How to Identify Your Dog’s Emotions

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dog behaviour, dog body language, understanding pets

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Much like humans, a dog’s body language often represents their emotions. Whether they feel angry, anxious, fearful or happy, body language habits can let us know more about their mental state.

Your dog could be wagging their tail or bringing over their favourite chew toy – do you know what that body language means?

The experts at Pure Pet Food have revealed the key steps to take when reading your dog’s body language.

“Helping dog owners understand what their pet is wanting to say can be a big step in developing the relationship between humans and their canine companions,” a spokesperson for Pure Pet Food explains.

“Nobody knows their dog better than the owner. The more time they spend together, and the better the human is at reading their dog, the stronger the relationship will be.”

Find out how to identify your dog’s emotions below…


1. Happy
When your pup is happy, their ears will be up (not forward) with their tail down and relaxed. This is common when dogs spot their owners coming home after time away from them.

2. Alert
You’ll be able to know your dog is alert if their eyes are open and bright. Plus, when they have their ears forward, it may show they are trying to listen to a specific sound.

3. Anxious
One of the key traits of anxious pups is avoiding eye contact. Sweaty footprints can also be a sign of anxiety, along with a raised paw and flattened ears.

4. Fearful
There are many different ways your dog can show they are scared. Some pups may growl, bark, roll on their backs or tuck their tails under their bodies. It’s important owners notice these promptly, so they can comfort their dogs in their time of need.

5. Vulnerable
Dogs can often feel vulnerable and nervous around meeting new people. Indications of this may be them rolling on their backs or wanting their belly rubbed more than usual.

6. Angry
If your dog is feeling angry, their mouth will be open as they bare their teeth. Another body language you may spot could include a stiff body or a position where they could be ready to lunge themselves forward.

7. Relieved
You’ll easily be able to spot if your dog is feeling relieved, as their eyes will soften and their heads will return to a lower position.

8. Playful
A wagging tail is one of the main giveaways of a dog who wants nothing but to play. Plus, if they bring over their favourite toy you will be certain of what they have in mind.

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