Our pets have a lot to say and use body language to let us know what’s going on, specifically their facial expressions and body postures. By interpreting their body language you can determine what your pooch is trying to tell you, such as when they are happy, stressed, or fearful. Understanding your dog is important in building a strong long lasting relationship and bond.

Happy dogs smile just like us with open mouths. They often pant lightly with soft eyes, and relaxed ears. Their bodies are not tense or stiff.  A happy and playful dog will hold their tail up high and it will be wagging.

When a dog is not happy, their mouths are usually closed and their eyes look fierce and hard, like they are staring. If a dogs body and tail are stiff and the hair on the back of his neck is raised, it is a sign that he is agitated and angry.

Scared dogs will pull their head and their ears back. They will show the whites of their eyes and furrow their brows. Other signs to look for when a dog is feeling fear and anxiety are tucking of the tail between their hind legs, yawning and flicking their tongues.

A dog is being submissive when he is rolling around, inviting a belly rub. They will often lick another dog or person to send a message that he is not a threat and means no harm. His tail is usually in a neutral position and ears are backward of flattened against his head.

We should make every effort to listen to and understand our dogs, just as we want our dogs to listen to us. Being attentive to the signs that your dog is giving will also help assist in training him. If your dog is being fearful you want to be sure you do what you can to re-assure him, depending upon the situation. Many dogs that are rescued have been through stressful and fearful situations. Paying attention to their body language will help you to bond with them and to socialize them in a manner that is comfortable to your new family member. A dogs emotions are expressed through body language and if we aren’t listening, it can lead to aggression as a way to make themselves clearer or they can become even more fearful.  It’s important to understand your dog’s body language to prevent potential conflict and avoid exposing him to unnecessary stress which can cause health and behavioral issues. Just as your dogs pays attention to the sound of your voice and movements you need to pay attention to his. Happy Dog.. happy life!