Dogs are very expressive animals. This is one of the reasons why humans love this four-legged, bubbly fluff of happiness. They communicate when they feel happy, sad, angry and scared and these feelings are expressed in various ways. From their head tilts, their gazes, their stance down to their wagging tails, their body language and barks convey something. If you own a dog, you have probably wished your dog could talk so you could know what he is thinking exactly. Your dog may not be able to speak to you but he has expressed his message through body language and sound and if you learn to read his movements, figuring out what’s going on in his head may not be that hard anymore. Here is a rundown of some of the most common behaviors a dog manifests. Watch out for his actions.

Happy. When a dog is happy, the most prominent movement he does is he’s excited wagging tail. According to Debra Horwitz, a Veterinary Behaviorist, “When a dog is happy, his whole body looks soft. And when a happy dog wags his tail, the tail wags his whole body. He has relaxed ears, a soft pant, and soft eyes.”

Lonely. Barking or excessive howling may be an indication that your dog is lonely and needs your attention. When he chews on things or is uneasy when you leave home could be a sign of separation anxiety. For serious cases like this, a trip to the vet is advised. Training your dog to be alone and making him feel safe may also help.

Playful. A dog that puts its front legs down with its hind in the air signals an “I want to play” attitude. Also, upon the sight of his favorite toy, a stick or a ball, if he wags his tail, spins in circles, grins and barks, it may show the dog’s pure joy and playfulness.

Afraid. A scared dog will tuck his tail between his legs, hold his body close to the ground, and drop his ears and pull them back. Sometimes, shivering or trembling is present. In addition, he might open his eyes wider than usual. A dog who is in fear of something unknown usually go in a defensive stance.

In pain. Whining or crying is one of the most obvious signs of a dog in pain. If the dog eats or drinks less and has loss interest in usual fun activities, check on him for he’s possibly hurting and call the vet.

Loving it. As dog owners, you’ve probably tried scratching your dog behind the ears or giving him tummy rubs. The obvious signs of when your dog loves what you are doing are when he shuts his eyes and sits very still or lies down exposing his belly to you. Touching dogs behind their ears makes them feel happy and relaxed and exposing their stomach means he trusts you.

There are still more actions dogs express and taking time to learn how to read them will surely be rewarding in the end. It does not only enhance your relationship to your dog but it will also bring contentment and comfort to him.

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