Is My Dog Happy?

sad dog under covers

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if babies and our pets could talk to us? Well, in a couple short years that baby will be talking non-stop but our pups will never really be able to talk to us.

But, No worries! Not all hope is gone! There are quite a few tell-tale signs for us decipher what our pups are feeling (or at least a general idea). Below is a list of some behaviors that your dog may exhibit that tell us they are happy:

  • Everyone knows tail wagging but there’s more to it. A stiff and higher tail wag can be a sign or aggression or your dog asserting their dominance whereas a relaxed or slightly lower tail wag typically indicates happiness.
  • A soft gaze and blinking often but on the other hand, a hard gaze with narrowed eyes can mean aggression, A furrowed brow can indicate your pup is stressed out.
  • Ears relaxed and soft whereas ear that are pinned back can indicate aggression or frightened.
  • A relaxed mouth often with lolling tongue and usually shows teeth, and maybe even a “smile”. Of course, I think everyone knows that a dog with curled lips and especially growling is a sign of one unhappy pup. Beware!
  • Sleeping contently, on average a dog sleeps 12 – 14 hours per day.
  • “Downward dog” pose with head down and rear end up in the air and a soft body baring the belly with the tongue out is often a sign that your pup is happy and ready to play. Alternatively, baring the belly can also be a sign of submission.
  • and finally, a pup that leans into you while you’re petting them is a sure sign of one happy baby!

Of course this list is not inclusive and is a generality. Each and every dog out there has their own special personality and may show some or none of these behaviors. The more time you spend with your pup really observing and trying to understand their body language the more you will be in tune with how they’re really feeling. Happy belly rubs!dog waiting on belly rubs


  1. That’s a good article. We’ve had a recent addition to the family (a Boston Terrier) and it’s fascinating trying to learn what all the signs mean. Doggy psychology is an endless subject.

    Bostons are so placid that we never really see the aggressive things, but recently we went through a carwash whilst she was in the car with us and she went through the whole book of emotions!

    Owning a dog is a joy and keeping them happy is important because they’ll then keep you happy in return. Truly a mans best friend.

    • Thanks for the comment, yes it is hard to determine what our dogs are trying to relay to us, but all we can do is be patient and keep trying!

  2. I really found this to be a very good guide to watch out for when meeting a dog for the first time, and even if the dog is a good dog overall you are a stranger and they will be cautious of you


  3. This is an interesting article about dogs. I only know they wag their tails when happy. I didn’t know they have so many ways to express themselves, and one does not need to be a dog expert to know all that.

    Perhaps you could include more pictures to show the different moods of the dogs, so that it is easier to visualise.

    • Thanks for the reply. we typically think a wagging tail is a good thing but that isn’t always the case.
      Thanks for the tip and I will try to find some new images to upload.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *