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If you scroll social media long enough, chances are you’ll come across some sort of viral, funny dog post or video that has something to do with dogs being dramatic. In fact, certain dog breeds like Shiba Inu and Siberian Huskies often get labeled as dramatic dogs.
Siberian Huskies are probably the first dog breed that comes back to your mind when you think of dramatic dog breeds. They often get labeled as dramatic to their naturally loud voice. Even if you have a different breed of dog, there may be times that your dog acts in a certain way that makes you think they’re being dramatic.
So the question is – are dogs dramatic? If they are, why are they so dramatic?
Although you may label your dog as a drama queen, dogs aren’t being dramatic in the way you probably think. Some dogs may have unique personality traits and intense vocalization that causes people to think they’re being dramatic. In most cases, these dogs are just extremely expressive and trying to communicate how they’re feeling.
In this article, we’ll unpack the various ways that dogs act that causes people to think they’re being dramatic, and we’ll discuss what’s actually going on in the dog’s mind.
Can Dogs Be Dramatic?
Some dogs are exceptionally loud and love to “say” how they’re feeling. These dogs are typically naturally vocal dogs, and they have a variety of vocalizations they may express in different scenarios.
When you combine this loudness with the fact that many of these dogs are stubborn and may keep being loud even after they’re told to stop, many people will label these dogs as dramatic.
These dogs are also likely to continue being loud while displaying other overtly obvious body language signs like being excited and jumping around. All of these factors combine together, and many people think their dogs are just being dramatic.
It’s important to note that while these dogs may appear dramatic, they actually aren’t. They’re just loud and vocal and are simply trying to express their feelings and communicate in the only way they know how.
Are Dogs Dramatic On Purpose?
As we mentioned above, even though dogs may act or appear dramatic, it’s important to note that they aren’t doing it on purpose. The signs that dogs display when they’re being labeled as dramatic, like being loud and expressive, are really just ways that the dog is trying to communicate.
In a nutshell, while people may label dogs dramatic, the dog is just simply trying to communicate his feelings.
While dogs are incredibly intelligent and have the ability to learn many things, communicate in their own way, and experience certain emotional feelings, most scientists say that a dog’s brain is on par with that of a human toddler around 2-2.5 years old.
In order for a dog to act dramatically on purpose, that would assume that they can understand the gravity of each situation and can respond, or over-respond, on purpose. While we know dogs are intelligent, they’re not quite capable of a thought process like that.
Instead, dogs simply communicate in the best way that they know how. In many cases, dramatic dogs grab their owner’s attention, which could actually encourage the dog’s dramatic behavior.
When it comes to learning, dogs learn that when they do a certain behavior and get a desirable outcome, like their owner’s attention, they’ve been rewarded for that behavior, which means they’re more likely to repeat it.
So the next time you see a viral video of a dog appearing dramatic and the owner giving the dog some sort of attention, you’ll be able to recognize that interaction is actually teaching the dog to continue to act more dramatically in the future!
Why Do Dogs Appear Dramatic?
Since we’ve established that dogs aren’t appearing dramatic on purpose, rather they’re trying to communicate their feelings, let’s unpack some common scenarios where your dog may appear dramatic.
Reason 1: They’re Communicating Anxiety
Many dogs can be very loud and appear dramatic when they’re actually feeling anxious. Huskies are one of the perfect examples of this!
When dogs are feeling anxious, they may howl, bark, pant, or drool. They may even perform a displacement behavior, which means performing a behavior that seems out of place at that specific time. For example, an anxious dog may choose to lick itself, spin around in a circle, or continuously howl.
While people may label this as dramatic, these behaviors are really just a dog trying to communicate how anxious he is.
Reason 2: They’re Communicating Pain
Did you know that dogs are actually really good at hiding their pain? This is a natural instinct that’s leftover from the days of trying to survive in the wild. In the wild, any animal that appears to be weak, diseased, or in pain is an easy target for a predator. Hiding their pain is a skill they’ve acquired to continue living and avoiding predators.
Since dogs are so good at hiding their pain, by the time a human notices that a dog is in discomfort, it’s safe to assume the dog is quite in pain at that point in time and needs help sooner than later. In fact, for example, by the time your dog is limping, that means your dog has already been experiencing pain for quite a while.
When people see a dog limping, they may be tempted to label the dog as dramatic and brush off the situation. In reality, limping is a real sign of pain and means that the dog needs veterinary care.
Reason 3: They’re Communicating Fear
When dogs are experiencing fear and are scared of something, they’ll often tremble, shake, whine, or bark. Just like with people, it’s important to remember that every dog is different. Some dogs will get scared more easily than other dogs.
Sometimes, owners will consider their dog dramatic even though the dog is actually just scared of something. Sometimes owners call dogs dramatic because they react so wildly to something seemingly innocent, but many times it’s simply because the dog is shaking, crouching, and maybe even has their ears pinned back.
It’s important to remember that what scares one dog may or may not scare another dog. So, treat your dog like the individual he is and work with him to feel safe and secure.
Calling a dog dramatic when they’re scared really doesn’t do anything for your dog, and in fact, that just wastes time that you could be trying to remove your dog from the scary situation so he can feel more comfortable.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Being So Dramatic?
Even though we’ve established that your dog isn’t being dramatic on purpose and is just simply trying to communicate, it can be helpful to understand how to prevent your dog from displaying these overt body language signs that make your dog appear dramatic.
It’s important that our dogs are able to communicate in the ways that they can, but there can be ways to teach your dog to communicate that don’t appear so extreme or dramatic.
1. Don’t Reward The Behavior
As we briefly mentioned above, anytime a dog is acting dramatically and the owner is giving the dog attention, it’s important to recognize that the attention the owner is giving the dog is inadvertently rewarding the dog for appearing dramatic.
For example, if your Husky is throwing a temper tantrum because he wants to go outside, opening the door while your dog is throwing the temper tantrum simply teaches your dog that throwing the temper tantrum gets him what he wants!
If you don’t want to encourage the dramatic seeming behavior, it’s best to ignore the dog altogether. Sometimes even simple things like talking to your dog or petting them could even inadvertently reward the dramatic behavior!
2. Work On Densitization and Counter-Conditioning
The main reason that dogs appear dramatic is that they are reacting, maybe even overreacting, and trying to communicate a certain situation. If your dog is communicating due to underlying fear or anxiety, working through a desensitization training protocol will help them learn that they shouldn’t be so scared of things.
A good counter-conditioning and desensitization training protocol essentially helps your dog to reframe the way they see certain things or situations. Instead of encountering something and becoming afraid, this protocol will help them have a positive emotional response to the thing or situation in question.
3. Work On A General Training Program
While the tip listed above has to do specifically with when your dog is communicating out of fear from a scary scenario they’ve encountered, brushing up on general dog training tips or a general program can help your dog be less dramatic. With these general training tips, you’d be teaching your dog that they get rewarded for calm behavior instead of dramatic, loud behavior.
You could also teach your dog not to be so reactive or startled by various situations. This would prevent your dog from being loud and appearing dramatic in the first place because your dog wouldn’t react at all.
While our dogs can be loud and appear dramatic, it’s important to remember that our dogs aren’t being dramatic on purpose. They’re just trying to communicate in the best way that they know how. In most cases, they’ll act dramatic when they’re just trying to communicate that they’re feeling fear, anxiety, or pain.
In some other cases, they can appear dramatic and loud because they’ve learned that it can get you to focus your attention on them. If you have a dog that is prone to appearing dramatic, it’s best to go over your training protocols to teach your dog to feel calm and safe.