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Reading Body Language

Happy Dog

Panting, relaxed and happy expression

Body relaxed

Enthusiastic tail wag


Angry Dog

Ears forward or back and close to head

Eyes Narrow or staring

Mouth and lips open exposing teeth bared

Body tense

Hackles Up along back

Tail stiff and out from body

Growling and barking


Scared Dog

Ears laid back and low on head

Eyes narrowed

Eyes showing whites

Mouth and lips drawn back showing teeth

Shivering or tembling

Tail between legs

May give worried yelp, whine or growl


Playful Dog

Ears up and forward or relaxed

Eyes wide open & happy looking

Excited panting

Body relaxed, front end lowered & rear end up in the air (play bow)

Excited bouncing & jumping

Circling and running back in an invitation to play

Tail wagging vigorously

Excited barking or soft play growling


Submissive Dog

Ears Down & flattened against head

Eyes narrowed & whites of eyes showing

Mouth & Teeth pulled way back from teeth in a 'grin'

Nuzzling or licking other animal or person on face

Body lowered to ground, front paw raised

Lying on back, belly up

Tail down & can be between legs


Dominant Dog

Ears up or forward

Eyes wide open and staring

Mouth closed or slightly open

Body very tall position

Hackles may be up

Tail stiff and fluffed - up or straight out from body

May give an assertive growl or grunt



Learn about how to stay safe around dogs here  Safety Around Dogs