Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language


This summer, it’s highly likely you and your pet are going to enjoy some adventures outside the house and yard. And chances are, you’ll probably encounter a few other pets along the way. It’s important to understand body language and what your pet is really saying. As humans, we have the benefit of language and just using our voice to explain feelings. Your dog has only it’s actions and movements.

At Deceased Pet Care, we wanted to provide an in-depth (though not exhaustive) list of what to look for in your pet’s body language. That way, no matter what adventures this summer brings, you’ll be a little more prepared to read the signs of what really going on in your pet’s mind.


Dogs are our best friends, and often a worth adventure buddy. With our canine companions, emotion is shown through body language, while intention is shown through movement. It’s important to understand how both play in tandem to give us a clearer picture of what your, or another, dog is feeling.


Signs of Relaxation

When dogs are relaxed, they are in a friendly and engaging mood. They often welcome play, return friendly actions, and are safe for both friends and strangers to engage. Let’s break down some signs of relaxation: a wiggling back side, and fast moving tail wag (often in a sporadic or helicopter motion), a slightly open mouth with floppy tongue, squinty eyes, or an invitation to chase.


Signs of Displacement

Displacement means your dog is uncomfortable. If you see these signs, it means that your dog is either uncomfortable with the environment or the people/animals in it. It’s important to note that showing signs of displacement is the first step before initiating either fight or flight, so awareness is key. Signs of displacement include: pacing, shaking, excessive sniffing of the ground, yawning, or excessive lip licking.


If your dog is displaying any of these signs, check your environment and see if you can provide safety and comfort. Be willing to change circumstances if necessary.


Signs of Aggression

Aggression occurs when your dog feels a threat to its personal health and safety, or the health and safety of a loved one. Aggressive actions, if left unnoticed, can often lead to violent actions. It’s important to note, that although your dog might be showing signs of aggression, it doesn’t mean you have an aggressive dog… simply a threatened one.


Signs of aggression include: tense mouth/jaw, leaning forward, hair standing up, pointed body, staring, showing teeth, deep growling, barking, air-snapping, biting, and mauling.


At Deceased Pet Care, we know that you love your pet. And one of the best ways you can show that love, is to really listen to what your pet is saying with their body. With some general knowledge, and a lot of intentionality and awareness, we can ensure our pets will be both safe and happy adventure partners this summer, and many summers to come.