Reading Your Dog’s Body Language

In our lives, we rely on body language so much to measure how social situations are going. Reading someone’s demeanour is a sure fire way of telling how they’re feeling and what they think of the situation, and a way of pre-empting their next move. We might not know we’re doing it, but we fixate on body language all of the time!

The same is true of our dogs. If you pay attention to their body language, you can learn so much about how they’re feeling at any one time.

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Here are some key signs to look out for that indicate your dog’s happiness:


It’s the one that we all know, and for good reason.

You can tell so much about your dog from their tail movements. A smooth, regular wagging motion is a sign that your dog’s contented, while a slow, stiff wag means they could be anxious or frightened.

You’ll soon get to know your dog’s wag, and what their happy tail looks like. So long as they’re responsive to you, and the tail gets going at the obvious things, then they’re happy.

So, in short – if it’s wagging, they’re good!

Mouth And Tongue

Your dog will probably spend most of the day smiling at you, and it’s one of the reasons that we love them.

Don’t let people tell you that it’s not a proper smile (blah blah blah), because it totally is! Happy dogs will want to spend all of their time with you, and will likely have a slightly open, relaxed mouth.

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If their mouth is firmly shut, or their lips are pulled back, it’s a sign that something is bothering them. So be on the look out!

Otherwise, if their tongue is hanging out and they look totally adorable/stupid, it means that they’re happy.


You can tell a lot from your dog’s eyes, if you know what to look for!

A happy dog will look at you with relaxed eyes, with not too much white showing. If their eyes are exaggerated, there’s likely something wrong. It’s simple, but it’s something to look out for.

Similarly, direct eye contact is a huge sign that your dog is happy in their environment. In the wild, eye contact can bring about contact with others, and in the home dogs will make eye contact when they want some attention.

So, when they give you those eyes, you know what they want!


Head Position

This one’s not as definite as the others, but still one to keep a look out for.

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If your dog is walking around with their head held high, it means that they’re comfortable in their environment and feel safe and secure. If their head is low and they look a little more introverted, it could mean that they’re feeling a little down.

Sometimes, our dogs can look a little ambiguous. When they tilt their head, for example, they can often look sad, but they’re really trying to understand us – no, really!

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce

The final, sure fire way of reading your dog is through their activity levels.

If your dog is bored, they’ll be lethargic and subdued. But, if they’re running around, following their human, and doing all their usual oddities, they’re good!

You know your dog best – if something changes, give them a bit of TLC and they’ll be sorted!

If your dog gets left alone a lot and you’re worried that they might be unhappy, perhaps Tailster can help? We have a large network of carers across the UK available to cater to your dog care needs – whether it’s an hour’s walk once a week, or regular dog sitting you’re after. For more information, click here.

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