20 Signs Your Dog is Happy Of course all animals are different, and as dogs age their activity levels and sociability may change. But the following signs indicate your dog is most likely happy, and more importantly, healthy.
Puppy-Dog Eyes Happy dogs have relaxed eyes and eyelids. They blink often and their gaze is soft
At-Ease Ears Ear shapes vary from breed to breed, but in general, happy dogs wear their ears in a relaxed fashion
Relaxed Mouth Happy dogs sometimes appear to smile, The mouth is open, and while some teeth may be visible.
Relaxed Body One of the quickest ways to tell whether a dog is happy is to look at the way the dog carries herself, says Tonya Wilhelm, dog-training specialist and author of several training books. A loose, soft, wiggly body usually means a dog is happy and healthy
Tail Movement “Happy dogs wag their tails in a manner that involves the whole body,” says Barrack. If the tail wags stiffly but doesn’t shake the rest of the body, your dog may be telling you she’s alert and assessing a new situation, she says.
Tail Carriage “When a dog is content and comfortable, his entire body is relaxed, including his tail,” says Wilhelm. “Each dog has a different relaxed tail carriage, depending on the breed.” In general, a happy dog will raise his tail.
Non-Destructive Behavior Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, as they use their mouths to explore their environments, says Barrack. But excessive chewing, particularly in an adult dog, could also be a sign of stress or boredom.
Enjoys Playtime Happy dogs enjoy playtime and walks, says Barrack. “While all dogs slow down with age, if your dog seems abnormally quiet or reluctant to engage, this may be a sign they’re not feeling well,”.
Healthy Appetite Content canines have good appetites, says Barrack. While not every dog is ravenous, she says, a sudden drop in appetite could be a sign something is wrong.
Dancing Happy dogs often hop, says Mullen. Or at least they look like they’re hopping or dancing when they see someone (or some dog) they like. The quick movements usually indicate the dog is happy and ready to play. “You’ll see a happy dog bounce from side to side, usually in excitement to see her canine or human friend,”.
Smooth Brow Dogs, like people, can express their worry with a furrowed brow, says Mullen. A wrinkle-free forehead equals a worry-free dog. Shar-Pei owners, this tip obviously doesn’t apply to you!
Lolling Tongue Ever wonder why dogs stick out their tongues when they’re sleeping? Usually it’s because they’re so relaxed they can’t be bothered to keep it in their mouths, says Wilson.
Happy Barks Happy dogs generally have a higher pitched bark than agitated pups, says Mullen. They also usually bark for a shorter period of time, she says. But don’t judge a dog by its bark alone.
Sleeping Healthy, happy adult dogs usually sleep for up to 16 hours per day, says Mullen. “If your dog isn’t sleeping that much, it could be a sign of distress,” she says.
Healthy Coat A healthy coat is a good indicator your dog is happy, says Mullen. When dogs are stressed, they shed like crazy, she says, and sometimes their skin appears to flake. Of course, skin problems can also be a sign of disease, so check with your vet, too.
Belly’s Up A wriggling dog showing you her belly and tongue is likely a very happy dog, says Mullen. However if the belly-baring pup appears stiff and keeps her mouth shut, she could be showing submission instead of satisfaction, she says.
Lean In If a dog reacts to pets by staying close and even leaning in to your hand, it’s a good sign she’s enjoying the contact, says Wilhelm. Staying just out of reach or walking away could be a sign she needs more space.
Rear’s Up A dog is telling you she’s up for fun when she play bows, says Wilhelm. In a play bow, a dog lowers her chest to the ground but keeps her rear in the air. “It's a sign that a dog is inviting play and wants to interact,” she says.
They Like Other Dogs Like people, every dog's preference for company is different. But if your pup is social at the dog park, friendly with other family pets, and not overly aggressive to new animals, these are all signs she's in a good mood.