How to Read Dog Body Language

Just like you can tell the emotions of a close friend or family member by their body language, your dog can show how they’re feeling with different characteristics. Learning how to read dog body language doesn’t take a lot of effort, with many of their behaviors obvious and easy to see. Find out how you can recognize your dog’s emotions from the experts at the top dog training center in NJ.

Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language

From appeasement behavior intended to placate more dominant creatures to telling the difference between aggression and play, learning your dog’s body language can help you determine their emotions.

Eye Expressions

You can tell a lot about your dog from their eyes. For example, when a dog relaxes and feels comfortable, they’ll have softer eyes with relaxed eyelids that may look like squinting. However, hard eyes indicate fear, stress, or anger and look more alert, usually accompanied by a cold stare.

Dogs also use eye contact to communicate threat levels and calming behaviors. If your dog won’t look you in the eye, they may feel discomfort due to fear or stress. Short looks into your eyes with a softer expression indicates trust, but a dog who stares at you hard and long sees you as a threat.

Tail Position

From tail movement to the tail position, this particular body part provides you with ample opportunity to learn how to read dog body language. A wagging tail indicates an excited emotion, which can range from happiness to anger, depending on the speed. Short, twitching tail movements might indicate signs of fear or stress, while long and slow wagging often means the dog is relaxed and happy.

You can also tell how your dog feels about their position in relation to you, other people, and other animals by the height of their tail. A happy dog often has their tail held at a comfortable level, while scared ones tuck their tails. A tail that sticks straight up may indicate an alert dog, such as a guard dog that has heard a sound it doesn’t recognize.

Body Posture

Different body postures indicate various behaviors and emotions. Some of the most common types include:

Raised Paws: Indicates confusion or uncertainty, though some breeds use this motion to indicate prey.

Belly in the Air: This reveals the dog’s comfort levels, usually on the extremes of complete relaxation or showing weakness to animals higher in the pecking order.

Play Bow: The dog sticks its rump in the air and leans down on its front legs, telling other dogs or people it’s time to play.

Cowering: Indicates fear or trying to appear less significant, taking up less space.

Learn More About Dog Body Language with the Dan Gentile Training Center in NJ

While it’s essential to learn how to read dog body language, properly training your dog can help you relax them during stressful times. Learn about the benefits of everything from crate training to using dog treats for positive reinforcement by calling the Dan Gentile Dog Training Center in NJ at (732) 938-5040.