What Your Dog’s Body Language Means – Dog Insurance Blog

What Is Your Dog Trying To Tell You?

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As much as we like to talk to our dogs, we know they can’t speak English. Dogs communicate with us by reading our body language and tone of voice. When we say “Sit”, they don’t hear that as the English word for sit down. they hear the noise that means they must plant themselves on the ground.

Similarly to that. dog’s try to communicate to us in the same way.Through body language and the tone of their barking. Here’s some pointers on how to recognize what your dog is trying to tell you.

1. Relaxed

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Friendly and approachable. This body language is telling you that he’s completely comfortable in your presence. Training when the dog is displaying this body language is recommended as he isn’t showing signs of distraction. Key things to look out for in a relaxed dog are:

  • Relaxed stance (weight on feet)
  • Ears perky but not forward in certain breeds
  • Open mouth
  • Tail down and relaxed

2. Alert

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Attentive and paying attention. Something has peaked the dog’s curiosity. It could be as harmless as he heard his favorite squeak toy or if hes assessing a potential threat. Look out for:

  • Horizontal tail
  • Ears forward
  • Ears twitching to catch sounds
  • Leaning forward
  • Mouth closed

3. Afraid

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If you have ever scolded your dog and he has taken this stance, he see’s you as the dominant one. This is a pacifying stance intended to let the “pack leader” or you know that he is trying to avoid confrontation. Key signals are:

  • Body lowered
  • Ears back
  • Dilated Eyes
  • Tail between legs
  • Curled lips

4. Happy/Playful

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This playful stance never lasts long, as it is usually followed by a sprint into play. this language communicates “play with me”. Key features of a dog wanting to play are:

  • Frontal body lowered
  • Ears up
  • Mouth open
  • Tail Wagging

5. Aggressive

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A dog will take this stance if he feels threatened or if guarding something from a threat. The dog isn’t angry however. this is an aggressive defensive response to fear. The dog is giving off very distressed signals and will snap if it continues. Look out for:

  • ¬†Lips curled and teeth visible
  • Body lowered
  • Stiff tail and legs
  • Mouth slightly open


6. Submissive

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This is how a dog communicates that “you are the boss”. Sometimes they will submit as an invite to play. However it most commonly means the dog is fearful and completely giving up control of the situation. He accepts his lower rank in the pack and is conveying this in order to avoid confrontation.

  • ¬†Belly exposed
  • Averting eye contact
  • Tucked in tail
  • Ears back

Every dog is different and some may have slightly different ways of telling you what they want to say/ Use this guide and you’ll soon sync with your own pooch. You will both understand each other in no time!

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