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Is my dog happy?

Have you ever wondered “Is my dog happy?”or “How can I tell my love for them is reciprocated?”. If you look closely, you’ll notice your dog trying to tell you things with their body language. Some good, some not so good. But being able to identify the signs will give you better knowledge on how to respond in any situation.  

Signs your dog is happy

  • Waggy tail. A wagging tail is the most well-known sign your dog is happy, Happy dogs will often do big circular wags with their tail and even wiggle their hips at the same time.  
  • Relaxed body. Relaxed shoulders, no tensing of muscles, soft eyes, and a little wiggliness to their movement are all very encouraging signs that your pooch is living their best life.  
  • Floppy ears. If they’re pricked upright, they’ve probably been alerted by a nearby squirrel. Or if their ears seem to be flat against their head, something might not be quite right. Like their body, if their ears are relaxed and in a natural position, it’s a good sign that they’re happy. 
  • Leaning into you. If your pup leans into you it means that they’re happy to be around you and they’re likely to enjoy your attention. If they lean into your hand when you stroke them, it means they trust and like you, and they’re letting you know you’re giving them optimal love and affection. 
  • Play bows. When you meet other dogs on your daily walks it helps to be able to notice if your pup is happy with the situation. If they are you might notice them doing a play bow. A play bow is when your dog lowers their chest to the ground but keeps their back end in the air and is their way of saying “I want to play”. 

Signs your dog is unhappy

  • Yawning & licking lips. Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell you when they’re feeling uncomfortable, but an interesting thing they do is repeatedly yawn or lick their lips. This is their way of giving you a  signal that the current environment is one they’re not happy with.  
  • Ears held back.  Ears on dogs can be very expressive. So when you notice their ears pinned back, almost flat across their head, it usually means they’re feeling stressed or anxious.  
  • Hiding & walking away. Your pup can get anxious or stressed in social environments with other dogs and people. You may notice them hiding behind you or even taking themselves off to another area. It’s important to not force them to interact if you see this happening because this could increase their stress or even make them feel they need to protect themselves. 
  • Turn away. This is different to walking away as the signals all come from their head. If they’re unhappy with something someone or yourself has done, they’ll turn their head away. What’s interesting about this is that your dog may give a quick lick of your hand or face if you’re close to them before turning away. This is to tell you that they don’t want to be near to you at that moment.  
  • Low or tucked tail. If a dog’s tail is low with a slow wag or tucked in, it’ll mean that they’re fearful and unsure of an environment. You can solve this by reassuring them with pets, rubs, or simply taking them out of that situation.   

Hands up, who knew all these ways our dog is communicating with us?

Understanding your dog is key to a happy relationship and a strong bond. Take your relationship with your pup to the next level with a PitPat dog activity monitor. The small, lightweight device gives you a window into your dog’s life, so you know exactly how much activity they’re doing. All you need to add is the love part.

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