What is your dog telling you?

Apr 6, 2019

When I was 6, I thought I could communicate with animals. I would focus my mind intensely on a question and wait for a sign from the dog, cat or bird; a sign that would confirm they heard me and I was accepted into the animal kingdom! #dreamcometrue

While I wish I could call myself the animal whisperer, more often than not, I'm puzzled witnessing my dog's strangest behaviour. What exactly are our pets trying to tell us?

Pug lying on the floor looking up


Happy & Relaxed

Let’s start with an easy one shall we?

A soft gaze, relaxed mouth and body are all signs of a calm dog. If the tongue is lolling when they’re sleeping or they lean in for more contact when you pat them, it means your dog is pleased!

A playful dog will bow to invite you to have fun, but remember, tell wagging doesn’t necessarily mean that a dog is happy.

Scared and stressed

Ears that are held back and tight, whale eyes and tucked tail are signs that your dog is fearful.

If he/she is fearful and aggressive, the lips will also be pursed, and teeth can be showing.

When your dog is fearful but worried, eye contact will be brief, and he/she may lick excessively.

Yawning, avoiding eye contact and lip licking can all be signs of a dog with anxiety.


Does your dog bark for attention? Whining? Tail chasing, digging or engaging in destructive behaviour? You may have a bored dog on your hands! Same goes with a “I-have-given-up” attitude and limp dog. All they need is a little mental and physical stimulation.

Pug lying on top of a sofa

Learning to recognise warning signs

Knowing signs of aggression in a dog can certainly come in very handy.

The tail of a dog ready to attack will be raised and bristled, the hair on the back will be raise, body is stiff, and lips are curled.

In the case of a fearful but aggressive dog, the body will be lowered, and the tail tucked in while still displaying all the signs described above.

Now that you know all the signs, next time you find yourself at the dog park, have fun analysing some of the dogs body language!


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