Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Doggy Language

dog body language hartz

Some people definitely wish that they could talk to their dogs and have the pets talk back. Others don’t – they prefer that their dogs stay silent and companionable. After all, part of the pleasure that dogs bring with their friendship is partly the fact that they can’t offer advice or ask questions like our human pals do.

But regardless of how much you do or don’t want a magical dog translator, who wouldn’t like to be able to understand their pet a little bit better via basic body language? Many folks who don’t own dogs themselves think that reading a dog’s body language is a lot easier than it actually is. They assume that when a tail is wagging, a dog is happy and friendly. On the other hand, when teeth are bared, it’s best to back off and leave the animal alone. However, a dog’s moods are far more nuanced than this. Consider some of these signifiers.

How to tell when your dog is scared: You’ve probably seen forms of this from your dog when he or she is acting “guilty.” But in its more intense forms, signs of anxiety or fear require you to calm and soothe your pet. Look for indicators like a lowered tail, which may still be wagging swiftly. A lowered head and hesitancy to make eye contact are also signs.


How to tell when your dog is aggressive or protective: When your dog is asserting dominance over another animal or possibly a person, you’ll want to be on the lookout for signs of biting, aggression or protective behavior. Dogs in this mood will be standing straight and not breaking eye contact, with ears laid back against the head. There’s the possibility your dog may growl as well, and when threatened, you’ll see the hair on your dog’s back rise slightly.

aggressive dog

How to tell when your dog is happy and playful: You’ll probably have the least trouble reading this emotion in your pet. When dogs are in a good mood and want to play, they’ll let you know. A tail wagging broadly or a dog who lowers his or her front end in an enthusiastic crouch are both signs of a good mood – so grab the tennis ball and dog toys, already!

happy dog

Check out our additional blog posts for more information on your pets behaviors including cat body language. This content post is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.