27 Jan

Watching our dogs body parts can tell us a world of things about how they are feeling, this document will show you what to watch for. 

What to watch for:


  • Friendly eyes are soft, they look inviting and happy

  • Unsure eyes look like what we call whale eye, we will be seeing more whites the iris and they will look worried usually to the side at something as they try and look away

  • Unfriendly eyes stare hard, they will be showing that they are scared/ putting on an aggressive display but still staring at you or in your eyes, this means they are very uncomfortable and you don’t want to move closer.

Ears: we want to watch where our dogs ears naturally sit and base these off of that, we want to watch the base of the ear to see the position not the tip. 

  • Friendly ears will be in their regular relaxed neutral position. 

  • Unsure/nervous ears will be back toward the neck they can look pinned to the head when dogs are nervous or scared, or when they are feeling the need to appease, so don’t worry if your dog looks at you with ears back! 

  • Unsure/alert ears that can be potentially offensive are forward, coupled with the body being forward as well.



  • A friendly tail is loose wiggly and wagging at a nice pace, in the relaxed position 

  • A nervous tail will be down and tucked, still can be wagging

  • A alert or aroused or offensive tail is up and forward, the base of the tail is forward, even if dogs natural tail is up


A relaxed face will have an open mouth, or a closed mouth with no tension soft eyes and no tension in the cheeks

  • A nervous face will be tense, possibly showing teeth, eyes possibly whale eyeing or hard

  • An aroused or forward/offensive face will have lots of tension, teeth likely showing and mouth in a c shape and hard eyes.

Overall body:

  • A friendly dog will be loose and wiggly and relaxed all over, with minimal stiffness

  • A nervous dog may be very stiff but the body will be back, low with the tail down or tucked and ears back

  • A forward offensive dog would be forward with the whole body. And very tense and stiff.

top left: happy relaxed body, top Right: nervous/scared/unsure, bottom: alert/forward/offensive 

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