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Dogs don’t communicate through speech like humans do. Instead, they have an advanced set of nonverbal cues that they use to communicate with each other and with us. To do this, they use their whole body: eyes, ears, mouth, tail, general body movement, etc. While dogs use their voices for noises such as whining, yawning, or barking, their body movements are essential for their communication. By looking at the following signs, you can better understand how your dog communicates with his body language.

Tail wag

Many people believe that wagging their tail just means that a dog is excited and happy. However, this is not entirely true. To understand what your dog is trying to communicate, be sure to look for things like:

  • How fast their tail wags
  • If its tail wags sideways or perpendicular
  • If their tail makes twitching movements??

If their tail is moving faster, it means they are more excited. Tail wagging to the left is usually a symptom of negative arousal. The wag of the tail that wags the dog’s entire body is usually a happy wag for loved ones.??

Another essential key to understanding his mood is where the dog places its tail relative to the ground. If your dog’s tail is lower to the ground, between his hind legs, or lowered, he may be feeling submissive or fearful. Conversely, if your dog is holding his tail up in the air, he may feel aggressive, confident, or happy.??

Some dog breeds naturally have lowered or raised tails. Get to know your dog’s tail movements and how they relate to the situation you find yourself in at the time.

Raised hackles

When your dog lifts his camails, the fur on his back may move up to his shoulders and down his back to the tail.

It means your dog is excited, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Your dog may be upset, but it can also signal extreme excitement or interest. People think of this reaction as goosebumps.



Understanding how a dog’s weight is distributed is essential for reading their body language. For example, a hunched or curled up dog may be a dog that experiences fear and stress. This pose is meant to help the dog appear smaller and more submissive in the face of something he is afraid of.

The extreme version of this position is when the dog rolls onto its back and shows its belly. While this could be a sign that a dog is expecting tummy rubbing, it can also be a sign of deep stress and anxiety.

If your dog is standing or sitting and his body weight is moving, he may be interested in something or maybe offended and negatively stimulated by something.

When your dog lifts his paw, it could mean that your dog is waving towards prey or that he is unsure or unsure of something.

Facial expressions

Although dogs have facial expressions similar to humans, they don’t always mean the same things. For example, people yawn when they are tired, but dogs yawn when they are stressed. In stressful situations, they yawn to relax or to relax others. During times of stress for your dog, you can try yawning to help him relax.??

Your dog can lick his lips in stressful situations. Don’t confuse it with their urge to eat; it is usually to diffuse the tension of uncomfortable situations. ??

Often the hardest facial expression to read is a dog’s smile. Sometimes it can mean the complete opposite of what it means for humans. For example, your smiling dog might show his teeth in a threatening manner. If combined with relaxed posture and demeanor, smiling can be a gesture of submission and gentleness.


Looking at your dog’s eyes is a very important piece of the puzzle. Are your dog’s eyes hard or soft? Are they squinting or looking at something repeatedly? When dogs feel aggressive, their eyes turn cold and they stare at their abuser or the object of their anger.

Dogs will avoid eye contact when stressed. If they ignore you outright, it usually means your dog is uncomfortable. Likewise, if the whites of your dog’s eyes are visible, it can be another sign of anxiety and stress.


It’s all about the big picture

None of these bodily behaviors and signals exist in a vacuum. To understand how your dog feels when looking at his body language, you need to see the sum of all the parts of his body. Your dog talks to you all the time and his body is remarkably expressive. Over time, you will become familiar with their signals and find it easier to understand them.



American Kennel Club: “How to Read Dog’s Body Language.”

ASPCApro: “7 tips on the canine body. “

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