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Decoding your Dog’s Body Language

As a pet owner, it is important to learn what your dog’s body language is trying to tell you. Let’s learn to understand their own ways of communicating with us!


Relaxed dogs are typically ready for their owners to greet and pet him.

  • Ears up (not forward)
  • Head high
  • Mouth open slightly
  • Tongue may be exposed
  • Loose stance, weight flat on feet
  • Tail down and relaxed

Remember, fearful dogs should not be approached, because they might attack if they feel the need to defend themself.

  • Ears back
  • Pupils dilated
  • Nose wrinkled
  • Body lowered
  • Tail tucked
  • Lips slightly curled
  • Hackles raised


Just like an inquisitive child, an alert dog could be curious or interested in what’s going on around him.

  • Ears forward
  • Eyes wide
  • Nose and forehead smooth
  • Mouth closed
  • Tail horizontal, may move from side to side
  • Leaning forward slightly, standing on toes

Sometimes dogs show submissive behavior to let us know they are not a threat. In another hand, submissive signs come from dogs who are abused, stressed, fearful or anxious.

  • Eyes partly closed
  • Nose and forehead smooth
  • Corner of mouth back
  • Head turns to avoid eyes contact
  • Ears flats and back
  • Lies on back, stomach, and throat exposed
  • Tail tucked
  • May sprinkled a few drops of urine


It’s playing time! Your furry friends are ready to chase you or catch the ball for you.

  • Ears up
  • Pupils dilated
  • Mouth open, tongue maybe exposed
  • Front end lowered on bent forepaws
  • Tail up and may broadly wave
  • May hold this position before breaking into a run


Be careful! When a dog shows dominant behavior, you are better to keep a safe distance enough. Don’t run away. Stand tall and still and look away.

  • Forehead may show vertical wrinkles
  • Nose wrinkled
  • Lips curled, mouth open, teeth and gums are visible
  • Stiff-legged stance
  • Hackled raised
  • Tall is stiff, maybe quivering