What Your Dog’s Body Language Is Trying to Tell You?


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The body language of dogs implicates distinctive methods for interconnecting intentions and emotions. This can be somewhat different from how people communicate with one another.

Lots of dogs’ communication comprises growls, whines, and barks, so it is significant to understand what the sounds of the dogs mean.

Frequently, though, canines trust nonverbal body movements. That can result in various misunderstandings between the dog and its owner.

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Often, a dog’s body language is quite strange since people do not have a tail. It is often in thorough disparity with what that similar signal indicates to people, including looking away or yawning.

To better understand dogs, it is advisable for dog owners and dog lovers alike to read the body language of canines. Dogs learn, speak and interact with their owners using their body languages and expressions. Dogs do not have the advantage of language – only human beings have the privilege of it.

Hence, instead, dogs then teach their pups concerning approaching the prey and communicate with humans thru the movement of their tails, body, mouths, and ears.

For dog owners, among the most efficient things to do to help train their dogs is to understand and appreciate the body language signals.

This can help curb and recognize aggression, minimize anxiety, and reduce fear. The dogs’ body language is elementary to understand once dog owners take some time to notice basic actions.Contents show1. Being Alert2. Tail Wagging3. Raised Hackles4. Posture5. Facial Appearances6. EyesInterpreting the Body Language of the Dog

1. Being Alert

Once dogs are alert, their ears will swivel and perk up to catch various sounds. Their eyes might slightly widen, and the dogs’ mouths will stay closed or partly open with teeth covered completely.

The dogs’ bodies will remain ordinary with their weights up on their toes. The dogs’ tails will normally remain upward and slightly wag, but quick and very short wagging only. Dogs tend to make noises but may slightly whine or make use of an alarm growl.

2. Tail Wagging

Tail wagging is like an apparent body language gesture. If the dog’s tail is wagging, then people will know that it is happy.

However, people misinterpret this body language at all times. Wagging of the tail indicates that the dog is aroused emotionally.

This might be excitement on their part, but it could also be a disturbance or worse. To interpret the intentions and emotions, it is best to notice the direction and speed of the wag and the tail’s position. Fundamentally, the quicker the wag, the more the dog is aroused.

Take into consideration those slow, long, side-to-side tail brushes the dog makes when the owner greets them – the kind that wags the entire body of the dog.

That is a sign of a relaxed dog. A quicker quake-like wag means a higher degree of arousal and maybe in a bad way. Consider it as an alert guard dog.

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The wag’s direction may hold signs as also. Previous research on tail-wagging proved that dogs tend to wag more to the right side once they feel upbeat concerning something, such as mingling with its owner.

On the other hand, left-side tail wags indicate that the dog is experiencing or feeling something negative. Next, a helicopter-like wagging of the tail in which the dog’s tailspins in a circular manner.

Unquestionably, that is a sign of a happy dog. Dog owners will observe when the dog is happy when it is greeting an adored person.

Lastly, the position of the tail of the dog concerning the ground has significant indications concerning their emotional condition.

In essence, the higher the dog’s tail is, the more assertive it is. Canines with their tails directing down on the ground or inserted between the legs are sensing fear and feeling stressed.

Dogs whose tails are held up similar to a flag are feeling poised, possibly even aggressive. Dogs that are relaxed hold their tails in a nonaligned stance, but it depends on the dog’s breed.

A variety of dog breeds, similar to Chow Chows, have tails that curl over naturally on their backs, while dog breeds such as the Italian Greyhound have an extremely low neutral tail stance.

For dog owners who understand their pets’ tail position, they will quickly know the dog’s emotional shifts.

3. Raised Hackles

Once the dog’s hackles are raised, it indicates that the hair on their back is arising. Technically known as piloerection, the dog’s fur can fluff up all over the shoulders or to the back and the tail as well.

This is a certain indication that the pet is aroused, but not essentially in a bad way. Besides, the dog is possibly stressed or upset but could be intensely interested or excited about something. This is sometimes an instinctive reaction, such as goosebumps in humans.

4. Posture

The dog’s weight distribution indicates a lot on the intention and mood. Take into consideration a cowering canine that is leaning forward towards the ground.

That is an indication of stress or fear. The canine may be attempting to escape from something or someone, and the stance makes it seem smaller.

Hence, the dog is saying that it means no harm. The posture’s extreme rolls onto their back, showing their belly. This may seem like it wants a belly rub, and it is often for relaxed dogs.

However, this can be an indication of substantial anxiety and stress. It may even urinate a bit in appeasement. The dog’s opposite posture is with its weight forwardly shifted. The dog is attempting to get nearer to something or someone.

This might merely mean the interest of the dog. However, it could specify offensive intentions and specifically matched up with other hostile body language clues such as a higher wagging of the tail.

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In this scenario, the dog is attempting to appear larger. A simple-to-read aspect of the dog’s body language is called the playboy.

This is once the dogs put their chests to the ground with the rear held high. As the name suggests, it is utilized to instigate play with the dog owners and other dogs.

A less simply understood sign is the raising of the paws. To some dog breeds such as the English Setter, raising of the paws is part of the pointing actions wherein the canine signals prey close by.

However, outside of the context, paw raising frequently means that the dog is unsure about the situation or maybe feels quite insecure.

5. Facial Appearances

Dogs have the same facial characteristics as human beings, but dogs do not similarly utilize facial expressions. For example, a dog’s yawning. Human beings yawn once they are bored or tired, but dogs do this once stressed.

Based on a book entitled On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas, dogs yawn to calm themselves up during intense scenarios and calm others, including dog owners.

The book recommends that people yawn at their dogs to provide comfort during stressful situations, such as visiting the vet.

However, dog owners should not be surprised if the dog yawns back. Similar to yawning being contagious to human beings, dogs will yawn too when others yawn.

Lip-licking is another body language of a dog that people misinterpret often. Similar to human beings, dogs will lick the lips after a delicious meal but will lick their lips once they are anxious as well.

Often, flicking of the dog’s tongue happens so fast that it is hard even to notice. The dog is not showing a desire to lick the owner’s face but rather an uneasiness with a particular condition.

The most unclear facial expression of the dog is when it smiles. Several dogs smile, and if dog owners are unfamiliar with this kind of expression, it can rather be terrifying.

Normally, once dogs show off their teeth, it acts as an indication of warning, as if saying to look at their weapons. This is tough to mistake the hostile intention, particularly when it is paired with the frightening bark.

The corners of the dogs’ lips form the letter C, and the teeth at the front are completely shown. Besides, dogs that are smiling showcase their front teeth, but it is the complete opposite meaning.

Called the submissive grin, the facial expression is frequently found on happy dogs with a wiggly and loose posture. The overall attitude of the dog says that it comes in peace.

6. Eyes

Dog owners can understand a lot concerning the dog’s internal condition just by looking at their eyes. Firstly, the eyes of the dog can be hard or soft. Soft eyes have calm lids and often seem like the dogs are peeking, which signals that they are happy or calm.

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On the other hand, dogs with hard eyes appear to go cold, which means an adverse emotional state. The dog may be guarding something or being aggressive.

A tough stare, wherein the dog intently looks at something, particularly for a very long time, typically indicates a threat.

Having eye contact is the most significant indication for dogs. While the hard gaze can become a precursor to hostility, looking away means calming a situation.

Once dogs feel stressed or anxious, they will look away pointedly and shun eye contact. Often, dog lovers and dog owners interpret the dog’s body language as stubborn or ignoring them, but actually, the dog is feeling discomfort.

The eye’s white pars are another main indicator as well. Called the whale eye, once a dog displays the white parts of their eyes, it is a sign that they are feeling stressed or anxious in a specific condition.

Dog owners might sense these as making their dogs uncomfortable, like patting the dog’s head or once they are afraid another dog will steal their toy or bone.

The most usual way dogs showcase their affection towards their owners and with other dogs is thru eye contact.

When dogs are lying at the feet of the dog owners and suddenly intently stares into the eyes, those peaceful times are among the deepest ways that dogs usually showcase love to each other.

Interpreting the Body Language of the Dog

None of these indications of dogs’ body language act alone, as they all share the same emotions, feelings, and expressions.

Hence, when people read a dog’s communication, it is best to look at all the signals and expressions the dog is making use from the shape of its eyes to the height of its tails.

Dogs talk to their owners at all times. Once people understand and learn what dogs are saying, dog owners will create deeper respect and trust connection.

The newfound comprehension of the dog’s emotional state will help dog lovers and dog owners predict the dog’s behavior and avoid problems before happening. There are various other small signals that dog owners can take away from dogs’ body language.

Still, these introductory, basic indications will optimistically help people understand and recognize once the dog has shifted its reactions and expressions to a certain situation or is feeling unwell.

Overall, it is advisable to spend some quality with the dogs while learning their body language. When confronted by other animals or dogs, memorize the significance of reading the dog’s body language.

It is best to determine the dog’s behavior thru its expressions once it is aggressive, frightened, insecure, or invitingly friendly before petting it, and to prevent unnecessary dog bites!


  • How To Read Dog Body Language
  • Understanding Dog Behaviour
  • How to Read a Dog’s Body Language


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