10 Unique Body Languages of Dogs

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Tail Wagging

Tail wagging can indicate excitement, happiness, or anxiety. Pay attention to the speed and position of the wag. A loose, wide wag usually signals friendliness, while a stiff, high wag can indicate tension.

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Ears

Ear position conveys your dog's mood. Forward ears indicate interest or alertness, while flattened ears signal fear or submission. Relaxed, neutral ears show that your dog is calm.

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Eyes

Your dog's eyes reveal a lot about their feelings. Wide eyes with dilated pupils can indicate fear or excitement. Soft, relaxed eyes show contentment, while direct staring might be a sign of aggression.

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Mouth and Teeth

A relaxed, open mouth often signifies a happy dog. Bared teeth and growling indicate aggression or fear. Yawning can be a sign of stress or a way to calm themselves.

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Body Posture

Observe your dog's overall body posture. A relaxed, loose body indicates comfort, while a stiff, tense body can signal anxiety or aggression. Cowering or shrinking shows fear or submission.

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Play Bow

A play bow, where the front legs are lowered and the rear is raised, is an invitation to play. It's a friendly gesture indicating that your dog is in a playful and non-threatening mood.

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Hackles

Raised hackles (the fur along the back) indicate heightened emotions, such as fear, excitement, or aggression. It's a sign that your dog is on high alert.

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Paw Lifting

A lifted paw can indicate uncertainty or anticipation. Dogs may lift their paw when they're unsure of a situation or when they're waiting for a command or treat.

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Licking Lips

Licking lips or excessive drooling can be a sign of stress or anxiety. It's a calming signal dogs use to soothe themselves in uncomfortable situations.

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Panting

Panting is normal after exercise but can also indicate stress, pain, or overheating. If your dog is panting excessively without obvious cause, it might be a sign of discomfort or illness.

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Submissive Behavior

Submissive behavior, such as exposing the belly or avoiding eye contact, indicates that your dog feels vulnerable or is trying to appease a perceived threat.