A Dog Life

A Happy Dogs Life

Signs A Dog Is Happy



Having fun with our pets is one sure-fire way of knowing they are happy. The tail wagging is just an extra bonus of letting you know you are doing a great job as their human. Just like with children which in many ways they are, taking care of their hygiene needs are just as important if not more, due to infections and other issues they may come across. So, grooming is one of the most effective ways to keep them happy and healthy.

With many humans taking that little extra step in caring for a dog/pet is dressing them up many animals will feel special trotting around in their new wardrobe knowing that their human took the time to pick out just for them just like getting a new toy to play with. It makes them feel loved.

20 signs your dog is happy

Written by: PetMD Editorial PUBLISHED: AUGUST 02, 2016

  1. Puppy-Dog EyesHappy dogs have relaxed eyes and eyelids. They blink often and their gaze is soft, says Beth Mullen, director of behavior and training at Washington Humane Society. Narrowed eyes and a hard gaze can indicate aggression, she says, while wide eyes, particularly if the whites are showing, could mean the dog is frightened.

  2. At-Ease Ears

    Ear shapes vary from breed to breed, but in general, happy dogs wear their ears in a relaxed fashion, says Mullen. One ear may be cocked up, or both may be loose and floppy. If a dog’s ears are pinned back, it could be a sign of fear or aggression, says Dr. Rachel Barrack of New York City’s Animal Acupuncture. Ears pricked forward often indicate that a dog is interested in something that is going on around them.

  3. Relaxed Mouth

    Happy dogs sometimes appear to smile, says Dr. Georgette Wilson, DVM, the director of scientific and regulatory affairs and resident veterinarian at Hartz. The mouth is open, and while some teeth may be visible, the animal is not baring them or curling back its lips in an aggressive manner, she says. Open mouth panting should not be confused with smiling, as this could be a sign the dog is stressed or overheated, says Barrack.

  4. Relaxed Body

    One of the quickest ways to tell whether a dog is happy is to look at the way the dog carries herself, says Tonya Wilhelm, dog-training specialist and author of several training books. A loose, soft, wiggly body usually means a dog is happy and healthy, she says. “On the other hand, if a dog seems tense, tight or stiff, they are less comfortable.”

  5. Tail Movement

    “Happy dogs wag their tails in a manner that involves the whole body,” says Barrack. If the tail wags stiffly but doesn’t shake the rest of the body, your dog may be telling you she’s alert and assessing a new situation, she says.

  6. Tail Carriage

    “When a dog is content and comfortable, his entire body is relaxed, including his tail,” says Wilhelm. “Each dog has a different relaxed tail carriage, depending on the breed.” In general, a happy dog will raise his tail, she says, but if it’s too high, that could indicate the pup is agitated or over stimulated. A tail pinned under the body is a strong sign of fear, says Barrack.

  7. Non-Destructive Behavior

    Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, as they use their mouths to explore their environments, says Barrack. But excessive chewing, particularly in an adult dog, could also be a sign of stress or boredom.

    “Happy dogs are unlikely to destroy your home or act naughty because they have enough physical and mental stimulation,” says Barrack. “Destructive behavior is typically a sign of boredom and unhappiness.” Separation anxiety is another common cause of extremely destructive behavior in dogs.

  8. Enjoys Playtime

    Happy dogs enjoy playtime and walks, says Barrack. “While all dogs slow down with age, if your dog seems abnormally quiet or reluctant to engage, this may be a sign they’re not feeling well,” she says. Bring your dog to the vet to make sure she isn’t sick or injured.

  9. Healthy Appetite

    Content canines have good appetites, says Barrack. While not every dog is ravenous, she says, a sudden drop in appetite could be a sign something is wrong. Conversely, an unexpected increase in appetite can also be a symptom of disease.

  10. Dancing

    Happy dogs often hop, says Mullen. Or at least they look like they’re hopping or dancing when they see someone (or some dog) they like. The quick movements usually indicate the dog is happy and ready to play. “You’ll see a happy dog bounce from side to side, usually in excitement to see her canine or human friend,” says Mullen.

  11. Smooth Brow

    Dogs, like people, can express their worry with a furrowed brow, says Mullen. A wrinkle-free forehead equals a worry-free dog. Shar-Pei owners, this tip obviously doesn’t apply to you!

  12. Lolling Tongue

    Ever wonder why dogs stick out their tongues when they’re sleeping? Usually it’s because they’re so relaxed they can’t be bothered to keep it in their mouths, says Wilson.

  13. Happy Barks

    Happy dogs generally have a higher pitched bark than agitated pups, says Mullen. They also usually bark for a shorter period of time, she says. But don’t judge a dog by its bark alone. It’s important to consider the other signs the dog is giving you, including her body carriage, before assuming all is good.

  14. Sleeping

    Healthy, happy adult dogs usually sleep for up to 16 hours per day, says Mullen. “If your dog isn’t sleeping that much, it could be a sign of distress,” she says.

  15. Healthy Coat

    A healthy coat is a good indicator your dog is happy, says Mullen. When dogs are stressed, they shed like crazy, she says, and sometimes their skin appears to flake. Of course, skin problems can also be a sign of disease, so check with your vet, too.

  16. Belly’s Up

    A wriggling dog showing you her belly and tongue is likely a very happy dog, says Mullen. However if the belly-baring pup appears stiff and keeps her mouth shut, she could be showing submission instead of satisfaction, she says.

  17. Lean In

    If a dog reacts to pets by staying close and even leaning in to your hand, it’s a good sign she’s enjoying the contact, says Wilhelm. Staying just out of reach or walking away could be a sign she needs more space.

  18. Rear’s Up

    A dog is telling you she’s up for fun when she play bows, says Wilhelm. In a play bow, a dog lowers her chest to the ground but keeps her rear in the air. “It’s a sign that a dog is inviting play and wants to interact,” she says.

  19. They Like Other Dogs

    Like people, every dog’s preference for company is different. But if your pup is social at the dog park, friendly with other family pets, and not overly aggressive to new animals, these are all signs she’s in a good mood.

  20. They’re Excited to See You

    Happy dogs greet you at the door, get excited when you wake up, and keep an eye on you when they’re playing in the dog park…unless their best canine friends are demanding all their attention, of course.


How many of the 20 signs does your dog exhibit?

Well it’s ok if you didn’t get all 20 signs, we know you and your dog/pet have the perfect relationship due to the fact that you are here taking the time to read about his/her happiness.

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