is really saying will generate a stronger bond between you.