How I Met My Dog

Dog Speak: Your Dog's Body Language and What it Means

The gateway to comPETibility (or a great relationship with your dog) is communication. When learning about your newly adopted pup, it’s important to pay attention to his/her body language. Your dog is constantly trying to communicate with you and their body language can tell you a lot about what they are thinking and how they are feeling. Understanding your dog’s body language can save them (and you) from being stuck in uncomfortable situations and, more importantly, can save your dog from feeling the need to defend him/herself.

Here’s a few things to look for that will help you understand what your dog is trying to say:

Your dog may be feeling anxious or stressed when:

• Yawning
• Panting
• Avoiding eye contact
• Sweaty paws
• Drooling
• Shaking
• Tight jaw
• Frozen in place

Your dog may be feeling fearful when:

• Body lowered
• Slow, low tail wag
• Ears back
• Tail tucked
• Whale eye (exposing the whites of their eyes)

If your dog is displaying stressed or fearful body language, consider his or her surroundings. Is there a reason that your dog may be nervous? Are there unfamiliar people or animals around? Is your dog over stimulated by loud sounds or running children? If you think your dog is feeling stressed or afraid, remove them from the stressful environment. Remember, if a dog feels cornered, stress or fear might cause them to try to defend themselves.

Your dog may be seeking attention when:

• Jumping up and down
• Play bowing
• Whining
• Nuzzling
• Licking another dog’s ears or mouth

Is your dog driving you nuts with their attention seeking behavior? Instead of getting frustrated with your dog, consider that your dog may be trying to let you know that they need more exercise or stimulation. Try taking them for a long walk or purchasing a fun, interactive toy. For more info, check out our articles Top 10 Must-Have Dog Toys and Walk the Walk: Three Things to Know About Taking Your Dog for a Walk.

Your dog may be feeling playful when:

• Play bowing
• Wagging tail
• Ears up
• Head cocked
• Lolling tongue

A relaxed and playful pup is a happy pup! Its a great feeling to see your dog socializing with other dogs or spending some quality time bonding with you. Curious about dogs playing? Check out our article Play Pals: Understanding How and Why our Dogs Play.

There’s no greater feeling than knowing that your dog feels safe and happy around you. Understanding your dog’s body language is a great way to gain their trust and love.

Good Vibes Only

Our dog's feed off of our energy and can feel our anxiety or stress. Be sure to send out calming, positive vibes when encountering something or someone new with your pup. 

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