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Things Dogs Don’t Understand

March 1 2024

Does your dog sometimes tilt his head and look at you with a questioning expression when you do or say something he doesn’t quite get? This adorable habit is actually a clear reminder of the differences between the way dogs process information and the way we do. It’s important to keep that in mind when interacting with your furry friend. Here, a Nacogdoches, TX veterinarian discusses some things dogs don’t really understand. 


Some of our canine pals have a deep-seated instinct to guard their territories. However, Fido’s mental map of what he considers his territory isn’t necessarily going to match your property lines. Huskies, for instance, are notorious for taking off. Part of this is because they want to patrol their home ground … which, in their minds, may also include the neighbors’ yards. Make sure your fencing is sturdy, and don’t let your pooch run around off-leash.


Our four-legged pals are wonderful pets and companions, but they aren’t perfect. Sooner or later, Fido will misbehave. Punishing him, especially after the fact, may only backfire. Man’s Best Friend doesn’t understand the concept of punishment. Dogs learn by associating specific things and behaviors with either positive or negative associations. Focus on rewarding good behavior. 

Language Nuances 

Consistency is extremely important. Always use the same commands and phrases with Fido. Your canine buddy won’t understand that ‘Fido, come here right now’ means the same thing as ‘Come.’

Edible Danger

Fido can get himself into trouble in many different ways, but one of the most common—and concerning—is through eating or chewing on things that are unsafe. Keep anything that could be hazardous in spots your pup can’t reach. That entails not just unsafe foods, but also toxic plants, plastic bags and ties, and anything small or sharp.=

Human Body Language 

Our canine friends are very smart: some can learn up to 100 different words and phrases. However, Fido can easily misinterpret our movements and expressions. For instance, hugs and direct eye contact are both signs of intimidation to dogs.


You really can’t blame dogs for being confused about our feline friends. Cats rarely follow orders, wag their tails when they’re mad, willingly clean themselves, and do their business in boxes. None of that makes any sense to Fido!

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Nacogdoches, TX animal hospital, anytime! 

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