Understanding a dog’s body language is essential for building a strong and trustworthy relationship with your four-legged friend.
Smalljoys introduces 16 illustrations that will help you to understand what your pet — or any other dog — wants to tell you. Enjoy reading this, and make friends with dogs because they are a source of limitless positivity!
The dog wags his lowered tail.
If the dog wags his tail slowly, he doesn’t understand what’s going on and is asking you what you want him to do. When the dog’s tail is wagging rapidly, this means he admits that you are in charge.
The tail is raised and tremors slightly.
The dog is issuing a challenge to your authority because he considers himself to be in charge of the situation.
The tail is tucked between the legs.
It’s a sign that the dog is scared, afraid of pain, or feels uncomfortable. If there are no obvious reasons for concern and your pet tucks his tail quite often, you should take him to a vet.
The eyes are wide open and alert.
This is how your pet tries to get your attention. He’s challenging you and expects you to respond firmly.
The dog squints and blinks.
This means he’s ready to play. But if your dog squints a lot his eyes might be painful, and you should take your pet to a vet.
The ears are standing straight up or inclined forward.
The dog is showing you that he’s curious and reacting to any new event in his environment.
The ears are flattened against the head.
It’s a sign that the dog is scared. Sometimes your pet may have only one ear down, and most of the time it’s the left one. This is how dogs react to unfamiliar people or people they are afraid of.
The dog yawns.
This action means the dog is grumpy and nervous. Puppies do this quite often when they’re surrounded by big unfamiliar dogs. But if your pet yawns after you did, this means he’s very attached to you.
The dog licks his face.
The dog does this when he’s stressed or feeling pressure or danger.
The dog exposes his teeth, but there is no snarling.
This means the dog is protecting his territory. Pets often do this while eating.
The dog rolls over and exposes his belly.
The dog is showing that he trusts you and wants to please you. If you rub your dog’s belly after he rolls over, you’ll show you’re pleased with your pet’s behavior.
The dog puts his head on his owner’s knee.
This means the dog wants to get attention and show that he needs you. If a pet touches the owner’s hands with his nose, he wants you to pet him.
The dog puts his paw on a human’s knee.
If the dog does this with a very smug look, he is trying to dominate. In this situation, trainers suggest looking into the dog’s eyes and removing the paw.
The dog has one front paw raised.
This stance means your pet wants to ask you something. Maybe he’s hungry or wants to play. Sometimes dogs do this (especially hunting dog breeds) when they notice something interesting.
The dog turns his back.
This action means that your four-legged friend trusts you.
The dog shakes.
Dogs may shake (like they shake off water after a bath) as a way of relieving tension.