Know What Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You


 “No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.” – Christopher Morley

Knowing what your dog is trying to tell you helps you to immediately respond to them, make them happy, and avoid unnecessary episodes. Dogs don’t talk and won’t tell you what they want, need, or what they’re feeling. They let you know all these through their body language, the sounds they make, and actions. 

When you see someone with a flushed face and trying to catch his breath, you can immediately tell that this person is not feeling well. How about when you come home late at night and your dad glares at you with his nose flaring? Uh-oh, he’s mad! Be prepared to get some scolding. 

It’s the same with dogs, you just need to carefully observe them and “listen” to what they are saying. Here are things that your dog is trying to tell you:

Body language


A wagging tail is a sign that your dog is happy or excited. If the tail is tucked between the legs then it means he is afraid or anxious. A pointed or erect tail means your dog is watching something carefully. It could mean that he found his prey and is watching its every move. It could also mean that he is asserting his dominance.



The eyes can also tell you a lot about what your dog is feeling. If the eyes are drooping or squinting then it could mean that he is not feeling well. If his eyes look soft and sparkling then that means he is happy. A hard stare accompanied by an erect tail and no movement means he is preparing to get aggressive, so beware! When your dog looks away when you stare at him that means he is showing respect. He wants to let you know that he will not fight or challenge you. Showing you the white part of his eyes is another sign of pre-aggression. This is also known as the whale eye and is often seen when your dog is resource guarding. 



Relaxed ears mean that your dog is calm and relaxed. Ears erect and forward means he is being stimulated and ready for some action. If this is accompanied by a wagging tail then it means he is happy and excited. But if it comes along with a hard stare or a whale eye then it’s a sign of aggression. Pulled back ears could mean many things like fear, stress, or appeasement. Look out for other clues to determine which one he is trying to say. 




When your dog is whining, he is probably asking for food or some attention. It could also be from excitement or stress. Observe your dog and watch out for the accompanying body language that comes with the whine. If your dog whines as he sits by the door then that means he needs to go out to relieve himself. If your dog is injured then the whining could be to express his pain or discomfort. If he whines without indicating or giving clues as to why he is whining, something must be wrong and it would be best to send him to the vet for a checkup. 



A dog barking is similar to a human shouting. Pay close attention to the pitch of your dog’s bark and you will have an idea why he is barking. Incessant loud barking could mean someone invaded his territory and he wants you, the family, the neighborhood dogs, and the neighbors to know about it. A short and sharp crying sound means that he is hurt and needs help while a deep loud bark or growl is often a warning like ”come closer and it’ll get nasty”



Dogs pant. They pant even when they are calm but it is so light and quiet that you probably think they are just breathing lightly. Dogs pant when they are happy or excited. After jumping and running around due to excitement, you’ll find them panting heavily. They also pant when they are apprehensive or agitated. If your dog is panting heavily but isn’t showing any sign of excitement or nervousness then this could be a big problem. Heavy panting could be a sign that there’s something wrong with him. He could be suffering from an illness, trauma, or is probably overheating. Let him cool down and rest, this should make it stop if overheating is the issue. If the heavy panting persists then bring him to the vet to check for any illness. 




When your dog yawns

A yawn can mean many things. He could be trying to relax his body. He could be tired. It could also be an expression of fear or stress and it could be because he is trying to mirror someone who is also yawning just like humans do when they see someone yawing and they feel like yawning too. 


When your dog takes your hand using his snout

This means “give me your attention” or “feed me” 


When your dog brings you little gifts

When your dog brings you stuff like a slimy ball or a broken toy he had played with, don’t think that he wants to play fetch with you. What he is trying to do is give you a present or share with you things that he thinks you will love or need since those things are the ones he loves and needs. 


When your dog raises one paw in the air 

This could mean that he is asking for food or he is going to pounce on a toy, a playmate, or something. 


When he destroys your furniture

This could mean he is anxious or bored. Spend more time with him, take him out for walks, and give him toys he can bite. 


When he takes over the sofa or your bed

It means he wants some snuggles. He wants to be close to you and spend some cozy time with you. 


When he stands on your feet or between your legs

This means that he is telling everyone that you belong to him, so back off! It could also mean he is having separation anxiety or he just wants to be close to you. 


It clearly shows that our cuddly canine babies have many ways of communicating with us. We just need to take some time to carefully observe what they are trying to tell us and we will be able to give them the appropriate reply.  

You might also like Top 17 Dog Breeds that are Cat-Friendly and 18 Cat Breeds that Get Along Well with Dogs.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published