A dog’s body language can tell us a lot. Our pets are more than willing to let us know when they are anxious, sick, or ready to play.

Our canine best friends are not able to verbalize their wants, needs, fears, or interests but that doesn’t mean they aren’t making a constant effort to communicate these things to us.

Instead of words, dogs use a complex body language that we can learn if only we are observant and patient.

I’m Anxious

When a dog is anxious or nervous they may begin to exhibit some of the same signs as humans. They will lick their lips, yawn, or even freeze in much the same way that humans will experience stage fright.

There is even a canine version of goosebumps! The hair on the back of a dog’s neck and along their spine will stand on end. Other signs of a dog’s body language that may be associated with higher than normal levels of stress may include excessive drooling, panting, shaking, and moving close to their owner to ensure physical contact.

Their physical stance will also change. A stressed dog will typically lower their body to the ground and their tail will be tucked between their legs. Their ears may be laid back against their head and their pupils will usually dilate. In extreme cases, you may even notice they are sweating through the pads of their feet.

I Don’t Feel Good

One of the most obvious ways our dog friends will tell us they aren’t feeling well is in their willingness to engage with their family members. A sick dog will often become more lethargic and prefer to lay down, even if they are normally interested in more active play. Depending on their level of discomfort they may even attempt to hide.

Dog skin conditions can often be identified before any physical signs are visible. There are many reasons why a dog’s skin may become bothersome but the way they will tell you remains fairly consistent. They will usually begin obsessively licking, scratching, or rubbing the area that is causing them to be uncomfortable. This is their way of telling you where the problem is and that they want it taken care of.

I Want to Play

A truly happy dog is the primary goal of most dog owners. The happy face with a tongue hanging out makes most people instantly smile. Their eyes and ears naturally relax when they are happy. However, a happy dog isn’t always one that wishes to play.

The physical stance of a playful dog is the one owners most readily recognize. Dogs will lower the front of the body by bending the forepaws and lift their tail up and wave it broadly. Ears will be up, mouth open, and pupils dilated. This pose may only be held for a few moments before the dog will jump and begin running in a seemingly random direction to engage his human in play.

Practically every observable behavior is a part of a dog’s body language and has a purpose, even if it is one we are unable to identify. The reason dogs eat grass has never been definitively answered but we do know that it has something to do with their digestive system. It’s a clue that we should be looking more closely at this area.

What other clues has your dog been giving?

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