You can tell a lot about how your dog is feeling by simply watching their body language. The way they hold their head, the position of their ears and tail and their stance can all show you if they're happy or sad, relaxed or fearful.
If your dog is interested in something, they'll show it by pricking up their ears or taking small sniffs. They'll probably stay standing, unless you've asked them to sit. Their feet will stiffen and they'll bow their body a little bit. They will stare intently at a chosen item.
RELAXED • APPROACHABLE • CALM
If your dog is calm and confident their body will be relaxed. Their ears will be up and their eyes alert and welcoming. They might wag their tail too.
PLAYFUL • HAPPY
If your dog is clearly happy and relaxed, they might jump up as a sign of playfulness. They may also go into a bow with their bottom high in the air and their front legs on the ground. Wagging their tail and bottom excitedly, bouncing on the spot, or even bringing a toy and dropping it at your feet are all signs that they're up for a bit of fun!
Lying on their back is a sign of submissive behaviour which tells other dogs that they're not a threat. It's often seen in puppies and less confident dogs when meeting new people or other dogs. A submissive dog will also look away and may blink. Their ears will be flat and they might lick the air or try to lick a person or dog’s face.
If your dog holds his tail erect while showing his teeth, this is a sign of aggression. Other signs include leaning forward and staring, making themselves look as big and scary as they can, wrinkling their nose, growling and raising their hackles.
STRESSED • DISTRESSED • WORRIED
If your dog is stressed, distressed or worried they'll have their tail down, ears back and body lowered. They may also pant rapidly and their pupils may be dilated.
FEARFUL • AGGRESSIVE
When a dog has their tail between their legs and their ears laid back they are showing signs of fear. Be careful. A scared dog can act aggressively and may bite to defend themselves.