Why Dogs Have Wet Noses (and other Dog Questions
As dog owners, we are often astounded and amazed by our dogs and all the quirky things they do. But, we don't
necessarily understand why they do it or what their goal is in wagging their tails or humping random objects in
For all you curious dog owners, here are a few of the most common dog
behaviours and what they mean.
Those Wet Noses
Like any small, seemingly insignificant thing there are plenty of myths about what a dog's nose means and does.
The basic role of the wetness on their nose, however, is to help them cool off when they are too hot.
Like how they pant, they do so instead of sweating (which humans do). Another theory about wet noses is that
they are there to take on moisture when the tongue licks it. This is not available for all dogs as not every dog
can reach their nose easily with their tongue.
In general, however, if a dog's nose gets warm and dry, it could be a sign that they are feverish or that they
are dehydrated. It does not necessarily mean either however. Other signs, like stiff skin or bloodshot eyes should
also be taken into account.
A wagging tail is not always a happy sign. You need to watch for the other body language signals a dog will
share with you that says he is in a good mood. An openly wagging tail that moves in a full sway means a dog is
happy or excited.
However a rapid wagging only at the tip of the tail can mean the dog is anxious or frightened or that they are a
little worked up about something that might have just come into their life. If they put their tail between their
legs and wag it, it means they are completely terrified of something.
This is a prime signal that they need to be removed from the situation at hand.
Dogs have a lot of instincts and ones that have been altered may or may not know what they are doing when they
mount another dog or your leg. For many dogs, this behaviour is simply a way of playing or showing their excitement
and they don't really know why. Just look to see how confused they get.
However, it is also a sign of dominance that is used by both male and female dogs to show that they have
dominated another dog. When a dog mounts another dog, it is a symbolic sign that they are bigger and more powerful.
Dogs will more frequently hump a stranger's leg for this very reason, trying to assert dominance.
Whiskers are special in that they are coarser, thicker, deeper rooted hairs on a dog's face. They are also much
more sensitive because of their proximity to nerve endings. Think of a dog's whiskers like your fingers - they feel
things that they might not be able to smell or hear.
These whiskers can detect shifts in wind speed, pressure changes, rain, distance between objects and much more.
They are also protective, used to catch thorns, dirt and other foreign bodies from getting in their eyes or
Your dog is an interesting little guy. He has lots of quirks and personality and over the centuries he has been
bred to act in certain ways and use certain parts of his body. Remember that the next time he does something you
may not enjoy.
He probably has a very good reason for doing it, at least in his instinct driven canine brain. That
doesn't mean you should stand by and let him, but also don't start yelling or punishing just yet.
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