Drop element here

Have you ever wondered what your dog tries to tell you when they wag their tail or tilt their head to the side? While we may not be able to speak the same language, we can try to interpret dog language to figure out what they are trying to say!

Today, we'll explore how dogs communicate, learn what some of their different signals might mean, and how to interpret other dogs' body behaviors.

How do dogs communicate?

Regarding the canine language, dogs primarily use their bodies to communicate. By just using our eyes, we can learn much about what our dogs share with us. For example, a dog's posture, body language, movements, facial expressions, tail movement, ear positions, and even fur can give us essential clues to their communication. In addition to body language, they also rely on vocalizations to communicate.

Positive body signals

When it comes to body language with dogs, there are plenty of signs to look for indicating that your pup is happy and feeling great. One of the tell-tale signs of a happy dog is a dog is wagging its tail! Additionally, a relaxed tail that is not held too high or too low indicates a happy, relaxed pup.

 A dog's ears are also a great indicator of canine body language. When a dog's ears are held in a neutral or slightly forward position, the dog is relaxed, happy, and content. Another indicator of a dog's happiness is, of course, in their eyes. Many dogs' eyes will appear soft and gentle, almost squinty or half-closed.

Other positive dog language signs include good posture and a loose, relaxed body. In addition to having a loose, relaxed body, dogs may also indicate their happiness or excitement by seemingly wiggling their body. It's almost like just wagging their tail isn't enough, so they must wiggle their whole body!

Another indicator of a happy, playful dog is when dogs position themselves into a “play bow” type of position. This is when the dog faces you or another dog they are playing with, bows their front end towards the ground, and puts their back end up in the air.

And, of course, we must remember vocalizations! Dogs like to bark, whine, growl, sigh, and howl. And depending on the situation, they can all mean different things. For example, a bark can mean a dog is excited and ready to play, or it can be their way of telling you to hurry up and get their breakfast ready!

Signals indicating stress, anxiety, or fear

Regarding communication, dog body language can also help dogs communicate feelings of stress, anxiety, or fear. For example, if a dog is scared or fearful, you might notice that they begin shaking or trembling. Similarly, a frightened dog might cower or hunch down low to the ground as a dog signs language for fear. Some dogs may even involuntarily urinate or defecate as a fear response.

Another thing that can indicate fear is body tension, where a dog's muscles appear tense or rigid. Similarly, dogs may press their ears flat against their head or pin them back as a dog language signs that they are stressed. Also, dogs often tuck their tail between their hind legs when fearful or stressed.

Another less obvious sign of stress or fear in dogs is excessive licking of the lips or excessive yawning. It can be a sign of anxiety or stress. We can also look at dogs' fur as a part of dog body language. For example, in some dogs, you can see raised hackles, or the fur on their back becomes raised when they feel threatened or scared. Additionally, some dogs will start shedding more when they are stressed!

You can tell a lot about how a dog feels by looking at their eyes. If a dog is scared, they might start exhibiting something commonly called "whale eye." This is when the whites of a dog's eye become more apparent and can indicate stress or discomfort.

Dogs also use their voices to express emotions like fear or warnings. For example, if a dog is scared of fireworks, it might cuddle up close to you and whimper. Or if a dog is protecting its property, it might bark as other people or dogs walk by as a warning.

Understanding context

While dogs have lots of signals they use to express their emotions, it is essential to keep the context in mind and remember that some signs can sometimes mean different things in different situations.

For example, when a dog rolls over onto its back, we often think they want a belly rub! But sometimes, it can be an indicator of a fearful dog who is showing its submission.

Similarly, we usually think of a dog showing its teeth as a sign of aggression. But sometimes, dogs bare their teeth for other reasons like fear, submission, stress, or discomfort. For example, some dogs might bare their teeth after being caught doing something naughty like taking dirty clothes out of the laundry basket!

Additionally, some people think that direct eye contact with a dog shows dominance. But dogs' eyes can offer many more emotions than just showing dominance!


In conclusion, dogs have their own language to talk to each other and communicate with us. Some signs, like a wagging tail and a wiggling body, indicate excitement and happiness. Some characters, like flattened ears or trembling, can show stress or fear. Like any language, it takes time and practice, but we can interpret and understand our dog's language with a little patience!

Want to Receive the Educational Free Newsletter from Voyager Harness?