Body Language of Dogs – a ready reckoner!

understanding body dog language of dog

The body language of dogs is relatively easy as compared to humans – they growl when they are angry, they wag their tails when they are friendly, how many humans can we say that for?


Dogs speak through their gaze, they smile in the tilt of their tails, their feelings are defined by proximities and distances they keep.

Dogs so very often give us cues to their emotional state as well as to their reaction to the worldly elements around them, if only we are listening. Their facial expressions and body postures tell so much more than their barks.

Body language of dogs

Since dogs don’t speak the human tongue, they communicate most of their feelings to us through their instinctual body language. Dogs communicate with one another and with us using non-verbal language.

These easy-to-read drawings by Lili Chin will help you understand your pooch much better!

Doggie language - body language of dog
Body language of dogs: Dogs say it best when they say nothing at all.

Dogs may not say the words, but they say a lot more once we realize their body language.

Unless you’re a cat living under a rock, you’d know how tricky it can get to listen to what your dog is saying. The Secret Life of Woofs isn’t that hard to comprehend even in today’s world of the internet and instant messages.

Understanding Dog Body Language
Learning the basics of canine body language helps us in better understanding our canine companions.  Once a Dog Listener, we can ease our well-intentioned cross-species miscommunications.

How to Greet a dog
Body language of dogs – greeting a dog

How to tell if a dog is afraid?

An afraid dog would tuck his tail between his rear legs.

A fearful dog often displays bodily postures like leaning away or back, trembling, lowering his body or head – eyes wide open and a wrinkled forehead. Watch out for his tail, which may be lowered or tucked. If he’s too timid, he may try to escape or urinate when approached.

Is the dog displaying aggressive behaviour?

A dog exhibiting an aggressive tone may display a wrinkled muzzle, tense body, with weight either centred or over all four feet or leaning slightly forward onto the front legs. When a dog is feeling tense, his eyes may appear rounder than normal, or they may show a lot of white around the outside.

A dog's body language can speDogs body language | Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen. Orhan Pamuk dog quote
A dog’s body language can speak volumes about what they’re thinking, feeling and trying to say.
‘Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.’ — Orhan Pamuk

Why do dogs chase their tails?

Dogs chase their tails for a variety of reasons: curiosity, exercise, anxiety, and predatory instinct or, they might even have fleas. For the behavioural aspects, try including more exercises in your dog’s daily routine – this would also help him reduce anxiety and stress.

All set to be Dr Dolittle, are you?

Also see, how to introduce your dog to the baby.

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3 thoughts on “Body Language of Dogs – a ready reckoner!”

  1. Nice post Abhishek.. I have a saint Bernard (His name is Titan) at my home, his huge size makes me scared.. His behavior is kinda neutral towards me, he neither barks at me nor ever come near to me.. What does it means?? He likes me or not?

    1. Hi Anjali, Dogs can smell apprehension, please let go of fear 🙂 Bernard(s) despite their size are very friendly hence the title Saint. Try to take it slow, bond with him by being the one who gives him food, takes him out for walks and I’m sure you’ll make great friends with him. All the best!

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