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Man’s best friend isn’t an exceptionally good communicator. Dogs speak to us through body language, but sometimes the signs can be subtle. Which actions are normal, and which ones are abnormal? For future reference, chasing, mounting, marking, and soiling accidents are considered normal dog behaviors, so you shouldn’t be too concerned. However, if they do bother you, you can always seek help from professionals.

For abnormal behaviors, we’ve prepared a list of signs to watch out for:

Lethargic Movements

Are your dog’s movements stiff and slow? If so, it could be an indication that he’s in pain. Keep a close eye on it, as excessive sleeping and inactivity can also indicate health issues. Lethargic movements can be caused by numerous diseases, injuries, and muscle problems. If your dog moves slowly and appears tired all the time, you should take it to the vet.

Excessive Panting

Excessive panting is normal if it’s a hot day and you’re both exercising, but it’s abnormal if your dog pants while at rest or if it persists despite the weather conditions. Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature, but excessive amounts it’s a sign of distress. Excessive panting can be caused by heatstroke, pain, stress, illness, and more. If your dog is panting excessively and displaying symptoms of heatstroke, you should contact your veterinarian immediately or take your dog to the nearest emergency pet clinic.


Does your dog tend to hide under the bed, in the closet, or in the basement? Your dog may be hiding from a threat, but it can also indicate health issues. Hiding is a behavioral change caused by pain or an illness such as arthritis. It’s never normal for a dog to hide from you and ignore you, so if your dog suddenly starts doing this, you should take it to the vet.

Sudden Aggression

Your dog is supposed to be friendly and playful, but dogs sometimes display sudden aggression. If your dog is normally friendly and suddenly bares its teeth, growls, or snaps at you, there’s a chance it could be due to a sudden change in health. It’s an indication that your dog may be in pain or may feel threatened or cornered. For instance, a dog may snap at you if you try to touch his injured paw. If this happens, try to figure out what’s making your dog feel threatened.

Exhibiting Fear and Anxiety

When a dog is afraid of something, it will try to avoid it. A dog that’s afraid of its owner, for example, may try to distance itself from you by avoiding your touch. A dog afraid of unfamiliar places may also try to avoid entering new spaces. A dog that feels threatened may also show signs of fear and anxiety. Always keep an eye out for these signs, as this may indicate a problem with your dog’s health.


We all love our dogs, but many don’t realize how much they can subconsciously influence our lives. Your dog can bring you much joy, but if you don’t know how to care for it in the best possible way, you won’t be able to enjoy life together to the fullest. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health and behavior, the best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with a vet. The sooner you seek help, the better your dog’s chances are of recovering from whatever health issue is bothering it.

Learn more about what your dog is thinking, and establish a stronger connection through dog training classes. Our classes will help you become a better leader for your dog to follow. Sign up today! We are located in Escondido, California.