Your Dog's Body Language

What is your dog trying to tell you?

Our dogs often communicate using body language… but do we listen? Have a look at the examples below to see how our furry friends communicate with their owners and other dogs:


When Happy or Relaxed:

Let’s start with the body language dogs display when all is well. Nothing makes us smile more than seeing our dogs happy and enjoying life and sure enough, you’ll be able to spot this from their body language. Each signal listed below means that a dog is content and relaxed:


Play Bow

We all know this signal. A dog is inviting you or other dogs to play.


Relaxed Facial Expression

You can tell this dog is relaxed!


Rocking Horse Motion

When playing, dogs move vertically, rocking back and forth like a rocking horse. Have you seen your dog do this?


Wagging Tail/Wiggling Bottom

A tail wagging side-to-side or in a helicopter motion indicates a happy dog. A wiggly bottom does, too.


Happy Facial Expression

Mouth ajar and tongue sticking out. The dog in this photo is completely at ease, happy and relaxed.


When Stressed or Nervous:

When stressed and nervous, different dogs’ behaviour can vary. The following signs show how dogs attempt to relieve stress or alleviate potential threats:


Yawning

Though dogs do yawn when tired, they’re far more likely to do so when nervous.


Lip Licking

Dogs lick their lips or flick out their tongues when feeling nervous or stressed.


Piloerection (Hackles)

This is where the hackles – on the back of a dog’s neck – stand on end.


Body Freeze

When threatened, dogs freeze their entire bodies. They do this either until a threat subsides, or very briefly whilst deciding to handle the situation via fight or flight.


Faffing

When feeling nervous, such as being approached in the park by another dog, a dog may pretend to sniff a particular area. This is called faffing: the dog’s way of avoiding an uncomfortable situation.


Whale Eye

This is when a dog turns away from a possible threat but watches it from an angle, revealing the whites of his/her eyes.


Shaking

Dogs might shake when nervous to defer the situation. This is caused by the release of adrenaline.


Tense Jaw

When this happens the dog is, in one way or another, preparing for action.


Turning Away

If your dog is in a fearful situation, they could turn away their head as a gesture of appeasement.


Lowered Tail

Another indication that a dog is worried or fearful.


Panting

Dogs pant when stressed. This is usually a dry sound as nervousness reduces saliva production.
 

Learning to understand your dog’s body language can take time. Hopefully this post will help you recognise the most important signs. If you’re worried about any behaviour issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further details.

Practice information

The Veterinary Clinic - Maypole Lane

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0121 430 7568
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48 Maypole Lane Birmingham B14 5JQ
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0121 430 7568

The Veterinary Clinic, Stone Cross

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261 Walsall Road Stone Cross West Bromwich B71 3HR
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The Veterinary Clinic, Dyas

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2 Dyas Road Kingstanding Birmingham B44 8SF
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The Veterinary Clinic, Erdington

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749 Chester Road Birmingham B24 0BY
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The Veterinary Clinic, Castle Bromwich

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128 Green Lane Birmingham B36 0BX
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The Veterinary Clinic, Kings Heath

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304 Vicarage Road Kings Heath Birmingham B14 7NH
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The Veterinary Clinic, Lazy Hill

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21 Anchor Road Aldridge West Midlands WS9 8PT
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The Veterinary Clinic, New Hall

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215A Walmley Road Sutton Coldfield West Midlands B76 2PP
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The Veterinary Clinic, Sutton Park

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343A Jockey Road Sutton Coldfield West Midlands B73 5XD
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The Veterinary Clinic, Valley

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11a Bowstoke Road Great Barr Birmingham B43 5EB
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The Veterinary Clinic, West Bromwich

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130 Lodge Road West Bromwich West Midlands B70 8PL
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The Veterinary Clinic, Great Barr - opening Oct 7th

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1236 Aldridge Road, Great Barr, Birmingham B44 8PE
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