How to tell if your dog is truly happy

Apr 08, 2020 A Dog’s Life

Your canine buddy means the world to you and you only want the best for them. Like most dog parents, you probably spend a lot of time wondering what your dog is trying to tell you. Are they feeling ok? Is that bark something you should worry about? Unlike us, dogs can’t use words to express their thoughts and emotions. They’re completely reliant on individual behaviours and body signals to communicate their feelings and to let you know what’s going on.

Not surprisingly, the easiest dog body language to understand is whether or not they’re happy. Here are 10 ways to check if your furry family member is perky and doing great:

  • A high, wagging tail. This is probably the most well-known sign to look out for. Swinging back and forth means everything’s good. This can be soft and slow, or full of gusto.
  • A relaxed body. If your dog has a loose, wiggly body they’re generally chilled and feeling good. If they look stiff or tense, it could mean they’re very uncomfortable.
  • Soft eyes. A relaxed gaze, blinking often, and a smooth brow equals happiness.
  • Loose ears. Floppy ears mean your dog is relaxed.
  • A smiling mouth. Your canine buddy’s mouth is a little open and perhaps showing a few teeth, but not deliberately baring them all or curling back lips.
  • Eager to play. Happy dogs love walks and playtime. If your dog seems disinterested, it might be a sign they’re not feeling well and a trip to the vet may be needed.
  • Leaning in. A relaxed dog enjoys attention and will often keep contact or lean into your body whenever they have the opportunity to.
  • Happy barks. These are usually short and slightly higher-pitched compared to other barks.
  • Chest on the ground, bum in the air – a sure sign your dog is inviting a play date with their favourite human or dog buddy.
  • Non-destructive behaviour. If your dog is physically and mentally happy, they’re less likely to chew up furniture, shoes, and whatever else their mouths find. Destructive behaviour is usually a sign of stress or boredom.