How often does your dog look at you and you find yourself wondering “what are you thinking?” Sometimes even watching them it can be difficult to tell the difference between “playful” and “excited” or “anxious” and “scared”. While we know that each pet is unique, we also know that there are a few traits that basically all dogs share when it comes to physically communicating how they are feeling. 

Anxious or Nervous
Ears are back
Tail is low, but the end might be wagging slightly
Posture is leaned back or turned to the side
Might be panting
A dog showing signs of anxiety is nervous about his surroundings and you should avoid petting him if you don’t know him.

Flattened ears
Tucked tail
Crouching lower to the ground
A scared dog should not be approached, because he might bite if he feels the need to defend himself.

Standing up tall and leaning forward
Tail held high
A dominant dog is showing another dog that he’s in charge.

Stiff posture
Tail moves back and forth, like a flag
Might show teeth and/or growl
Don’t run away from an aggressive dog. Stand tall and still and look away.

Might “bow down” with tail in the air and wagging and front legs and chest on the ground
Might be panting or barking
This dog is ready for you to chase him or throw the ball for him.

Forward ears
Tail wagging quickly
Alert and ready to pounce
Likely panting
Sometimes, overly excited dogs can inadvertently scratch, jump up, or knock someone down in their excitement.

We know that each animal communicates a little differently from the next, so we encourage you to pay attention to your dog this week and see if you can figure out what he might be trying to tell you! And if you find yourself concerned with anything you are seeing, be sure to ask at your next appointment