Is it in his eyes? Maybe it’s the way he wags his tail. Or how about that room zooming he does whenever you open the front door? If you’re like most pet parents, you probably know by now when your dog is happy, but how do you know?
The Signs of a Happy Pooch
As people spend quality time with their dogs during the COVID-19 lockdown, they’ve got a lot more time to wonder about just what makes their pet tick. It’s true that dogs feel emotions like humans do, but they don’t always express them in the same way. They use body language and other canine specific behaviors to indicate how they’re feeling.
Here are some of the top signs to look for in a happy dog.
Puppy Love Eyes
Yes, one of the most common ways your pet lets you know he’s happy is with his relaxed eyes and eyelids. His gaze might actually be softer, and his blinking could be more frequent. A dog with narrowed eyes and a hard gaze is usually displaying signs of aggression.
Is That a Smile I See?
Some people swear their pet smiles at them, and they could be right. If your pooch has his mouth closed or slightly opened and his eyes are alert, he’s relaxed and showing his pleasure. If, however, he’s also panting, he could too hot or stressed instead of happy.
From Head to Toe
Take a look at your pet’s ears. Are they in their natural position for his breed? How about his tail carriage? If that, too, is in its usual position, you have a happy pooch on your hands. Some breeds might also wag their tail gently from side to side. Now take a look at his whole body to see if the muscles are relaxed. The ASPCA says a happy dog has a relaxed body carriage even when playing and bouncing around the room.
Agent of Chaos
Happy or content dogs are much less likely to be destructive. A bored or anxious dog often lets his feelings out by chewing on your shoes, eating the couch, or destroying his toys instead of playing with them.
Have you ever seen your pet do a little hop or dance when they see you or someone else they like? These quick movements usually indicate a happy dog who is ready to play.
Signs of an Unhappy Dog
Everyone gets cranky sometimes, even dogs. It’s fairly easy to spot when a dog is unhappy. Look for:
- Ears pressed back flat against their head.
- A low tail or one tucked between the legs.
- Eye avoidance or a head held low.
A dog that tries to hide behind you or another object might also be signaling he is stressed or unhappy. He could need a bit of time to himself, so don’t push further interaction until he lets you know it’s okay.
The best way to keep your pet happy is to simply provide for his physical, emotional, and intellectual needs. A healthy diet, the right amount of exercise, and lots of love and affection will ensure your dog is happy, even if he has funny ways of showing it!