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July 13, 2020 3 min read


 While your dog can’t tell you what’s on their doggie mind, having a solid understanding of canine facial expressions and their accompanying body language and behavior have a great value. We put together some of the more common canine communications offered by those very expressive fury faces. It’s also important when drawing conclusions about a dog’s facial expressions to factor in the rest of the body language in order to get the whole message.

The eyes:

Winking – If you see your dog winking, it indicates that he’s happy and playful.
Wide Open – It means your dog is ready to play when your dog’s eyes are wide open.
Breaking Eye Contact – Your dog is avoiding confrontation and being polite if your dog breaks eye contact.
Holding Eye Contact – It is a sure sign that the dog is challenging the object of their attention of they are holding eye contact, even just staring.
Wide, Upturned Eyes – Your dog is feeling nervous or unsure if your dog has wide, upturned eyes.
Narrowed Eyes – Beware of this, especially if it is followed by concentrated staring because it usually means your dog is feeling aggressive.

The Ears:

Ears Forward – It means your dog is paying close attention to something or curious if his ears are forward.
Ears Are Flat Against Its Head – This represents fear or aggression.
Ears Way Back – It may mean that your dog is feeling sad if his ears are way back but not close to his head.

A Dog’s Posture:
Tail Down – Your dog will have his tail down and is standing without tension or lying down, with his eyes and ears pointed towards the center of its attention when he’s relaxed.
Tail Up – Your dog will have their tail up in the air, be bending their front legs onto the ground and have their backside raised when they are feeling playful or when they want to play and have fun.
Paw In The Air – Your dog may have perked ears, a paw in the air and slightly bowed back legs when they are excited.
Back Legs Angled Out – Your dog will also have their ears perked and back legs angled out behind them when they are alert.
Ears Up and Forward, Tails Up and Legs Stiff – This means that your dog is displaying dominance and aggression.
Tails Bent Low – When tails are bent low and your dog’s head is bent low to the ground, ears are back and legs bent to hunch close to the ground, this means they are feeling anxiety.
Tails Bent All The Way Close To Their Bellies – When your dog is scared, it will have his tail bent all the way close to their bellies, bowed their legs and may have their ears back or possibly flat.


Common Dog Gestures:
Paw Raised – it means your dog needs something when he raised or touched another down or owner.
Hip Wagging – It means your dog is really deep in play.

Common Dog Facial Expressions:
Wide-Open Mouth with Slightly Upturned lips – it means your dog is really happy. It looks almost like a human smile.
Bared Front Teeth – It means non-active aggression. It is also commonly seen when a dog is guarding its bone or his favorite toy.
Yawns – Yawning can actually relieve stress, and signal confusion or tiredness.
Licking People and Other Dogs – Another way of greeting people and other dogs besides wagging their tails is licking. But a long, prolonged licks are a sign of closeness and affection, or the desire to comfort.