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The Basics of Dog Body Language

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Everyone Should Know!

Even though dogs talk, we are able to know how they are feeling by the body language they show. We will look at different emotions and how dogs portray that specific feeling through their body language. These are general rules of body language on dogs but the context and the specific dog matters.


When a dog is relaxed, we know this by

  • A soft gaze with no dilated pupils.

  • The mouth and lips are relaxed, or slightly open.

  • The tail held level or hanging down, softly waving in the air or gently thumping on the ground.

  • The ears are held back near the dog's head.

Anxious/ Fearful

When a dog is feeling fearful or stressed, we can tell by their

  • Eyes being hypervigilant, increased blinking, and furrowed brows.

  • Ears are tucked towards their head or neck.

  • The tail is wagging


When a dog is attentive, it is easy to tell by seeing if their

  • Weight is shifted forward

  • The tail is raised and stiffly wagging

  • Their eyes are wide and hard-staring

  • Their ears are erect and facing forward

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