Body Language … just what is your dog saying?

Do you know when your dog is feeling worried?

Let’s take a look at the signs your dog might show when feeling fearfull, stressed or anxious

yawning when
not sleepy

licking lips without food

cowering or backing away

ignoring or turning away


Fear signs in dogs

  • Rigid facial features, tight lip
  • Tense body posture
  • Ears back or against body
  • Panting
  • Whites of eye showing
  • Averting eyes
  • Won’t eat
  • Moving away or hiding
  • Hair on back raised

Fiddle behaviours

  • Licking lips
  • Yawning
  • Body shake
  • Sniffing
  • Mounting
  • Jumping
  • Pacing
  • Putting paw up
  • Teeth chattering
  • Hypervigilance – very aware of their environment

Signs you dog is calm & relaxed

  • Relaxed and soft face
  • Ears relaxed
  • No whites of the eyes
  • Tongue out
  • Relaxed posture
  • Relaxed wag of the tail
  • Interested in the environment and people around him/her
  • Will take treats when offered.

If you are noticing your pet showing signs of stress frequently or at times when you think they shouldn’t be worried, then these may be early signs that your pet is not coping with the situation they are in and may be due to underlying anxiety. Document when you notice these behaviours and do not hesitate to book an appointment to discuss with your vet.

Behaviour Bites with Dr Ash

Behaviour Bites

with Dr Ash Hargreaves

Hi my name is Ash and I am a vet practicing in Warrnambool in the western district of Victoria.
I am passionate about animal behaviour and the mental health of our pets.
After graduating as a vet in 2015 I completed further studies in veterinary behaviour and now provide behaviour consultations along with general practice.
You can follow me on Instagram and Fur Life Vet on Facebook via the links below and stay tuned to the website for some super articles on pet behaviour.

Best Mates

Did you know that a Best Mates Membership includes:

  • Unlimited FREE consults
  • FREE Desexing or Dental
  • FREE Vaccinations
  • DISCOUNTED professional services, nutrition and merchandise!

Plus more ...

Share This