Our dogs bring so much joy into our lives, and we do everything we can to return the favor. They brighten up our darkest days, give us constant unconditional love, and give us more smiles and laughs than we ever could’ve imagined before they came into our lives. It’s only natural that we want to make sure we’re giving them the best life possible right back!
Chances are, you know your dog so well that you can read your dog’s emotions like a book. But just in case you had any doubts, check out these 10 signs your dog is truly happy and see if they remind you of a certain special pup!
1. Soft Gaze
While eye contact with a stranger can make some pups feel threatened (especially if they’re nervous to begin with), sharing a loving gaze with the people they trust is definitely a sign of canine contentment! Whether they’re locking eyes with you, or their stare is soft as you’re stroking their fur (maybe their eyes are even closing!), this means that your dog can fully relax around you — and who’s not happy when they’re feeling “zen”?
2. Relaxed Mouth & Ears
A pup with a relaxed mouth — not tightly closed, not panting hard — is usually calm, and this sign is often accompanied by a soft gaze. Their mouth may be slightly open in a gentle pant, and it might even look like they’re giving you a slight smile! Of course, this is not to be confused with a nervous or aggressive “smile” that curls up the lips.
Also, look at ear positioning. As opposed ears that are erect and alert, or flattened on the head and accompanied by nervous signs like lip-licking and tail-tucking, ears that are held in their natural position usually signify a calm dog. With that said, sometimes dogs will put their ears back in happiness when someone they love approaches, and in this case, it’s usually accompanied by a loving gaze and wagging tail!
3. Wagging Tail
Everyone knows that dogs wag their tails to express their emotions. What some don’t know, though, is that certain wags can actually indicate nervousness or alertness. When your dog’s back end is in it’s natural position, he’s most likely relaxed. And those big wags when you come home from work are most definitely displays of excitement!
Psychology Today breaks down different types of tail wags, below:
● A slight wag, with each swing of only small breadth, is usually seen during greetings as a tentative, “Hello there,” or a hopeful “I’m here.”
● A broad wag is friendly: “I am not challenging or threatening you.” This can also mean: “I’m pleased.” This is the closest to the popular concept of the happiness wag, especially if the tail seems to drag the hips with it.
● A slow wag with the tail at half-mast is less social than most other tail signals. Generally speaking, slow wags with the tail in neither a particularly dominant (high) nor a submissive (low) position are signs of insecurity.
● Tiny, high-speed movements that give the impression of the tail vibrating are signs the dog is about to do something, usually run or fight. If the tail is held high while vibrating, it is most likely an active threat.
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