Dogs express emotions with their bodies. Learning to read these signals strengthens your relationship with them and helps avoid misunderstandings.
A relaxed dog is engaged, loose, and waggy. They show soft eyes, a neutral forehead, and a wide, sweeping tail wag.
An alert dog is assessing surroundings. Ears perked up, eyes wide open, and tail extended from the body, they're ready for their next steps.
Stressed dogs perform "calming signals" like looking away, yawning, and slow movements. They often avoid eye contact and may yawn or sneeze frequently.
Fearful dogs have a stiff posture, tucked tail, and may show "whale eyes". They may keep their mouth tightly closed or start panting without a temperature change.
Appeasement gestures make the dog appear small. They might lower their body, avoid eye contact, and show an "appeasement grin", which looks like a smile.
Aggressive dogs are ready to react. They have a fixed gaze, tension around the mouth, and a rigid body posture. Their fur might be raised straight up.