Learn About Your Dog's Moods Through Body Language

Learn About Your Dog's Moods Through Body Language

Last update: 25 April, 2018

Body language  has been used since long ago in order to understand certain attitudes and feelings expressed by humans or animals. Today, we shall discuss about how useful it is. How it helps us communicate with our dogs and understand their different moods.

This can be readily apparent if you observe your dog’s body language. Although, some actions can be more subtle and others are obvious. Knowing both types will help you to understand your canine’s mood and act accordingly. Let’s discuss the most common types.

Postures reveals a dog’s mood  

These are some of the most common postures which tell us a lot about a dog’s emotions and moods.

Upright posture

Body postures dog standing up straight

Dogs show their confidence by standing with its head held high and tail raised. The pupils  will be constricted and the ears will be drooping down or point up. The canine’s mood is lax when feeling calm and safe.

Playful bow

In this posture, the dog stretches out his front paws and stoops down. A dog normally wags his tail while having his rear and tail pointed up in the air. Although, many believe this is an attack position, in actuality it means your dog is excited. He feels happy and is dying to play with you. In fact, this posture is known as a “play bow.”

Hip movements

Has your dog ever nudged you with its hips? Have you ever seen him do it to another dog? This doesn’t mean he’s upset or wants to fight, it’s quite the contrary! If this movement happens with another dog, the canine is only showing it needs to interact with other species.

If you get nudged, it is a sign of trust. Playing around with the dog a little won’t cause it to retaliate. Sometimes, a dog will “shamelessly” show it hips in order for you to give it a scratch on this non-reachable area.

Rolling over

How many times have you seen your dog laying on its back and rolling around? Quite a lot I’m sure! Well, this is a sign of respect for authority. This gesture can also be used to escape danger. At times, it can be an evasive action towards anything threatening, and it may reinforce the strength on its feet to push away from whatever that threat maybe.

Wandering around

Sometimes dogs may walk aimlessly from one place to another. When a canine does that, it generally means it’s bored, anxious, and maybe stressed. If you see this behavior in your dog then take him out to run, play, or jump.  

Most likely it is not getting enough exercise and they will calm down with just some physical activity.


Body postures dog moving tail
When doing an activity with your dog – – whether it being together or with other people and animals – –  have ever noticed him suddenly pausing as if he saw a ghost?  This happens because he feels unsafe.  

It may be something your dog doesn’t like and he experiences a lack of confidence. This causes a the dog to come to halt, then separate himself from the threat and go into hiding.

Arched back 

When your dog arches his back and points up his fur, this is not a sign of attack but a sign of acknowledging danger and this is his camouflage. With this posture, the dog tries to appear bigger believing it can protect itself from any danger lurking nearby.

These are some of the most relevant body postures your dog does. They reveal a lot about his emotions and moods. Getting to know his behaviors will strengthen or create a special bond with your dog. Perhaps you have seen these postures before or maybe this is your dog’s special way of communicating things to others. Why don’t you share them?


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.