Decoding Your Dog’s Body Language

Decoding your dog's body language

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

It’s true, decoding your dog’s body language will deepen the bond you have with your four-legged buddy. Actions do speak louder than words when it comes to your dog, so understanding its body language will help you both toward a happier and more harmonious relationship.

While dogs have a sixth sense humans don’t, they still can’t communicate to us what’s going on with them so it’s very helpful for us to understand their body language and decipher it.


A happy dog has relaxed eyes, eyelids, ears, and body. You will also see it wagging its tail. Not only that, but your dog will also look as if it’s smiling, with a slightly open mouth, a few visible teeth, and a lolling tongue.


Dogs exhibit various signs of sadness. A sad dog may sleep a lot (cats as well), feel withdrawn, and lose interest in doing their usual activities. Your dog may also have a low or tucked tail and may shrink away, avoid eye contact, and hold it’s head low.

Decoding your dog's body language

Shyness and Nervousness

If your dog’s ears are flat against its head and are tilted backward, your dog is most likely shy or nervous. They may even be stressed. Your dog may also shrink back to the ground in an effort to make itself small.


As a pet parent, you need to be alert in determining signs of aggression. There are a few things that your dog may do when it becomes aggressive. These may include a stiff tail and body. Additionally, its head points toward the object of aggression, and its teeth are bared. Its bodyweight is also shifted to the back, ready to spring forward for an attack.

Decoding your dog's body language

Toilet Break

There’s nothing more unpleasant than to clean up after your dog had an accident. That’s why it is important to know the signs that your dog needs to go. If your dog wants to poop, it might be standing in front of the door, scratching the door, or barking at the door. If your dog is walking in circles and sniffing the ground, it is more likely that it is about to defecate.


You probably have seen videos of cute dogs trying to say sorry to their owner. Well, you might have also seen this in your dog after he chewed on your favorite shoes or made a mess in the kitchen. Dogs who feel guilty would try to look at you but would look away immediately. They would also shrink back, hold their heads low, or bow down and kiss your feet.

Guilty dog destroyed teddy bear


Your dog is excited when it tries to jump up and down. They also try to lick you and would even try to bring you to the door for a walk. Your dog can also become excited when it comes to playtime. They are seen to do the “play bow,” wiggle their tail, and become more relaxed.

Final Thoughts

Decoding your dog’s body language is a good step to keeping your dog happy and healthy. It’s also a good way to identify behavioral problems and prevent them from getting worse.

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