How to understand a dog’s body language?

Did you know that all dogs have voices? Despite the fact that they cannot talk, our canine friends may express a vast range of emotions and activities through their bodies.

While we can’t currently sit and talk to our dogs, we can learn to recognize and interpret their body language to better understand what they might be trying to tell us.

You must take all of a dog’s bodily cues into account in order to fully comprehend what they are attempting to say through their body language.

The following are some red signs to watch out for while meeting a new dog.

A Dog’s Body Language

The tension in a dog’s muscles can be used to interpret its emotions.

Tight muscles, especially those in the shoulders and around the head, may indicate a nervous or angry dog.

The mood of a dog may also be discerned from its fur.

A peaceful dog will have a smooth coat down their back, however worried or challenged canines will lift the hairs (known as hackles) over their neck and back to appear greater in size.

These canine nonverbal signals are all present together.

Together, they form a whole.

Consider everything a dog does, from the length of its tail to the form of its eyes, when understanding its signals. You can always “hear” your dog talking to you.

If you can decipher what your dog is trying to tell you, you will build a stronger bond of respect and trust.

Additionally, a better understanding of your dog’s mental state will help forecast behavior and avert problems.

The Language of a Dog’s Ears

Dogs can communicate with humans more efficiently than others because dog ears come in a range of sizes and shapes.

In a natural position, relaxed and contented dogs frequently keep their ears back.

When paying attention or when they are feeling aggressive or dominant, a dog will tip its erect/tense ears toward the direction of what they are interested in.

Dogs who have their ears flat against their skulls typically exhibit signs of fear, anxiety, or subordination.

If a dog’s ears are gently pulled back and its tail is bouncing with delight, it will be friendly and happy to cuddle.

The body language displayed by your dog, on the other hand, is plainly fearful when the ears are flat and pulled back or to the sides.

Depending on the rest of the body language, the flattening of the ears might indicate either surrender or an assault.

If the dog is growling, barking, or seems to be preparing to charge, proceed with extreme caution.

A dog’s ears will typically point upward when it is paying attention or showing interest, and this is frequently followed by a lovely head tilt.

On occasion, when something or someone catches their attention, dogs will point their ears in that general area.

The moron who is talking at them usually has my dogs’ ears pointed in that way.

The Language of a Dog’s Eyes

Similar to people, a dog’s eyes may convey a lot about how it is feeling.

The American Kennel Club states that a happy dog may gaze at you with a calm expression or “soft eyes,” as opposed to direct staring, which signals a dog may feel threatened or try to establish control.

A dog that turns away from you may be apprehensive about approaching you and is trying to seem submissive.

A dog usually shows aggressiveness or fear when they look at you out of the corner of their eye or have enlarged, dilated pupils.

We are aware that these animals prefer French Bulldog food

How can you know if your dog is really hungry or simply begging for a treat? Whimpers and sad expressions could be misleading. Even while it could seem as though your dog is starving, if they are eating regularly, they generally aren’t.

Eye contact is a vital cue for canines. The purpose of looking away is to diffuse a situation, much as a direct glance may indicate approaching aggression.

When stressed, dogs will purposefully look away and avoid eye contact.

People can misunderstand the dog’s discomfort as a sign that they are being neglected or are being tough.

The color of the eyes’ whites is another crucial indicator. A dog will exhibit “whale eye,” or showing the whites of their eyes, when they are anxious or stressed out.

When you make them feel uncomfortable, such when you touch their head, or when they are concerned that someone could take their bone or toy, your dog may display them.

The Language of a Dog’s Mouth

Dogs’ jaws imitate the emotional expressions of people.

The lips of a relaxed dog may appear to be smiling and velvety.

Anxiety is indicated by clinched lips or tight jaws in dogs.

Although certain breeds, including Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, display this behavior, other signs of antagonism include a smile, a curled lip, and exposed fangs.

A dog’s tongue flicking or licking typically denotes uncertainty or anxiety, whereas yawning calms the animal and reduces blood pressure.

Lip-licking is another canine body language indication that people occasionally misinterpret.

Like us, dogs lick their lips after a delicious meal, but they also do it when they are anxious.

When it occurs fast, it could be challenging to perceive the tongue flick. Your dog isn’t wanting to lick your face; instead, he’s unhappy with the situation right now.

The most baffling facial expression is a smile.

It’s true that some dogs do grin, and if you’re not used to it, the smile could look frightening.

As if to say, “Look at my weapons,” dogs regularly show their teeth as a warning.

Unmistakably hostile, a snarl is especially obvious when it is accompanied by a growl of danger.

The dog’s lips have a C-shaped shape, and its front teeth are clearly visible.

The Language of a Dog’s Tail

The position and movement of the tail reveal the feelings of the dog.

Dogs who are excited raise up their tails high and wag them quickly from side to side.

A cautious or apprehensive dog will also wag their tail, albeit it will be straight out and wagging more slowly and steadily.

An attentive dog keeps its tail tall and straight whereas a fearful dog would tuck it between its knees.

A happy dog retains its relaxed in a posture that appears natural to them since each dog’s tail is distinctive, much like their ears.

These suggestions are aimed to give a complete overview of dog body language. The signals and their meanings may differ across breeds.

It is reasonable to infer that the truth is what is most hurtful if the dog’s tail is wagging but the animal itself is grimacing and acting uneasy.

You must carefully observe the entire dog, as well as the setting and situation it is in, in order to understand what the dog is trying to say.

With practice and training, you’ll soon be able to converse with man’s best friend in a new language!

Last but not least, the angle of the dog’s tail in reference to the ground reveals important details about their mental state.

A dog’s strength seems to increase with the height of its tail. Dogs who tuck their tails between their knees or tip them down toward the ground are showing signs of fear and anxiety.

Dogs who are self-assured and maybe aggressive hoist their tails up like a flag.

Although neutrality varies by breed, relaxed dogs keep their tails in a neutral posture.

Certain breeds, such as Chow Chows, have tails that naturally curve over their backs, in contrast to breeds like the Italian Greyhound, which have relatively low neutral tail postures.

If you get used to your dog’s neutral tail position, you might notice a change in their mood more quickly.


Humans do not naturally display canine body language in the same way that our pets do.

The quest to understand dogs is a lifetime undertaking.

Understanding their natural body language may help us advocate for all dogs, not just our own, and provide better care for them.

Do you need to refer to a dog body language chart in order to better understand your canine companion?

We are available to you!


Sarwar Abdullah

Content Developer at Dog Region

Author Bio

Content writing is my passion. And I believe in following my dreams to achieve my goal in life! I am a full-time entrepreneur who believes in investing his time in his profession and passion equally.

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