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  • Writer's pictureChew Sean Thong

Dog Language: How to Decode Them!

Source: My Pet Matters

Welcome to a delightful guide on deciphering your furry friend's language! Dogs are absolutely paw-some creatures, and as devoted pet owners, we'd give anything to truly understand and connect with them. 🦮

In this article, we'll explore five insightful points about dog language that will help you gain a better understanding of your beloved canine companion's behavior and emotions.❣️So grab your pup, tune into their unique "woof-woof" dictionary and let the tail-wagging adventures begin!

1. Tail wagging isn't always a sign of happiness

Ah, the famous tail wag! While we humans tend to associate it with sheer joy, tail wagging can actually express a wide range of emotions like fear, anxiety, and even aggression.

Fascinatingly, a study conducted by Dr. Juliane Kaminski from the University of Portsmouth revealed that the direction of tail wagging matters! When dogs wag their tails more to the right, it usually indicates happiness, whilst wagging more to the left can signal anxiety. So, be sure to pay attention to other body language cues like ear position and mouth shape to better comprehend your furry friend's feelings. 🐶

2. Yawning isn't always a sign of tiredness

Yawning in dogs is a fascinating behavior that extends far beyond a simple sign of sleepiness. 😴 It actually serves as a versatile form of communication that allows our furry friends to convey various messages to both humans and other doggos!

When a dog becomes overwhelmed or overstimulated during a rambunctious play session, they may let out a yawn to express their need for a break or to regulate the intensity! That’s kind of like their way of saying: "I'm getting a bit too excited, and I need to calm down." As a responsible pet owner, it's crucial to recognize these cues and provide your dog with the necessary space and time to unwind and recharge. By allowing them to take breaks and offering calmer activities, your doggo can avoid overexertion and maintain a positive play experience~

Not only are these yawns an adorable way of communication, but they also come with some paw-some physiological benefits. 💗 Yawning helps keep their furry bodies temperature-balanced, which ensures they get a fresh burst of oxygen and boosts blood flow to their furry little brains. It's like a refreshing stretch that keeps them feeling their best and helps ease any puppy stress they might be experiencing!

3. Raised hackles don't always mean aggression

When your furry friend's hackles stand tall like a fluffy mountain range, it's not always a fierce warning. Sometimes, it's just a sign that they're feeling extra excited and full of wiggly joy! It's like their fluffy fur is doing a happy dance, saying, "Look at me, I'm so thrilled!"

But wait, there's more! Our lovable doggos can also raise their hackles when they're feeling a bit scared or anxious. Picture them with their fluffy fur standing tall, almost like a cozy protective blanket. 🐩 It's their way of saying, "I'm feeling a little nervous, and I need some reassurance." In those moments, offer them gentle comfort and create a safe space where they can feel secure and loved. 💟

4. Eye contact is essential in dog language

Oh, the magic of eye contact with our precious pooches! Their expressive, puppy-dog eyes (literally) have the power to melt our hearts and turn us all into cuddle bugs. 🤗 But here's a secret: eye contact in dog language is more than just a soulful stare — it's a delightful form of communication between you and your furry friend!

When your pup gazes at you with those big, innocent eyes, it can mean a world of things. A lingering, intense gaze might be their way of seeking reassurance and letting you know that they trust you to keep them safe.❣️Meanwhile, when your furkid gives you a relaxed stare, it can mean they’re letting you know that they adore you just as much as you do them.

Additionally, science has uncovered another heartwarming reason on why our furry pals maintain eye contact: it's all about bonding! When this happens, a special brain chemical called oxytocin gets released, and here's the best part — it's the very same chemical responsible for that incredible parent-child bond we all adore! Some scientists even speculate that this oxytocin bonding magic played a paw-some role in the domestication of our canine companions. 🫢 So, next time you lock eyes with your furry friend, remember that you're not just sharing a gaze, but a fluffy bond that makes your lives together even more woof-tastic!

5.Listen to Vocalizations

When it comes to expressing their emotions, our furry pals have quite the vocal repertoire! Their barks, whines and adorable growls are like a language all their own. So, let's dive into this symphony of cuteness to better understand their minds~

For a starters, a bark is often a versatile means of expression for our furry friends. A sharp, short bark often indicates excitement or a playful invitation to a session of fetch! On the other hand, a prolonged or continuous bark can signify alertness or a warning signal, indicating the presence of a potential threat. 🚩

Meanwhile, when your furry pal releases a whine, it usually means that they want some attention. 🥰 Additionally, whining can also indicate discomfort or a desire for something, such as food, water, or even a bathroom break. 🚽 By paying attention to the context and accompanying body language, we will be able to decipher the meaning behind their little yips.

But what about those growls? When your furry companion lets out a low rumble, it's not always a sign of aggression. It's their unique way of communicating their boundaries and saying, "I need my space, please respect that." Their growls are like a protective harmony, reminding us to approach with care. Give them the understanding they deserve and allow them to have their peaceful moments. – we all need some personal space, after all!

Oh, and here's an interesting tidbit: the pitch and volume of their barks can add another layer to their canine chorus. Just like different musical notes, the highs and lows of their barks carry different meanings. A high-pitched bark might indicate excitement or a need for attention, while a deeper bark might convey a more serious tone. So, listen closely to the variations in their vocalizations and let their melodious language guide you in understanding their emotions. 🐶


- Kaminski, J., et al. "Asymmetric tail-wagging responses by dogs to different emotive stimuli." Current Biology 23, no. 22 (2013): 2279-2282.

- Bradshaw, John W. S. Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet. Basic Books, 2011.


Thanks for reading this far! We hope that this list was helpful to all pawrents looking to better understand their puppers so that they can live a happy life~ You can save this article for future reference and share it with fellow doggo owners 🐕

If there are more that we should include or any updates, hit us up at our Instagram or email us at

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