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Dog body language: What is your pooch trying to tell you?

Just like us, our dogs experience a wealth of feelings and emotions, which is one of the many reasons why we have such a strong bond with our canine friends.

You’ll see them bursting with happiness at times, usually when you arrive home or when their dinner is put out for them! At other times, however, they can feel down in the dumps, or they could be nervous about something. There’s no doubt that they’ll feel guilty at times, too, so much so that dog shaming is now one of the most popular things on the internet!

Of course, our dogs can’t speak to us to let us know how they’re feeling, so they have to rely on their body language instead. If you’re new to dog ownership, there’s an abundance of signs you can look out for, to help you get to grips with dog body language meanings and what your pooch is trying to tell you.

We’re here to lend you a helping hand, with our nifty guide on how to interpret dog body language. Read on to discover the signs of a happy, playful, nervous or frustrated dog, to name just a few.

You’ll learn more about the different signs they display and what they could mean, so that you know how to respond to your dog’s emotions and from there, build a strong relationship with them.

There’s no happier dog than a healthy dog, so don’t forget to stock up on our SuperDog supplements, a tasty daily treat that can help to support their general health and wellbeing.


Your dog's body language:

What is your pooch trying to tell you?

Actions speak louder than words when it comes to our dogs.

To make your canine friend as happy as possible and to create an unbreakable bond between the two of you, it helps to understand their body language.

The key signs that your dog is trying to tell you something:
  • Wagging tail
  • Soft, gentle eyes
  • Relaxed forehead
  • Ears moving backwards & forwards
  • Slightly open mouth (almost smiling!)
  • Soft, relaxed breathing
  • Leisurely walk
  • Bouncy & energetic movements

These signs are all indicators your dog will use to tell you they are extremely happy!?

  • Alert and bright-eyed
  • Concentrating on you or a specific object
  • Body braced forward & ready to go
  • Closed mouth, or open with tongue positioned centrally
  • Raised head
  • Ears pricked up

You’ll know from these signs that your dog is very focused , exactly how you want them to be during training or when you give them a command.

  • Alert, quick-blinking eyes
  • Body bowed down at the front
  • Body high up at the back
  • Ear pricked up
  • Wagging tail
  • Mouth slightly open
  • Panting or barking
  • Tongue hanging out of their mouth
  • Occasionally moving their front feet from left to right

This is a very playful state and your dog is encouraging you to spend some quality time with them!

  • Sat in front of you
  • Head tilted upwards
  • Alert and staring, wide-eyed
  • Panting or whimpering
  • Occasional whimpering
  • Offering their paw

Classic signs that your dog wants something you have! You’re likely to see this behaviour when you’re tucking into some food!

  • Sat or lying down
  • Alert, engaged & interested
  • Closed mouth, or open with a slight grin
  • Soft, relaxed eyes
  • Relaxed ears
  • Smooth forehead and lowered eyebrows

These are the signs that every dog owner should look for on a regular basis, as it’s how your dog is telling you just how content they are .

  • Tail hanging low, sometime slowly swinging
  • Wide, staring eyes
  • Narrow, averted eyes
  • Wrinkled forehead
  • Ears pricked up or head closer to their head
  • Closed mouth
  • Yawning
  • Lower body posture overall
  • Lip licking in some cases
  • Raised front paw in some cases

If your dog is showing any or all of these characteristics, they are very anxious about something .

  • Shrunken, cowering posture
  • Standing incredibly still
  • Backing away and rolling onto their back
  • Hiding in a corner
  • Panting
  • Prolonged growling
  • Loud barking
  • Wide, darting or staring eyes
  • Ears rigid & flat against their head
  • Tense lips
  • Still tail - hung low or tucked between their legs
  • Refusing their favourite treat

With these signs, you can assume that your dog is frightened of something , most likely whatever it is they have their eyes fixed on.

  • Tense body posture
  • Unable/refusing to move from the spot
  • Repetitive barking
  • Wide, staring eyes
  • Unresponsive to your voice
  • Lunging at something or running away from it
  • Ears pricked up

These are the tell-tale signs that your dog is frustrated by something . It’s best to try and calm the dog down in this situation, otherwise they could be affected by long-term depression .

  • Relaxed posture that you can see occurring
  • A softer gaze
  • Head lowered
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Yawning in some cases
  • An energetic shake in some cases
  • Stretching or running

When you see these characteristics after a frustrated period , you can rest assured that your dog is feeling more relaxed and relieved.

  • Tense, upright body
  • Lying down or cowering in some cases
  • Wide eyed and staring
  • Dark, enlarged pupils
  • Ears pressed against their head
  • Fur stood on end
  • Drawn back lips, teeth visible
  • Wrinkled nose
  • Stood forward
  • Silent or growling

Obvious signs that your dog is very angry . about something and should be left to calm down.

Understanding how your dog communicates with you and what they are trying to tell you, is an essential part of a happy and healthy relationship between you and your pooch!