Understand Your Dog’s Body Language

happy dog

Sometimes you probably wish you lived in a Disney movie or a cartoon where the dogs can talk. Sometimes it feels like that is the only way you could possibly ever understand your dog and what he or she needs or wants.

Unfortunately, your dog cannot talk like the cartoon characters can, but he or she does say a lot with their body language. You can study your dog’s body language to better understand your dog:


It is very easy to tell if your dog is happy or not. If your dog is happy, he or she will smile with a relaxed and open mouth. If you see this, you know your dog is happy with you as an owner in that moment.

Their ears will also be floppy when they are happy and hang loosely to the side. This mean he or she is very relaxed about their current situation. Your dog’s eyes will also be soft and maybe even a little squinty during times of happiness.

In general, your dog’s entire body will be looser and lighter during times of happiness and playfulness and their tail will be low to the ground and it will probably be wagging too. If things are really great for your dog, he or she will roll on their back in the hopes of a belly rub or scratch.


If your dog is uncomfortable, uneasy or insecure in a situation, he or she will look away from you or others and avoid eye contact. Your dog also might lift one of their front paws and yawn even if they are not tired. These are signs of uneasiness to be aware of.

Your dog also might sneeze, sniff and scratch during times of insecurity and uneasiness. This happens even if your dog is not sick or even itchy. You might also see your dog start to blink very slowly or shake their entire body to release the tension they are feeling.


Uneasiness could turn to stress and anxiousness. Pay attention to whether your dog starts to lick his or her nose or lips frequently. Your dog also might hide somewhere or back away from the situation. You will also notice his or her tail between their legs and their head down. Your dog also might start to pace during these times and whimper or whine a bit.


This is the state to be most aware of. Look for these signs and be careful during these times and notify any others around your pet as well. Your dog will close his or her mouth and stare intently with hard eyes during times of fear and anger. Your dog is on alert when you notice this type of body language.

Your dog’s body will be very tense and their ears will be standing up. If the situation escalates, your dog could bare its front teeth and growl to intimidate. If their ears pin back then they are about to lunge or attack. There could be loud growling or snarling too.

Keep an eye out for these types of body language from your dog and you should better understand your dog in the future and what he or she needs from you as an owner and a friend! Be sure to come back soon for the next pet care post from J&B Pasofinos!