How to Read Your Dog’s Body Language?

How to Read Your Dog’s Body Language?

Jul 26, 2023Admin Petterati

Do you ever wonder what your dog is trying to tell you?  

Are you eager to learn about the reason behind that puppy dog eyes your dog uses and sudden tail tuck when they see a random dog or people? 

Unlike humans, dogs don’t rely much on verbal communication. They use their body parts such as ears, eyes, tail, mouth, posture, and movement to express their intentions and emotions. By learning how to interpret these signals, you can better understand your dog and communicate with them effectively. Whether you are a new or experienced dog owner, or just curious about dogs, this blog post is for you! 

Why is it important to learn dog body language? 

Learning dog body language can have many benefits for you and your dog. Here are some of them: 

  • It can help you bond with your dog and build trust and respect. 
  • It can help you prevent or resolve behavior problems by identifying the root causes of your dog’s actions. 
  • It can help you train your dog more effectively by using positive reinforcement and avoiding punishment. 
  • It can help you protect your dog and yourself from dangerous situations by recognizing signs of fear, stress, aggression, or pain. 
  • It can help you have more fun and enjoyment with your dog by engaging in play and activities that they like. 

Also Read: How to train my dog to drop an object? 

What are the main components of dog body language? 

Dog body language involves a combination of different body parts and movements that convey different messages. Here are some of the main components that you should pay attention to: 


  • Ears that are perked up indicate alertness, curiosity, or excitement.  
  • Ears that are flattened back indicate fear, submission, or appeasement.  
  • Ears that are relaxed indicate confidence or happiness. 


  • Eye contact that is direct and prolonged indicates challenge, threat, or dominance. 
  • Eye contact that is brief and soft indicates friendliness or respect.  
  • Eye contact that is avoided indicates fear, submission, or discomfort. Dogs also use their eyes to show different emotions.  
  • Wide open eyes indicate arousal, excitement, or surprise.  
  • Narrowed or squinted eyes indicate pain, discomfort, or stress.  
  • Half-closed eyes indicate relaxation or contentment. 


  • Wagging tail indicate emotional arousal, which can be positive or negative depending on the context.  
  • Tails that are held high indicate confidence, assertiveness, or aggression.  
  • Tails that are held low indicate fear, stress, or submission.  
  • Tails that are tucked between the legs indicate extreme fear or pain. 

Also Read: How to give your dog a bath time they love? 


  • When their mouth is open and relaxed indicates friendliness or happiness.  
  • When the mouth is closed and tense indicates alertness or stress.  
  • Mouth that is curled back to show teeth indicates threat or aggression.  
  • Licking lips or yawning indicates nervousness or appeasement. 


  • Posture that is upright and forward indicates confidence, interest, or challenge. 
  • Posture that is crouched and backward indicates fear, submission, or avoidance. 
  • Posture that is balanced and neutral indicates relaxation or indifference. 


  • When they move fast and erratic indicates excitement, playfulness, or nervousness. 
  • Movement that is slow and deliberate indicates caution, curiosity, or stalking. 
  • Movement that is frozen or still indicates tension, threat, or fear. 

Also Read: What is Pet Safe Surface Disinfectant? 

How to read dog body language like a pro? 

Reading dog body language is not as simple as looking at one body part or movement in isolation. You need to consider the whole picture and the context of the situation. Here are some tips to help you read dog body language like a pro: 

  • Observe your dog’s natural behavior and personality when they are relaxed and comfortable. This will help you establish a baseline for their normal body language and recognize when they deviate from it. 
  • Pay attention to the subtle changes in your dog’s body language that may indicate their mood or intention. For example, a slight shift in weight, a twitch of the ear, or a flick of the tongue can mean a lot. 
  • Look at the combination of body parts and movements that your dog is displaying. For example, a wagging tail by itself does not necessarily mean happiness. You need to look at the position, speed, and direction of the wag, as well as the other body parts such as ears, eyes, mouth, and posture. 
  • Consider the context of the situation and the environment. For example, a dog that is barking and lunging at another dog may be showing aggression, fear, frustration, or excitement depending on the circumstances. You need to look at the distance, the barriers, the triggers, and the history of the interaction. 
  • Respect your dog’s body language and respond accordingly. For example, if your dog is showing signs of fear or stress, do not force them to face the situation or punish them for their reaction. Instead, try to calm them down and remove them from the source of stress. If your dog is showing signs of playfulness or happiness, do not ignore them or discourage them from expressing their emotions. Instead, join them in the fun and reward them for their behavior. 

Where can you learn more about dog body language? 

If you want to learn more about dog body language and how to read it like a pro, there are many resources available for you. Here are some of them: 

  • Books: There are many books that explain dog body language in detail and provide illustrations and examples. Some of the popular ones are The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell, On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas, and Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide by Brenda Aloff. 
  • Videos: There are many videos that show dog body language in action and provide commentary and analysis. Some of the popular ones are Dog Body Language 101 by Zak George and Dog Body Language Decoded by The Dodo. 
  • Courses: There are many courses that teach dog body language and how to read it like a pro. Some of the popular ones are Dog Emotion and Cognition by Duke University on Coursera and Dog Body Language: How To Read Your Dog’s Body Language by Udemy 


By learning how to interpret their signals and emotions, you can better understand your dog and communicate with them effectively. You can also prevent or resolve behavior problems, train your dog more effectively, protect your dog and yourself from dangerous situations, and have more fun and enjoyment with your dog. 

We encourage you to explore more resources on this topic and practice observing dogs in different situations. You will be amazed by how much you can learn from your dog’s body language! 

1) How To Read Dog Body Language - American Kennel Club. 
2) How to Read Your Dog's Body Language - The Spruce Pets. 
3) Body language of dogs - Wikipedia. 
4) Dog Body Language | Best Friends Animal Society. 

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