How Do Our Dogs Speak To Us?
11 February, 2015

Lets’ be honest.   Dog owners like to speak to their dogs and there is usually a general understanding between dogs and their parents.  We can easily tell when our dogs are telling us the basics, such as they are hungry, need to go to the bathroom, or when they are happy.  Some dog owners claim to know exactly what their dogs are “saying”, but sometimes we’re not sure what they really intend for us to know.  Or it’s confusing. 

Below are some different ways that dogs convey their intended messages to you:

A happy dog is a relaxed dog

When your dog is happy, he or she has relaxed body language. Your pups’ muscles are relaxed, his tail and ears are held in their natural positions, and he looks neither large nor small for his physique. He might wag his tail from side to side or in a circular motion. His facial expression is neutral or he appears happy—the muscles in his face are relaxed, his mouth is closed or slightly opened, and he might be panting steadily.


An excited dog is ready for action

When your dog is excited, he looks as intense as he does when he’s alert, but he might also adopt a playful demeanor. His body is ready for action. Your pup’s weight might be centered over his rear legs as he prepares to move. His ears are up and his tail is held high, and it may or may not wag. Excited dogs often hold their mouths open, and they might bark while wagging their tails.

A scared dog tries to look smaller

When your dog is scared, he or she does his best to look small. Often, his body looks hunched, is tail held low or tucked between his rear legs and his ears flattened back on his skull. He might cower close to the ground. If escape is possible, he might lean so that his center of gravity is over his rear legs to permit a hasty retreat, or lean to the side so that he can recoil.  Your pup will sometimes look directly at the source of his fear or he might look away. The muscles of his body and face are usually tense and rigid.

Your dog is fearfully aggressive

If your dog is fearfully aggressive he won’t look any different than when he’s fearful, except that he might show his teeth and growl. Some fearful dogs never escalate to aggression, but others will if they feel there’s no escape. A fearful dog isn’t likely to bite a person or other animal unless all avenues for escape are blocked and he feels trapped. Some dogs wait until the person or animal who frightens them begins to retreat, and then they dart out to nip them from

Your dog is trying is trying to get your attention

If you spot your pup gazing at you with a loose and relaxed expression on his furry face, then he may be feeling rather amiable at the moment. Your dog probably hopes that you’ll give him a little bit of positive attention, whether you play fetch with him, rub his belly or anything else. If playtime is what he wants, be attentive to other useful hints, including a wagging tail, ears pointed upward and visible tongue.

Barking is another communication technique that some dogs use to receive attention (not our favorite). If your doggie is barking and you can’t figure out why, he may be doing it to get you to look his way for petting, playing, treats, mealtime or even going outside for a walk. The little guy wants something, and he surely knows how to get it.

Your dog is in pain

When your dog is in pain, whether due to a wound or health condition, he may communicate it to you by vocalization — think howling, whining and whimpering. Doggies utilize these types of vocalization also to convey other types of distress, including nervousness, stress and fear.

Your dog is showing you he loves you (this one is obvious and we love it)

If your dog wants to communicate to you that he loves and appreciates you, he may lick and kiss you. He also may roll over onto his back to show you that he would really love a tummy rubbing session. He may simply put his head over your lap. Whether your dog follows you around faithfully throughout your home or literally can’t take his eyes off of you, he’s communicating a very important message to you: he loves you unconditionally.

We do understand a lot of what our dogs ‘tell us’ but sometimes the body language can convey it to us more readily.




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