Do You Speak “Dog”?

What do you see in the eyes, ears and mouth? This pup has “whale eye”, ears pinned and mouth open. It’s only one shot in time, but he looks startled and concerned.Picture by RitaE from Pixabay
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CHARLOTTE – For the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about how to speak dog through their language: body language. Think you understand your dog? Try to see through new eyes and truly “hear” your dog, with your eyes.

Top 5 Body Parts To Watch:

  1. Eyes:
      • Soft, almond-shaped eyes = happy, relaxed
      • Hard eyes, a very focused, prolonged stare = indicates tension building, aggression
      • Wide, dilated pupils = stress, fear, anxiety
      • “Whale eye”, crescent-shaped = stressed, fear
  1. Ears
      • Soft, floppy = relaxed
      • Up, turned forward = alert, listening, seeking information
      • Pinned against the head = fear, anxiety, worry
  1. Mouth
      • Open, soft edges = relaxed, happy
      • Closed = alert, thinking, assessing
      • Lips can be tight or soft
  1. Tail
      • Wagging = DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN HAPPY
      • Stiff, slow wag = assessing, considering
      • High = alert, play aroused or fear aroused
      • Tucked low = fear, moderate to severe stress
      • Soft, wagging with wiggling bottom = happy
  1. Overall body
      • Looking at the overall body will give you the most information. Just like humans, dogs can have conflicting feelings, thus conflicting body language sometimes. Reading it all together helps give a clearer understanding.


This is just the very basics of dog body language. It’s a fascinating topic that many people don’t take the time to understand. It’s literally speaking another language!

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for next week when we discuss the Top 5 Body Language Cues Your Dog Wishes You Knew!

“Some people talk to animals. Not too many listen though. That’s the problem.” A.A. Milne

Sit, Stay, Play Dog Training & Behavior (704) 641-1042

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