Reading Your Dog’s Emotions

Dogs pick up on their owners’ behaviours, so when you’re sad, happy or anxious, your puppy is more likely to approach you. It’s only natural that you’d want to reciprocate this behaviour by understanding your pooch’s emotions. This can be complex, because dogs have different personalities and different behaviours, which makes it less obvious to know which emotion they’re feeling, but it’s always worth it.

You’ll feel better knowing you can understand your dog, and he’ll benefit from that understanding when you shower him with kisses if you can tell he wants them. Even though training your dog offers plenty of benefits, it can’t make your puppy talk, so you’ll have to rely on other clues:


To know if your dog is happy, you just have to check out his doggy smile. You might think this just a projection of your own emotions, but who can deny that relaxed, satisfied expression? When your dog is lying with one of his paws tucked under him, he’s probably happy about something (most likely to see you). A tail thumping against the floor is also one of the most obvious signs, especially when you can hear it from the other room!


You might think this emotion will be obvious, but that’s not often the case. Sometimes a dog will raise his paw and you might confuse this with playfulness, when in reality your dog is worried about something. Even if you can’t seem to figure out what’s making your dog anxious, you should still refrain from petting him, or give him attention he may not want, as that can make him even more stressed. Other signs of anxiety include avoidance behaviours, when your dog gets up and leaves the room, turns his head away and puts his tail between his legs.


Although you might think that your dog needs training if he doesn’t stop running around while ignoring an order to stop, that’s not entirely correct. When a dog bends his front paws in order to lower his body towards the ground, as if he’s about to jump on you, and keeps his ears and tail up, he probably wants you to play with him. Since he can’t ask you, he’ll act this way to get your attention, which usually works.


Knowing when your dog is showing signs of aggression is the key to correcting this problem down the line with training classes, because it can be a dangerous behaviour – even if it doesn’t happen that often. Signs include the moments when your dog keeps staring or holding his tail high and wagging it in stiffly, or guards his possessions against you or other members of your family.

At Dog School we understand how much you want to be able to know what your dog is thinking, as this can lead to a stronger bond between the two of you. So to learn more about your puppy’s emotions and reciprocate the way your dog looks after you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and a member of our friendly team will be more than happy to help with anything you need.