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How To Tell a Dog's Emotions

When your dog is feeling happy he will have a relaxed posture. His eyes will be open and bright, and his mouth may be slightly open (with his teeth covered). His ears will be in a relaxed position, and his tail will be gently wagging in a circular motion.

A happy and content Anatolian Shepherd Dog
The body language of this Anatolian Shepherd Dog shows he's happy and content

How To Tell When A Dog Is Excited / Playful

When your dog is feeling excited and playful he may have his front end lowered with his rear end up in the air, tail wagging. His ears will be perked up and the eyes will be wide and alert. Excited dogs will often hold their mouths open and sometimes bark.

A happy and playful posture of a dog
This posture mean's the dog is happy and eager to play

How To Tell When A Dog Is Being Aggressive

When your dog is being aggressive he will be bolt upright and tense. His ears will be flattened onto his head and his muzzle will be wrinkled. His lips will be pulled back over his teeth in a snarl. The tail will be extended and fluffed up, and your dog will be growling.

Breeds aggressive Rottweiler
This Rottweiler is issuing a clear warning

How To Tell When A Dog Is Trying To Be Dominant

If your dog is feeling dominant he will stand up tall with his tail extended. The ears will be pricked up and forward. The hair may be standing up on along his back to make himself look bigger. The mouth may be closed or slightly open and he may be growling whilst making direct eye contact.

How To Tell When A Dog Is Feeling Submissive

Sometimes submissiveness can be mistaken for aggression as there are some similarities in body language. Your dog will lie down on the ground either on his belly or rolled over onto his back. Some dogs, particularly puppies, may urinate. His ears will be flat on his head and his eyes will be either partly closed or wide open. If the submission is tinged with fear, his lips will be pulled back over the teeth showing a grin, and the tail will be between his legs.

How To Tell When A Dog Is Anxious Or Afraid

Your dog will be tense and low down to the ground, and may be shaking. He will have a lowered head, and look quite pathetic and “cringing”. His ears will flat to his head and his tail will between his legs. You dog may or may not look at what is making him scared. A lot of the time he will have his weight over his hind legs or to one side so he can make a hasty retreat. You may also notice him licking his lips or yawning exaggeratedly to release tension. He may head for a safe spot or bolt hole.

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