Dog Body Language

Did you know that dogs have a body language? Just as you can tell when your wife is upset with you or your nephew is excited to see you, in the same way, you can tell how your dog feels if you know what to look out for. Dogs are very expressive and it is easy to tell when they are happy or sad, hungry or ill; they communicate by using their bodies or faces. Learning to read your pet’s body language will make it easier for you to safely interact with your dog. Here are a few things to look out for:

Dog Tails
A dog’s tail does more than wag, it is a communication tool. You know how when a dog wags his tail from side to side we think he’s excited to see us? Well, that is not always true as there are times that a dog might wag his tail as a sign of aggression. Besides if you have an Australian shepherd dog which has a short tail, how much wagging can he do? Generally, a dog will hold his tail in a natural way if he is relaxed, wag it from side to side if he is happy or lowers the tail if he is feeling nervous. If he is really scared, the tail will be tucked between his legs.

Dog Ears
This is another place to watch if you want to know what your dog is feeling. Of course, dogs have different types and sizes of ears from short ears to long ones. However, if a dog raises his ears high then you know that he is alert. He could raise them up and be pointing forward when he wants to get aggressive. If he pulls them back a bit, then he is feeling friendly. When a dog is frightened or feeling submissive, you will find that his ears are either totally flat or sticking to the sides of his head.

Facial Expression
Looking at your dog’s face can also tell you a lot about how that dog is feeling and his emotional state. If a dog stares into your eyes and his body is tense, then that is a signal that he might attack. If that stare is combined with lips pulled back to show teeth, then you know that you are potentially in trouble.

It is a good idea to read all these signs together as a whole in order to really learn to gauge where your pet is emotional. For instance, if a dog is relaxed, his tail will be in a natural position, his ears will also be in a natural position, his body posture will not be tense and his mouth will be closed or slightly open. Conversely, if a dog is feeling aggressive, his ears will be raised up and pointing forward, his body will be tense, his tail might be slightly and his mouth will be open to reveal his teeth. Learning these signs will not only keep you and your dog from trouble when you go to the park, but it will also help you get along better with your canine.