Understanding dog behaviour

How to understand what your dog is saying

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: July 29, 2017
How to understand what your dog is saying
Image: ablog4us-rosa.blogspot.com.es

Have you ever thought about why dogs make such good pets? One of the most compelling reasons is how easy it is for us to communicate with them. Communicating with your dog is important, but for this to happen, you first need to understand their body language. Dogs express basic feelings such as fear, submission, aggression, desire to play, etc. through body language. The ears and tail are key in a dog's body language. This is why at OneHowto we'd like to show you how to understand what your dog is saying.

You may also be interested in: How to Know If Your Dog Is Happy: 7 Signs
  1. Fear
  2. It's angry
  3. It's submissive
  4. Dominance
  5. It wants to play
  6. Seeking your attention
  7. Advice


When your dog is afraid its ears are laid back and maybe even flat against its head. Its tail is between its legs and its snout is closed and its head down. Its eyes are half open or completely shut. Its body will be curved and crouched and it might whine. If it growls and shows its teeth, it's moving from fear to anger.

If it feels very scared, it may hide to get away from whatever is scaring it.

How to understand what your dog is saying - Fear
Image: en.wikimedia.org

It's angry

When a dog gets angry, it usually tends to be aggressive. But they always warn possible aggression. How? Its ears will be forward attentively or backwards if its aggression is a consequence of fear.

Its tail is raised and its teeth showing while staring at whatever's making it angry, releasing loud grunts and barks. If it is very aggressive it will stand still and leaning forward, with the fur of its back and tail bristling. If this happens, don't provoke it and let it calm down.

How to understand what your dog is saying - It's angry
Image: pixabay.com

It's submissive

When a dog is submissive, it keeps its ears back and tail between its legs. It will avoid eye contact at all costs as a sign of submission. It will lay down, whine and expose its belly.

How to understand what your dog is saying - It's submissive
Image: flickr.com


If your dog wants to show dominance, its ears are straight and forward, with its tail raised, head up and chest out. If it barks it wants to show aggression at the same time as dominance. It can also show dominance by placing its head, chin or paw on the back of the neck or shoulder of another dog.

How to understand what your dog is saying - Dominance
Image: en.wikimedia.org

It wants to play

When your dog wants to play with you, its ears will be relaxed with its tail up and wagging. It'll feel relaxed and pant. Its eyes are open and it will crouch down with its bottom up in an invitation to play.

How to understand what your dog is saying - It wants to play
Image: Pixabay.com

Seeking your attention

To get your attention it will try multiple techniques. From putting its paw on your leg, to putting its nose between your legs, to following you around the house, to barking at you to play, etc.

It depends on why it wants to get your attention, as this will affect what technique it uses.


If your dog is angry, don't directly look it in the eyes so it doesn't feel threatened. To maintain a loving relationship with your dog and make it feel safe, maintain eye contact with it regularly when it is relaxed.

When you learn to recognise the body language of your dog and communicate with it properly and understand what it means, you'll always know what it wants and how it feels. This way you'll create a better bond of trust with it.

If you want to read similar articles to How to understand what your dog is saying, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
1 comment
you guys are so amazing
Image: ablog4us-rosa.blogspot.com.es
Image: en.wikimedia.org
Image: pixabay.com
Image: flickr.com
Image: en.wikimedia.org
Image: Pixabay.com
1 of 6
How to understand what your dog is saying