Your dog certainly communicates to you using vocalizations, and although some of the meanings are straightforward, others can be rather confusing. Groaning and sighing are both common doggie sounds -- and they can express diverse emotions such as happiness and frustration. You love your pet, so learn how to interpret her language.
If your dog starts groaning or sighing deeply when you gently pet the top of her head, for example, she's probably not indicating her discomfort, but rather her pure delight. By groaning, your dog is telling you that whatever you are doing feels great -- and therefore encouraging you to keep it up. You may at first confuse the vocalization with growling, but if you take context into consideration, such as your pooch's posture, you'll see that elation is the name of the game.
Sighing is also how dogs sometimes convey defeat. If your pooch has been enviously eyeballing the turkey sandwich on your kitchen counter, but realizes that she has no way of gaining access to it, you just might hear her sigh as a way of saying, "I surrender. I'm just not going to get my determined paws on that delicious sandwich sitting there all by itself. Ugh. C'est la vie."
If your dog is gearing up for a night of sleep -- or perhaps even a lazy afternoon nap -- she might just sigh or groan as she prepares to doze off. You might also notice the sighing accompanying other pre-sleeping behaviors -- think stretching out. In canine speak, a sigh frequently means, "I'm absolutely exhausted."
Groaning and sighing sounds can occasionally signify health issues and discomfort in canines, as well. If you think that your pet is sighing, she may actually be wheezing -- a common indication of respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis. Also, if the sighing and groaning seem excessive, it could also signify pain in your poor pooch, whether due to arthritis or an injury. Set up an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as possible to figure out what is causing your pet's malaise.
- The Dog Bible; Tracie Hotchner
- Canine Behavior; Bonnie V. Beaver
- Michigan Veterinary Specialists: Chronic Bronchitis
- ASPCA: Dogs Who Are Hand Shy
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