brown short coated dog on brown tree log

Understanding your Dog’s Body Language


In a world full of different species co-existing together, it is important that we try and understand each other and respect each other’s boundaries. But respect and understanding can only be found if you take some time out in listening to what the opposite being is trying to communicate. But what happens when the mode of communication and the language is completely different? This is when you read their body language to understand what they are trying to say. When you co-exist with animals, it is important that you learn to understand the cues they give in their own style and manner. This will help you connect with them on an emotional level. Understanding your dog’s body language also helps you in reading the human body language effectively. 

If you aren’t very good at understanding, these minute behavioral patterns then do not fret, we are here to help you out. We will list down a couple of important body language signs. These will help you identify what your dog is trying to communicate with you. 

Important Body Language Gestures:

The Happy Wag: Ears back, tails wagging, tongue full out:

Image of a happy dog in the article Understanding a dog's body language
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

This basically means your dog is extremely happy to see you and wants to play with you and lick your face. Dogs are usually extremely happy when their tongues are out and their ears have gone back. Their tail is wagging with excitement and glee and their entire body can’t keep calm. 

Rub my Belly, Silly: On his back, showing his belly to you, total submission:

When your dog is the most relaxed, he or she will show his belly and put his guard down. This is a sign of absolute submission and trust. They are not threatened by you at all and want to touch their most tender and intimate body part, their belly. This is when you know, your dog is love with you. 

Stretch it, Flex it, Feel it: When they have a relaxing stretch and come to you: 

When your dog stretches his body and comes to you, it is a sign of an absolutely relaxed state of mind. This is when they want to cuddle with you and show you that they love you. 

Crouching Doggo, Playful Dragon: When they have a playful crouch:

This is when they are in a very playful mood and crouch playfully to pounce on you with their tail wagging a hundred times. They will come to tease you, play-bite you or nibble at your hands in a friendly and fun way. They are really trying to pursue you to play with them. 

The Squishy Puppy Face: When they want something and plead you with innocence: 

This behavior is the sign where it says you have been played but in a totally cute and innocent kinda way. My dog does this for treatos all the times and I have to give in. We also secretly know we are waiting for this look so that we can boop their wet, cute nose and show them our love!

Attack & Tear: When they are aggressive towards a stimulus:

This is when their body is extremely tense and their ears towards the attacker. The hair on their back is raised and their teeth are bared. This means that are being defensive and will do anything to save themselves or the ones they love. 

Scared & Anxious: When he is petrified: 

This is when your dog is extremely nervous and scared and his tail is pushed between his legs. He keeps licking his lips and nose as this is a sign of anxiety. A lot of times, your dog may not be scared but will lick his lips or nose to show that he is uncomfortable. Engaging with such a dog is not a favourable thing. A lot of times, dogs do not like eye contact. They are comfortable with an eye contact only with their alpha males. So we shouldn’t purposely make them feel in a spot. 

Another tip is that the dog’s tail might not always be a good sign of friendliness. You need them to come to you and not invade their space. It also helps if you show them your hand from afar and let them come and smell you. Do not and I mean, do not ever touch a dog without its permission. This might lead to a misunderstanding on their part and they may attack you unnecessarily because they feel like you are out there to harm him/her.

Our Two Cents

It is extremely important to understand these behavioural patterns and accordingly reciprocate. Once you ace these, you will most likely understand even the minutest changes in your dog’s body language. It has been seven long years since my relationship with my dog started and now I understand him really well. There was a time when I couldn’t understand why he was barking. But now the type of bark and the way he approaches me helps me understand what he really wants. We hope that this blog will guide you well into understanding your dog’s body language well. 

If you have recently adopted a dog with PTSD and don’t know how to handle him well, we have just the blog post to help you out. 

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