What does your dog’s body language mean?

What does your dog’s body language mean?

dog body language

While your dog can’t tell you what’s on their doggie mind, he or she can sure tell you a lot through their body language. Jet Pet Resort has put together a quick list to help you understand what your dog may be trying to tell you.

The Eyes:

  • When your dog is winking, it indicates a very happy, playful dog.
  • If your dog’s eyes are wide open, it means your dog feels ready to play.
  • When a dog breaks eye contact it means a dog is avoiding confrontation and being polite.
  • However, a dog holding eye contact, even staring, is a sure sign that the dog is challenging the object of their attention.
  • If your dog has wide, upturned eyes it’s a signal that the dog is feeling nervous or unsure.
  • Narrowed eyes usually mean your dog is feeling aggressive. Beware of this, especially if it is followed by concentrated staring.


The Ears:

  • When your dog’s ears are forward, it means the dog is paying close attention to something or is curious.
  • When your dog’s ears are flat against its head, it represents fear or aggression.
  • Ears way back but not close to its head may mean that your dog is feeling sad.


A Dogs Posture:

  • When your dog is relaxed, it will have its tail down, is standing without tension or lying down, with its eyes and ears pointed towards the center of its attention.
  • A playful dog or a dog that wants to play and have fun will have their tail up in the air, be bending their front legs onto the ground, and have their backside raised.
  • If your dog is excited it may have perked ears, a paw in the air, and slightly bowed back legs.
  • An alert dog will have their ears perked and back legs angled out behind them. It will look like they’re about to take off running.
  • A dog displaying dominance will have their ears up and forward, tails up, and legs stiff.
  • If your dog is exposing their stomach, with their tail close to their belly, and their legs are up in the air it is being submissive. If your dog is doing this and also rolling they’re passively letting you know they’re not enjoying themselves.
  • Anxiety is shown when tails are bent low, heads are bent low to the ground, ears are back, and legs bent to hunch close to the ground.
  • Scared dogs will have tails bent all the way close to their bellies, bowed legs, and may have ears back or possibly flat.
  • Aggression is shown by bowed legs, ears bent back, and tail turned up.


Common Dog Gestures:

  • A paw raised and touched to another dog or owner means the dog needs something.
  • Hip wagging means a dog is really deep in play.
  • Ears up and head cocked to the side is a very common uncertainty/curiosity gesture.
  • Head shaking denotes the end of a certain activity. Your dog is pressing his own reset button, so to speak.


Common Dog Face Expressions:

  • A wide-open mouth with slightly upturned (but not curled) lips denotes a happy dog. It will almost look like a human smile.
  • Bared front teeth mean non-active aggression. It’s most commonly seen when a dog is guarding its bone or favourite toy.
  • A mouth stretched back and slightly open denotes pain.
  • Yawns can relieve stress, signal confusion, or tiredness.
  • Lip licking can mean a submissive dog or that your dog is trying to disperse their hormones to the air if they’ve got a dog crush.
  • Licking people and other dogs is a greeting and long, prolonged licks are a sign of closeness and affection or the desire to comfort.


So there you have it. How many of these gestures do you see regularly in your dog? At Jet Pet Resort we have seen thousands upon thousands of dogs and have observed every type of doggie body language. We truly understand what your dog is trying to communicate so we know exactly how to facilitate the best possible experience for your pup while staying with us.

Want to learn more? Find out how we incorporated our knowledge into the “Dog Purposeful” approach:

Our “Dog Purposeful” Approach


Jet Pet Resort’s approach to pet care takes into account the entire experience at Jet Pet from a dog’s perspective. We go the extra mile to make your pet feel at home whether they’re boarding with us or in for daycare because we believe they should enjoy their time away, just as much as you.