Dog Body Language

Dogs use a variety of unusual body language cues to express their feelings and intentions, making it very dissimilar from human communication. Because barks, whines, and growls make up a large portion of canine communication, it's critical to understand what these noises indicate. Dogs, however, mostly rely on nonverbal cues from their body language. That might cause a lot of dog-human miscommunications.

Dog body language can occasionally be confusing because people don't have tails. Sometimes, such as with yawning or turning away, it is in stark contrast to what that same signal signifies to a human. Learn some tricks for interpreting canine body language to improve communication with your canine friend.

Back To Blog

Raised Hackles

The hair on a dog's back will rise up when their hackles are aroused. The fur can fluff up across the shoulders or down the back and all the way to the tail. This is known as piloerection. This is unmistakably a sign that the dog is “excited”, though perhaps not in a bad way. Both excitement and strong interest are possible in addition to upset or tension in the dog. It frequently causes an uncontrollable reaction in people, like goosebumps.

raised hackles

wagging tail

Wagging Tail

A tail wag seems to be a clear indication of body language. A dog is said to be happy if its tail is wagging, right? Wrong, people frequently misinterpret this indication. A wagging tail simply indicates that the dog is feeling stimulated emotionally. Alternatively, it might be frustration or something even worse. Examine the dog's tail's position, pace, and direction to determine his or her feelings and goals. In general, the dog becomes more excited the faster the tail wags. Consider the leisurely, side-to-side tail sweeps your dog performs to greet you (the ones when the dog's entire body wags). A higher level of alertness, maybe in a negative way, is indicated by a faster wag.

Additionally, the wag's direction might contain hints. A new study on tail-wagging revealed that when dogs experience something positively, such as connecting with their owner, they prefer to wag their tails more to the right. When dogs confronted a challenge, their tails wagged more to the left. The dog's tail can also wag while rotating in a circle, known as the "helicopter tail wag." Without a doubt, that wag is happy. It frequently occurs when a dog welcomes a special person.

Dog Posture

The distribution of a dog's weight can reveal a lot about its attitude and goals. Think of a dog that is hunkered over and cowering, that is an example of stressed dog body language. The dog may be attempting to flee because of the way it is posed, which makes it look smaller. It basically means, "I mean no harm." Dogs who roll onto their backs and expose their tummy are the most severe example of this position. This could appear to be a dog asking for a belly rub, which is often the case with relaxed dogs. However, it might potentially be an indication of severe stress and worry. In an effort to please, the dog could even urinate a little.

A dog's weight being pushed forward is the opposite stance. This dog is advancing toward something. This might just be the dog showing curiosity, however when combined with other dog aggression body language indicators like a twitching tail held high, it may also suggest offensive intentions, with the dog attempting to look bigger in this instance. The play bow is a straightforward component of canine body language. Dogs do this when they lift their rump and place their chest on the ground. As the name suggests, it's used to start play between dogs and even between humans.

dog posture

dog eyes

A Dog’s Eyes

Dogs use eye contact as a key indication. Just as the hard stare might signal impending aggressiveness, looking away is intended to diffuse a circumstance. Dogs will purposefully glance aside and avoid eye contact when they're anxious. People frequently assume that their dog is being uncooperative or ignoring them when, in fact, the dog is just expressing discomfort.

Looking into your dog's eyes might reveal a lot about their internal state. The eyes of a dog can be either soft or hard. Soft eyes often appear to be squinting due to their loosened lids. They suggest that the dog is content or happy. Hard eyes, on the other hand, are when the eyes appear to become chilly. You'll recognise them when you see them since they signify a bad attitude. The dog may be acting aggressively or protecting a toy. A dog that gives something a hard stare, especially one that lasts a long time, typically indicates danger.

None of these canine nonverbal cues stand alone. They come together as a whole. So, when interpreting a dog's signals, pay attention to everything the dog does, from the height of its tail to the shape of its eyes. Your dog is always "speaking" to you. You will establish a closer link of trust and respect if you can understand what your dog is saying. Additionally, your improved comprehension of your dog's emotional state will aid in behaviour prediction and problem prevention.

dog body language