7 Surprising Ways to Tell That Your Dog is Truly Happy

how to tell if a dog is happy

We all want to know that we are doing the best for our dog, so recognizing the different forms of body language a dog displays when they are happy is the best way to ensure we understand our dog’s needs and are doing the right thing for them. This post will help you on how to tell if a dog is happy.

Making Eye Contact

Dogs will focus on things that they like and are interested in. If they are intimidated or scared of something, they won’t want to look at it, much the same as a person may cover their eyes if they were to see something scary!

Regular eye contact with your dog is a sign that they love and trust you, so hold their gaze from time to time, to show that you love and respect them too.

Snuggling in Your Stuff

As a dog’s sense of smell is so acute, they use scent to communicate feelings of love and attachment. Dogs who are happy and well-attached to their owners often enjoy snuggling up to the scent of their owner too. This goes a long way in explaining why you may often find your beloved pooch nestling in dirty laundry or chewing on old shoes.

However, if you are concerned that you spend too much time away from your dog, and you often find them hoarding your dirty clothes, they may be experiencing separation anxiety from spending too much time alone.

They Listen to You

If your dog responds to you when you call, it is a strong sign that they are happy and secure. If your dog obeys your commands, and listens when you speak, it shows that they have a strong bond with you.

It’s important that your dog listens to you, so that you can keep them safe in potentially dangerous situations. A great way to start practicing this at home is to call your dog, and when they do come to you, make a big deal out of it, heaping lots of praise on them and offering them a treat. Basic obedience classes are a great way to strengthen your bond if you are having a little trouble establishing this on your own.

Play-time Pup

A happy dog regularly displays playful behavior. Playful behavior may be shown as jumping and leaping about. Some dogs may also bow to you by stretching out their front legs, receiving a bow from a dog is sure sign they are happy with you and in a good mood.

A playful pup may also lean into you, enjoying any attention you give them. It’s also a great sign if your dog pushes into your hand when you go to pet them, or rolls onto their back for you to tickle their tummy.

How to tell if a dog is happy: They are wagging their tail

The most common misinterpretation of dog behavior is the myth that a wagging tail is always associated with a happy and friendly dog. While some tail wags do mean a dog is happy, other times it can mean a dog is feeling fearful or insecure.

Read more about 5 mistakes people make when reading dog body language .

The wagging tail of a dog serves a similar function as a human smile, it is a social signal that can be used in conjunction with other body parts to convey approval or disapproval of something. 

Floppy Ears

When a dog is feeling relaxed and happy, their ears will be relaxed and floppy. A dog that is feeling scared and unhappy will flatten their ears against their head, and a dog that is tense will prick their ears to listen out for anything that could alert them to danger. 

Regular Check-ins

Dogs who are happy and secure in the bond they share with their owner will often seek them out. This also includes when you are out and about with your dog.

They may still pull on their leash when they get excited on walks, but they will frequently turn back to you, making regular eye contact and brushing up against you.

A happy, well-bonded dog is much less likely to run away from their owner, and those well-bonded dogs that do make a break for it, will quickly respond to a call for them to return.

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