Reading Dog Body Language


Happy Dog

  • Panting, relaxed and happy expression
  • Body relaxed
  • Enthusiastic tail wag

Angry Dog

  • Ears forward or back and close to head
  • Eyes Narrow or staring
  • Mouth and lips open exposing teeth bared
  • Body tense
  • Hackles Up along back
  • Tail stiff and out from body
  • Growling and barking

Scared Dog

  • Ears laid back and low on head
  • Eyes narrowed
  • Eyes showing whites
  • Mouth and lips drawn back showing teeth
  • Shivering or tembling
  • Tail between legs
  • May give worried yelp, whine or growl

Playful Dog

  • Ears up and forward or relaxed
  • Eyes wide open & happy looking
  • Excited panting
  • Body relaxed, front end lowered & rear end up in the air (play bow)
  • Excited bouncing & jumping
  • Circling and running back in an invitation to play
  • Tail wagging vigorously
  • Excited barking or soft play growling

Submissive Dog

  • Ears Down & flattened against head
  • Eyes narrowed & whites of eyes showing
  • Mouth & Teeth pulled way back from teeth in a ‘grin’
  • Nuzzling or licking other animal or person on face
  • Body lowered to ground, front paw raised
  • Lying on back, belly up
  • Tail down & can be between legs

Dominant Dog

  • Ears up or forward
  • Eyes wide open and staring
  • Mouth closed or slightly open
  • Body very tall position
  • Hackles may be up
  • Tail stiff and fluffed – up or straight out from body
  • May give an assertive growl or grunt