If your dog could talk, here are four things he or she would tell you:

#1: “You belong to me.” Jennifer Brent represents the advocacy group Found Animals. And she says one of the reasons your dog does strange things, like rub against you, is to mark you with their smell. That tells other animals that you’re taken.

The next thing your dog wants you to know: “When you leave, I'm afraid you won't come back.” Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker says that separation anxiety causes stress hormones in dogs to skyrocket. That’s why many pets attack the door frame when their owners leave. To help your dog cope, Dr. Becker recommends rehearsing your departure. Put your coat on, grab your keys, and go outside for 30 seconds, then come back in, and then go out again for one minute. Repeat your quick comings-and-goings every day until your pet learns that you always come home.

The 3rd thing your dog would tell you if they could: “I need more exercise!” Gina Spadafori is the editor of the website Pet Connection. And she says that boredom and excess energy are the causes of many pet behavior problems. So, if your dog’s chewing furniture or barking excessively, try taking them outside for an hour a day.

Odds are that’ll solve the problem.

And the final thing your dog wants you to know: “Be clear when I’m doing something wrong.” Arden Moore is a certified pet-care instructor. And she says that a lot of owners confuse their pets. One day they’re allowed on the couch, one day they’re not. Instead, when your pet misbehaves, just say the word “No” in a firm tone. Just make sure you reprimand them when the mistake is happening, or they won’t know why they’re being punished.

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