A dog showing one of the signs it wants something by putting its paw on its owner while they're both outside.

Signs A Dog Wants Something

Dogs can’t talk like we do. Instead, they communicate with us through barks, howls, and a variety of other sounds. They enjoy interaction with humans and prefer to be around them. However, the language barrier can be tricky for humans to understand what dogs want and need. To help you better understand your pup, it’s important to be aware of the signs your dog wants something. So, what signs should you look for? 

Dogs will often give some signs when they want something from their owners. These signs can include rolling over in front of you, showing their belly, turning their heads from side to side, licking you, standing on their hind legs, lifting a paw and placing it on you, chewing their toys, jumping up and down in the same place, sleeping near you, or staring you in the eye.  

10 Signs Your Dog Wants Something From You

A dog looking up over the edge of a table at some food.
It’s not hard to figure out what this dog wants.

Dogs are very communicative creatures and will often give signs when they want something from their owners. Some of these signs include the below.

Rolling Over In Front Of You

Dogs may be effective communicators, but they only know how to convey themselves through their canine communication. For example, dogs express themselves through their body postures as they communicate a desire for the threat to stop and no wish for conflict. 

Rolling over in front of you is a sign of submission. Dogs will do this when they want something from you, such as food or attention. They may also roll over if they are scared and need reassurance. 

When a dog rolls over, it’s important to remember that this is not an invitation for petting, as some dogs may confuse the gesture for dominance or aggression. Instead, speaking softly and reassuring your pup can help it relax.

Showing Their Belly 

Dogs will often display their bellies to show they are not a threat. This can be a way of communicating they are not looking for any kind of confrontation. 

If your pet has its stomach exposed while you pet it, chances are they feel safe around you and trusts that you won’t hurt them.  It can be a way of: 

  • Seeking affection from the owner
  • Showing they are excited to play
  • Them showing they want their belly scratched
  • Showing a sign of deference during playtime

 Responding appropriately when a dog does this develops a positive relationship between the dog and the owner.     

Turning Their Heads From Side To Side

Dogs turn their heads to hear and see their owner better. Although dogs understand some specific words, they can’t interpret most of them. Dogs turn their heads to pick up those words so they can respond to them appropriately. 

Dogs read human faces and understand body language as well. It is a learned behavior in dogs. Therefore, they turn their heads to get a better view of the owner’s whole face.  

Licking You

Licking is an instinctive behavior dogs use to show affection, groom themselves, and cool off. Dogs love licking their owners to show them how much they care. If your pup is giving you lots of licks, it means it feels comfortable around you and has bonded with you. 

But if your dog is excessively licking you, it can be a sign of anxiety or boredom. It could also be a sign something is wrong and your pup needs help. 

Standing On Their Hind Legs

Standing on their hind legs is often a sign of attention-seeking behavior, but it can also signify playfulness and neediness. Dogs stand on their hind legs to show affection to other dogs and humans. 

This is commonly seen when two dogs are playing together or when they want food from their owners.

Lifting A Paw And Placing It On You

Dogs show their love by lifting a paw and placing it on you. This gesture is a sign of affection or protection. It’s also possible your dog is trying to get your attention for something, such as wanting food, attention, or going outside.

If your pup is ever doing this, it’s important to understand their body language and provide the appropriate response.

Chewing Their Toys

Dogs chew their toys as a way to express their happiness and combat boredom when they are alone at home. It is also an indication they want to play or engage in some activity. Chewing can also help calm down anxious dogs by releasing excess energy and allowing them to focus on something else. 

If your pup ever tries to start chewing on something it shouldn’t, redirect it to an appropriate toy or chew item. Proper supervision and continuously providing your pup with engaging toys will help reduce destructive chewing behaviors. 

Jumping Up And Down In The Same Place

Jumping up and down in the same place is often a sign of excitement or anticipation. Your pup may be trying to tell you something, such as needing to go for a walk or asking for a treat. It could also be a way of getting your attention. 

If your dog does this when you come home from work, chances are they are excited to see you and want to show their love.

Sleep Near You

Dogs sleep near their owners for many reasons, including comfort and closeness. It signifies the pup feels safe with you and trusts you. It shows affection, warmth, and connection with the owner. 

Dogs enjoy snuggling up close to their loved ones while they sleep. The dog sleeps near the owner to ensure the owner will not leave him alone. When owners are close to their dogs, it makes them happy, feel safe, and it comforts them. 

Staring You In The Eye

The dog stares into your eyes when you have something it wants, such as food or attention. It is a gesture that says, “I love you” and, “I know you won’t harm me”. It shows a bond between you and your pup and that he feels safe with you. Dogs can also use staring to get your attention or show that it wants something from you.

If this happens, it’s important to give your dog the appropriate response and make sure its needs are met. Additionally, speaking softly and reassuring your pup can help it relax.

How Much Attention Does A Dog Need Each Day?

Dogs should receive a minimum of 1-2 hours of social time daily with humans or other dogs. This can include walking, playing, grooming, enrichment activities, feeding, and cuddle time.

The amount of attention a dog needs each day depends on the individual pup and its particular needs. Puppies require more time, care, and attention than older dogs since they are still growing and learning about the world. However, all dogs need love, companionship, socialization, physical activity, mental stimulation, grooming, nutrition, and healthcare.

Owners should also give some attention to training. Keeping your pup happy and healthy requires patience and dedication from the owner.  With proper care and attention, you can create a lifelong bond with your pup. 

Do Dogs Actually Care About Humans?

Yes, dogs do care about humans. Dogs are incredibly loyal animals and have been known to develop strong bonds with their handlers. They can even understand human emotions and expressions of distress. 

A study from 2018 found that dogs react to human faces expressing six basic emotions: anger, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, and disgust. These reactions include changes in their look and heart rate. Research has also found that dogs notice expressions of distress like crying and are likely to approach their owners to comfort them in these cases.

With love, patience, and understanding, owners can create a strong bond with their dogs.  Dogs are able to sense when their owners are in distress and often develop a protective instinct to try and help them out of it. This is why many owners feel as though their pup truly cares about them, which is because they do!  

Dogs provide unconditional love and companionship that is unmatched by any other pet. They are also incredibly loyal and devoted, making them the perfect furry companion for their human owners.  Ultimately, dogs really do care about humans!

In Conclusion: Signs A Dog Wants Something

If you’re still struggling to understand when your dog wants something, spend more time with it so you can get used to its particular signs. This will develop a stronger bond with your pup, which is beneficial for both of you.

So, have you ever felt like your dog is trying to tell you they want something? Let us know in the comments below!

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal is a licensed veterinarian with more than 5 years of experience in veterinary medicine. After receiving his DVM degree from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, he worked as a veterinarian in both government and private sectors. Dr. Mohsin specializes in small animal medicine and surgery and has experience treating all types of animals including dogs, cats, horses, and reptiles. He has a passion for pets and has written several eBooks on pet care and surgery. In addition to his clinical work, he also volunteers his time for various animal rescue organizations and helps care for injured and abandoned animals.