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Dog Parenting 101: How to Read Your Pet’s Body Language

Dog Parenting 101: How to Read Your Pet’s Body Language

A little-known fact is that canine companions express a range of emotions on a daily basis. They do these by communicating with their bodies. While you cannot simply sit down and chat with your pet, you can learn to understand what they’re saying by interpreting their body language.

Here are some head to tail body language your dog might be communicating with you:

  • A Dog’s Ear Language

  • Calm, contented dogs tend to relax their ears naturally but will perk them up tensely if they feel alert, aggressive, or dominant. Often, they also point their ears in the direction of their interest. Meanwhile, if their ears are pulled flat against their head, they’re feeling worried, fearful, or submissive. 

  • A Dog’s Tail Language

  • Dog emotions are best conveyed with their tail movement and position. When excited, dogs hold their tails high, wagging them eagerly from side to side. When nervous or cautious, dogs also tend to wag their tail. But instead of being playful, their tails are noticeably straight and firm and wagged more slowly and steadily. 

    A dog will also hold its tail erect when alert, while a fearful dog will tuck its tail between the legs. When content, a dog will keep their tail in a relaxed position that is natural to them. 

  • A Dog’s Eye Language

  • A dog’s eyes convey a lot about how they’re feeling. When content, a dog will show a relaxed expression of soft eyes. A dog who’s threatened or wants to assert dominance will stare directly, while a dog showing submission or worried about interacting with you will avert their stare. 

    When your dog looks at you from the corner of its eyes or directly but with large and dilated pupils, it’s usually a prelude to aggressive or fearful behaviour. 

  • A Dog’s Mouth Language

  • A dog’s mouth mimics the same emotions human mouths exhibit. When relaxed, they have a soft and relaxed mouth, which can sometimes look like a grin. When their mouth is tight or their lips tensed up, they’re showing signs of tension.

    Curled lips and exposed teeth usually show signs of aggression, except for some breeds, like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, that do these when they smile. When a dog is flicking or licking its tongue, it shows uneasiness or uncertainty. Meanwhile, yawning helps calm them down and lower their blood pressure. 

  • A Dog’s Body and Fur Language

  • When learning how your dog communicates with its body, understanding muscle tension is key. If a dog shows tight muscles around the head and shoulders, they are either scared or aggressive. 

    In addition, a calm dog will show a smooth fur coat on their back when they’re calm. But when scared or challenged, a dog will raise its hairs along its neck and back to look larger.


    The guidelines above are only a general overview of the body language of a dog. With that said, it’s important to know that signals and meanings vary between breeds. When in doubt, assume that they are showing fearful or aggressive behavior. 

    The key is understanding your dog’s behavior overall by understanding the context of the situation they’re in. With time and dedication, you’ll soon understand your canine companion completely.

    Understanding your dog’s behavior is also helpful in training them. If you want help on how to train your dog, Pickles DXB offers a range of dog products, like our own Watermelon Sugar Walkie Set, that you can use when walking your dog to the park and training them. This cute dog accessory also comes in Tropical Nights, Uptown Funk, and Forever Grapefull. Get this dog accessory for your loving canine companion today!