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How to Read your Dog’s Body Language

June 18 2019

People having dogs as a pet must know about their body language to communicate and understand what dogs are trying to say. There are many ways to know about the dog’s body signals. The way they lift their tail, widen their eyes, bark, relax their body, etc. can tell a lot about them. If your dog is not behaving normal, you should understand that he is trying to say something. The following points will help you to know how to read your dog’s mind.

Positive and happy signs of dogs

Tail down and relaxed shows that the dog is happy and unconcerned with the environment. Ears up (not forward) and head high, mouth open slightly, tongue exposed, loose stance (weight flat on feet) are all signs of a happy and relaxed dog relaxing and not bothered with the things going around him. But tail down does not always mean the dog is relaxed, sometimes mood varies according to the situation as well.

Stubborn behavior

When the tail is stiff but may be seen to quiver or vibrate from side to side and tail is raised and bristled, it shows the dominating behavior of the dog. Hackles raised show the aggression of the dog. The dog seems rigid and with aggressive mood showing signs like ears forward (may be spread slightly to the side to form a wide v shape), the forehead may show vertical wrinkles, nose wrinkled. Lips curled with anger, teeth (and often the gums) are visible. Mouth open and c-shaped, corner of the mouth is forward, stiff-legged stance, body leaning slightly forward are the signs of stubborn behavior with aggression. Such dogs can be helped by loving them and taking care of them. Polite actions are a good treatment for them.

Aggressive but fearful at the same time

Sometimes when the dog is pressed or anyone hurts him, by mistake or by intention, the dog gets aggressive but not submissive. When someone tries to threaten the dog, he will give signals as body lowered, hackles raised, tail tucked (little or no movement), ears back, pupils dilated, nose wrinkled, lips slightly curled (teeth may be somewhat visible) and corner of the mouth pulled back.

Signs showing the stressful behavior of dogs

If the dog is under any type of social or environmental stress, he shows the body language by giving signs like tail down, body lowered, ears back and pupils dilated. Rapid panting with the corner of mouth back and sweating through pads show the stressful body language of the dog.

Submission with fear

If someone threatens the dog and dog doesn’t want to revert back physically, he totally shows the sign of extreme fear by total submission to the opponent by accepting his own lower rank and status. Signs like rolls onto back exposing stomach and throat, tail tucked, may sprinkle a few drops of urine. Other signs include the head turn to avoid direct eye contact, ears flat and back, eyes partly closed, nose and forehead smooth, corner of mouth back.

When a dog is in the mood of playing

Tail up, ears up, pupils dilated mouth open, the tongue may be exposed and front end lowered by bent forepaws are the signs when the dog wants to play.