What Does It Mean if You Dream About Dogs?
Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend. Many people live with dogs, so it is probably pretty common to dream of dogs, as dreams often have a lot of similarities to waking life.
Throughout their extensive history of regular interaction with humans, dogs have accumulated many symbolic associations among humans, both positive and negative. Looking at the personality and context of the dog in your dream will help you determine whether seeing a dog in your dream is a good or bad omen.
Dog Dream Summary
Dogs are known for their loyalty and capacity for obedience. These qualities can be channeled for good or for bad by the people around them.
Dogs are very protective of whoever they have a bond with, but they can be aggressive to strangers. Whether a dog is a good or a bad omen in a dream therefore depends on your relationship to the dog.
In general, dogs are so closely united with their humans that they can symbolize the more primal urges of their humans.
Common Dog Dreams
Here are some scenarios in which dogs could appear in your dreams. Each of these emphasizes different variations on the basic dog themes like loyalty and aggression.
- Dream of a mean dog attacking you
- Dream of being attacked by a familiar dog who is usually nice
- Dream that your dog died
- Dream of a friendly dog jumping up on you
- Dream of a dog eating
- Dream of a dog destroying property
- Dream of a dog following you
- Dream of a dog urinating
- Dream of a dog pooping
- Dream of a dog interacting with other dogs
What Do Dogs Symbolize?
Loyalty and Companionship
Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend due to their intense loyalty to their human owners. Humans can also be more devoted to their dogs than they might like to admit, but the open way in which dogs love can push humans to let down their guard.
Royal Central reports that Frederick II, King of Prussia in the 1700s, was lonely in his later life and turned to his greyhounds for companionship. Even now, lonely people are advised to get dogs.
To dream of a dog can therefore symbolize that you currently have or are searching for loyal friendship. The friend you seek might be another human, or it might be a dog or other animal.
Dogs tend to be unquestioning in their loyalty, however, so dreaming of a dog can raise the issue of whether you are being loyal to someone who doesn’t deserve it.
Dogs are commonly trained to obey commands like “Sit” and “Stay.” The term “lapdog,” however, can be used derisively to describe a person who is too obedient to another person.
Dreaming of a dog can therefore symbolize conflict around issues of obedience. Some amount of obedience to authority is often necessary for the world to be a functional place.
You may, however, need to look at whether you are obedient to the right people for the right reasons. The obedience training of humans is not as obvious as the obedience training of dogs, and thus it can be harder to confront.
People often get dogs, especially bigger dogs, for protection against home intruders. This is especially a common practice among women living alone.
Having a “Beware of Dog” sign on your property can offer some protection even if you don’t actually own a dog! Dogs have such a reputation for defending their turf that potential intruders are not willing to find out whether or not a dog is truly present.
Dreaming of a dog may therefore symbolize that you are protected. Alternately, it may refer to you protecting others.
A dog’s ability to protect people feels great if you’re the one being protected. If you’re the one the dog is trying to protect someone from, though, the dog’s protective behavior can feel more like aggression.
A dream of a dog can therefore bring up questions of perspective. From the perspective of many dogs, the daily delivery of mail to their humans is perceived as an attack, and mail that the humans were looking forward to receiving – such as a passport, as shown on Dog Shaming – can therefore wind up chewed.
Sometimes aggression is necessary to defend yourself, and in that case it is helpful to embrace a dog’s clarity about the situation. Just make sure that what you are facing is truly a threat and not merely the mail.
As shown on the website Dog Shaming, dogs do some really stupid things, such as, “I dumped the cat box and ate all of the turds.”
Another Dog Shaming star addressed the issue more directly: “They said I wasn’t bright, so I ate a lightbulb.”
Again, it might be a matter of perspective, where somehow these actions make more sense to the dogs than to their humans. You at least learn something when you try new things, even if the result isn’t what you had hoped, so dreaming of a dog could symbolize this openness to experimentation.
The Tarot card The Fool represents beginning a new journey – and, in many Tarot decks, this uninhibited traveler is shown with a dog, as noted on Biddy Tarot.
Perhaps dogs are simply experts in “beginner’s mind,” which Zen Habits describes as “dropping our expectations and preconceived ideas about something, and seeing things with an open mind, fresh eyes, just like a beginner.”
Dog Dream Interpretations
Dream of a mean dog attacking you
Sometimes a mean dog is scarier than a mean person because there’s at least a chance you could reason with a mean person. With a mean dog, though, there’s typically no way you can get through to them.
If you dream of a mean dog attacking you, you feel powerless in your life. You are being attacked by some person or circumstance with a viciousness beyond reason, and there is nothing you can do about it.
If the dog actually bites you hard enough to break your skin in the dream, things have totally broken down in your life.
If you are able to successfully defend yourself from the attack in the dream, then that is a good omen for being able to solve your problem in waking life.
If you find safety by fleeing the attack in the dream, the solution to your problem in waking life may involve simply withdrawing from the conflict. You may not get the vindication a dramatic confrontation could offer, but sometimes the only win you can get in a volatile situation is an exit where you remain physically intact.
Dream of being attacked by a familiar dog who is usually nice
If you dream of a familiar dog who is ordinarily nice attacking you, you might feel betrayed by some person or circumstance in your personal life. Maybe you didn’t see the betrayal coming.
On the other hand, maybe you are the one committing a betrayal. Animals are sometimes surprisingly good judges of character, so, if a dog or other animal who didn’t have a problem with you in the past turns on you in your dream, you might be heading down a bad path that you need to correct.
Dream that your dog died
If you dream that your dog died, and nothing is physically wrong with your dog in waking life, you may feel the loss of dog-like qualities in yourself. Given that dogs are often involved in protection, you may feel unable to defend yourself, for instance.
You may also feel deprived of friendship, especially the innocent and uncomplicated type of friendship a dog tends to provide. There may also be an element of feeling like you have lost your innocence or your faith in the basic goodness of the world.
Dream of a friendly dog jumping up on you
If you dream of a friendly dog jumping up on you, this might symbolize connecting more spontaneously in your human relationships than you usually do. Perhaps someone else will take the initiative in a way you welcome.
If the dog jumping up on you is a dog you know in waking life, you might have contact with your friends and family. If the dog jumping up on you is unfamiliar, you might meet a new person who will be significant in your life.
Dream of a dog eating
If you dream of a dog eating normal, nourishing food, you might need additional nourishment in your own life. This might have to do with what you literally eat, or it might have to do with meeting other needs like emotional or creative satisfaction.
If you dream of a dog eating non-food items, one possible interpretation is that whatever you are eating doesn’t really qualify as food. You might need to replace fast food or overly processed food with fruits and vegetables in your own diet.
You might also need to think outside the box as to what does nourish you, food or otherwise. Maybe you need to take in something unusual to meet a unique need that you have.
Dream of a dog destroying property
There is some overlap between a dream of a dog destroying property and a dream of a dog eating non-food items as noted above. Sometimes dogs eat something strange to eat it, and sometimes they chew more to destroy.
If the dog in your dream is clearly just destroying something, examine the dog’s attitude. Does the dog seem playful, or does the dog seem angry?
A dream of a playful dog destroying property could refer to a situation in your life where people goofing around have gone too far and caused real problems, even if there were no bad intentions.
A dream of an angry dog destroying property could refer to feeling like you or someone else in your life is out of control.
Dream of a dog following you
If you dream of a dog following you – not chasing as though to attack, but just calmly trailing – there is something in your life you can’t get away from.
Some people describe depression as a black dog that follows them. The dog could also symbolize your own past, like you can’t get away from your past.
If the feeling around the dog following you is more positive, though, this dream could symbolize that you have someone looking out for you and protecting you.
Dream of a dog urinating
Dogs are known for marking their territory by urinating. If you dream of a dog urinating, you may feel like the boundaries around your own territory are unclear.
You may need to push back against other people in your life who have wandered too far into your physical or emotional space. Conversely, you may be aggressively pushing too far into someone else’s space, attempting to expand your own territory in a ridiculous and unsustainable way.
Dream of a dog pooping
Humans are typically trained to poop in indoor toilets. Dogs, however, get in trouble for pooping indoors, as they are typically taken outside to go poop.
To dream of a dog pooping outdoors, therefore, symbolizes conflict around issues of freedom. For a human, being able to poop outdoors might sound liberating, like the conventions of society no longer apply to you.
Think of pooping outdoors from a dog’s perspective, though. How free are you if you’re doing what you were told to do, as well as being watched while you are doing it so someone can put your poop in a plastic bag when you are done?
The dream might therefore symbolize feeling like you are being micromanaged, especially by someone who claims they are doing it for your own good. Even if they mean well, and even if you have some positive feelings about this person overall, you might not be happy about being treated like their domesticated pet.
If you dream of a dog pooping indoors, you are probably in a situation where you were set up to fail – where you look like the bad guy even though you were not given the resources you needed to do a good job. The main reason a well-trained dog would poop indoors is that their humans are not attentive enough to their needs and not letting them out when necessary.
Dream of a dog interacting with other dogs
So much emphasis is put on the intense connection between dogs and their humans that it can be jarring when it sometimes comes up that dogs actually are not the same as humans. An attentive dog owner may learn over time what different barks mean, but ultimately we don’t speak their language.
If you dream of a dog interacting with other dogs as opposed to interacting with humans, you are at a point where you feel like you need to connect with people who have certain basic things in common with you. You just want to be understood in your own native language without effort.
Dogs together can cross the line into pack mentality, and humans similarly can become focused on their own little group in a way that excludes or oppresses others. Dreaming of a group of dogs can therefore be a warning that you may be engaging in pack mentality behavior.
There is such a difference between dogs and humans that it can be easy to forget that there are differences between individual dogs too. If a larger dog is interacting with a smaller dog in your dream, you may be dealing with issues of status where one person is able to easily dominate another.
If you dream of dogs sniffing each other’s butts as a greeting, you may be in a phase of your own life when dating and mating is important. While humans generally don’t openly sniff each other in the way that dogs do, Smithsonian Magazine reports that humans do receive information about each other through airborne molecules called pheromones.
Dogs are intertwined in the lives of humans, so dreaming of dogs is probably more common than dreaming of exotic wild animals. Just as writers are often advised to write what they know, dreamers often dream what they know.
Your own associations and life experiences with dogs will often be the greatest guide to interpreting your dream of a dog. If you know a particular dog in your dream too well, though, sometimes that extensive history can make it harder for you to interpret the dream.
Try looking at your dream as a story – for example, “A dog was following me” – first to get the overall message. Then add the specific details like “My dog Biff was following me” and think about the personal associations that you have with Biff.
Ultimately your dream of dogs or anything else is a unique gift meant to speak to you personally. By weaving general and specific associations for your dream together, you can get a powerful interpretation.