Dog Body Language and how to understand it

Written by: Anastasia Spevakina
Dog Body Language: Eyes, Ears, Tails

Eyes – Dog Body Language

Like humans, dogs can express their emotions through eyes, changing their shape, size, direction and intensity of the gaze.When dogs are calm, their eyes are in a normal state. If a dog has eyes, which seem somewhat bigger than in a normal state,  it usually indicates that a dog feels threatened. He can be either excited or scared.

If you see that dog’s eyes appear smaller than usual, it means fear or stress. Having pain or feeling bad, dogs look askance. But this look can also mean a submissive position, which the dog is trying to show.

Dogs rarely look into each other’s eyes, as it is considered to be threatening behavior.But if a dog looks at you with a calm expression of a muzzle, he is friendly towards you and hopes that you will notice it.

If a dog looks at you with intense, “frozen” expression,  it doesn’t mean anything good. In such case don’t look at the dog, so he will understand that you don’t need any conflicts.

If a dog doesn’t look directly into your eyes, but follows you, it can mean that he is aggressive towards you.

When a dog hides eyes from strangers, it means that he probably had a bad experience in the past.

Ears – Dog Body Language

When dogs feel  relaxed and comfortable, their ears are in a normal state. Feeling a surge of aggression, dogs raise their ears up and slightly forward.

If a dog moves his ears slightly back, it indicates his friendly intentions. If ears are completely pressed to the head, the animal demonstrates his submission.

General position of the body

To say about intentions, dogs use their bodies, trying to appear larger or smaller.

If the dog feels good, his body will look normal – relaxed muscles and weight on all 4 paws.

Being in a playful mood, the dog’s body will look normal, as always. He will play with you, jump and move all the time.

When the dog is afraid, he will try to do everything to look smaller. He can bend legs or even lie down on the ground, trying to stay away.

Obedient dog is very similar to a scared dog, because he also tries to look smaller not to show threat.

Feeling superiority (dominant behavior), dogs are trying to look bigger. Tense muscles, erect standing on all 4 paws. This position shows that the dog is self-confident and tries to frighten.

Tail – Dog Body Language

If a dog is relaxed, his tail will be in its natural position. Feeling joy, dogs  gently wag a tail from one side to another.  When dogs are especially happy, they move tails in the same way, but faster.

If your dog is nervous, he will keep his tail lowered or even tuck it between hind legs. If the dog is scared, he will press his tail closer to the stomach. And if the dog shows aggression or tries to frighten anybody, he will move a tip of his tail only.

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