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Dog Communication

Im sure you communicate with your dog daily, humans communicate with their dogs with verbal communication, whereas dogs mainly communicate using non-verbal communication. This communication can include, tail wagging, posture, facial expressions and through their eyes. If you want to crack the code and see what your dog is trying to tell you, continue reading.


A wagging tail doesn't always mean a happy dog - it indicates that the dog is emotionally aroused. Make sure you look at the direction and speed of the wag, plus the position of the tail to better interpret the dog's emotions and intentions.

If you notice your dog doing long, slow, side-to-side tail sweeps or wagging their whole body along with their tail, this could indicate that your dog is feeling content and relaxed.

Notice your dog wagging their tail like a helicopter or a circle wag. This means your dog is extremely happy and excited, we love to see helicopter wags as they tend to indicate such friendly, happy dogs.

Depending on the breed, some dog tails curl naturally over their back, like a Husky, whereas others can have a low neutral tail position, such as an Italian Greyhound. If your dog’s tail is in a neutral position, it means they are relaxed and calm, this could be a good time to approach and play with your pup.

If you see your dog with their tail held high, this indicatesd, they are feeling confident but could also indicate they are feeling aggressive so remember to check for other communication signals too too.

So, what does it mean when your dog’s tail is pointing to the ground or between their legs?, This could mean they need some extra human support as they maybe feeling fearful or stressed.


If your dog’s weight is shifted forward this could mean your dog is trying to appear larger or get closer to something they find interesting, but could also indicate offensive intentions, especially if shown with other aggressive language signs. On the other hand, a cowering, dog hunched towards ground could mean your dog is trying to appear smaller, they’re fearful or stressed and trying to get away from something.

We all know that the play bow posture means your doggy is ready to play.

Facial Expressions:

Your dogs’ facial expressions can tell you a lot about how they are feeling or what they are trying to tell you, although they don’t have the ability to make lots of facial expressions like us humans, they still use the facial expressions they are able to make to communicate with us humans.

Yawing:, like humans if you notice your dog yawing it could mean they are tired and calm. A dog’s yawn can also show a release of stress.

Ever noticed your dog smiling, or have a small grin on their face? A submissive grin can usually be found on a happy dog with a loose and wiggly posture.


When looking at a dog’s eyes, pay attention to the white part of the eye and consider the force and intensity of a dog’s gaze. A dog’s eyes can tell us a lot about how your dog is feeling and what they are trying to tell you.

Soft eyes with relaxed lids, which can also look like squinting, can indicated your dog is happy or calm.

If your dog is giving a hard stare or looks intensely at something, usually for a long period, this can signal a threat, or your dog is feeling threatened.

Noticed your dog has whale like eyes or is showing the whites,It’s a signal they are feeling anxious or stressed in a situation.

Ever noticed your dog trying to avoid eye contact or purposely looking away from you?. When a dog feels stressed, they will purposely look away and avoid eye contact - the dog is feeling discomfort or trying to calm down or avoid a situation by doing so. 

You can use the infographics linked below for more information on how to understand your dog and their communication. We have many dogs at the centre who are full of personality and looking to relax in a home of their own. You can view the dogs who are currently waiting HERE, or you could treat one of the animals whilst they are waiting for their forever home by visiting our Amazon Wishlist.