What Your Dog is Trying to Tell You

Sometimes your dog tries to communicate in a language you don’t naturally understand. In order to understand what he is trying to say, you need to learn how to interpret his behaviors when he is feeling sad, happy, sick, fearful, etc. In this article, we will discuss the ways your dog communicates with you, as well as the different ideas and emotions that he is likely trying to convey.

Standing Still

If you catch your dog momentarily standing still, he may be trying to tell you something. It will likely last only a few seconds, which means you need to watch carefully to see what is happening or what message your dog may be trying to convey.

When your dog is standing still, he bears his weight in one of three ways:

  • Balanced on his hindquarters: this is often a sign that your dog wants to spring forward, confident and ready to interact.
  • Feet four-square and balanced: this means that your dog is very calm and confident.
  • Your dog may stand in a way that will allow him to bolt away from you or someone/something else immediately. If your dog is feeling fearful, this stance will allow him to flee at any moment.

Wide eyes

You may look at your dog and notice that his eyes are opened wide. This is not a sign of happiness, nor is it normal.

Wide eyes often indicate that he is uncomfortable or afraid. He may hear or suspect something threatening and try to pass this message to you. If this happens, remove your dog from the situation and try to pinpoint the source of his stress.

Ears Pulled Back

If your dog’s ears are pulled straight back, he is likely fearful.


Your dog may yawn if he is feeling tired or anxious. Consider the situation and try to determine the underlying cause of the yawning.

Wagging Tail

A wagging tail means that your dog is happy. However, if your dog’s tail looks stiff when he is wagging, this may be a sign of nervousness. It’s always a good idea to examine the behaviors of your pet and pay attention his body language.

Bringing Things to You

Most people or pet owners may think that a dog wants to play fetch if he brings over a toy or another object. However, this is not always true—your dog may be trying to give you a gift or a sign of appreciation for what you have been doing for him.

Hunching Over and Making Himself Look Small

This is typically a sign of fear. Many dogs that have suffered abuse at some point in their lives exhibit this behavior. If you witness your dog engaging in this behavior, try to calm him and avoid taking him places where he will feel threatened or stressed.

Rolling Onto His Back

If your dog rolls on his back, this is often an indicator of happiness and excitement. He may be asking for belly rubs, feeling playful, or looking for comfort.

Destructive Behavior

Sometimes it may seem as if your dog wants to destroy everything in sight. These destructive behaviors usually have an underlying cause that can be addressed. He may be bored and in need of something to keep him occupied, both mentally and physically. If your dog loves to chew, chew toys and chewy treats may help to keep him busy and limit his destructive behaviors.


An owner will often think that a dog is tired or exhausted when he is panting, but this is not always true. Panting may be a sign that the dog is expelling heat from his body. If you’re outside with your dog and there is too much heat, you need to find some shade.

By staying on the lookout for these signals, you can gain a better understanding of your dog’s wants and needs, which will translate into a happier, healthier relationship for the both of you.

 Author: Rakib Talukder is the founder of SelfPetCare.com, a resource-filled blog dedicated to providing honest pet care advice and information for pet lovers.


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