Interpreting Your Dog’s Body Language

What Your Dog’s Body Language Says About His Mood

It’s easy to interpret a dog’s behaviour the same way you might interpret a friend’s. But it’s important to remember that dogs and humans aren’t the same, and it’s worth getting to know the way dogs communicate.

FRIENDLY

You can tell a dog is in a friendly mood when his ears are relaxed, his tail is flat, with plenty of wagging, and he makes gentle eye contact.

FEARFUL

A fearful dog is usually crouching with his tail between his legs. He will also avoid looking you in the eye. He may roll over on his back or urinate while lying down. Be careful around a fearful dog, as he may bite if he feels threatened.

ASSERTIVE

If a dog’s ears and tail are standing up and he is staring intently, he is showing assertion. He may put his paws on another dog’s back or be pushy with the dog or with the owner.

AGGRESSIVE

If he stares and holds his tail motionless, growls, and holds his ears forward, he may be a threat. Watch out for this behaviour in a dog.

PLAYFUL

When a dog pushes his chest to the ground and holds his rear and tail in the air, he is trying to initiate play.