Mabel the Rescue Dog

Encourage Dog Lovers to Adopt 💕

3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

It’s sad that dogs can’t talk to humans. It would be so much easier to let them know what we’re thinking. However, there are some ways that we can communicate using body language. So, what does different dog body language mean?


When a dog is relaxed, they will not show any unusual signs. They will have a normal stance, and their tail should be down in a calm position. If they are paying attention to you or something else, their ears will likely be up and their eyes will be focused.

If they become alert or aware of something interesting, their stance will no longer be relaxed, but it will appear more stiff. Their tail will usually be up if they are in an alert position. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong, it just means that they’ve gone from being relaxed to being particularly interested in something.


Most dog parents are fairly familiar with their dog’s playfulness. Dogs will usually bend their front legs and stick their butt in the air to signify that they want to play. Their tail will be up and it will likely wag back and forth. Oftentimes, their ears will be up and their mouth will be open with their tongue hanging out.

It is likely that your dog will run around and grab a toy soon if they are in that position. This is also a position that dogs use to let each other know that they are feeling playful.


Some dogs get scared more easily than others, but either way, it is important to know if something is worrying your dog. Their body will usually be lower and their tail will fall in between their legs if they are uneasy or fearful. Their ears will usually go back and they may avoid eye contact in this situation. Similar body language will be present if they are stressed as well.

If your dog becomes extremely scared, especially around another dog, they might roll onto their back, exposing their belly and throat. This is a sign of surrendering. Their tail will still be in between their legs and their ears likely flattened. It is likely that they might even pee a little if extremely scared.


Even though signs of aggression are often easy to spot, many humans don’t pay attention to these signs. People, especially young children, love to show their dogs love, but sometimes, dogs just need some space. So, signs of aggression will typically be directed toward people or other dogs that aren’t respecting their space.

Dogs will often growl or snarl to alert others that they are unhappy or to let them know to back off. Their tail will either be raised high or between their legs depending on if they feel dominant or scared. Their fur might stand on end.

Depending on the situation, the dog may lower their body with their ears back or stand in a forward, stiff posture. If you notice a dog reacting in any of these ways, it is likely a sign of aggression.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your dog is trying to be mean, but it is just their way or warning you. As much as dogs love people, they need their space and they need a way to tell humans when they don’t like something.

Every dog is slightly different, so they may react to situations in different ways. Therefore, it is important to learn your dog’s specific behaviors to make sure you keep them happy and safe at all times.

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10 thoughts on “Common Dog Body Language

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