A dog’s body language and behaviour can cue you into how it’s feeling – happy and relaxed, or nervous and fearful. Learn to read the signs and you’ll know whether your pet is happy to proceed.
Happy and relaxed
- “Smiling”, open mouth, or a “big, cheesy grin” Tongue relaxed, may be lolling out.
- Eyes and ears are relaxed and soft, or eyes are squinty
- Body movements are loose and wiggly
- Tail is low and waggly
- Head high, curious manner
Nervous or fearful
- Cowering or pacing
- Tenseness – ears back, hard eyes, mouth closed, stiff body
- Pulling or leaning back from perceived threat
- Licking lips, panting, yawning when not hungry or tired
- “Whale eyes” – the whites of the dog’s eyes show because it has turned its head away from what it is looking at
- Aggressive responses like lunging, barking