How do you know if your dog is happy?

How do you know if your dog is happy?

There is no better feeling than a happy, healthy dog. But how do you know if your canine companion is really happy?

Here are some signs to look out for of a happy dog …

  • A gentle wave of the tail. Tails are great indicators of emotional state. But do not be lulled into thinking a very waggy tail is always a happy one. A dog that is simply ambling along with a soft swish to their tail is relaxed and happy. Doggy parents tend to see their dog as happy when their tail is going ten to the dozen, in many cases this is true, but if the other end of your dog is showing signs of anxiety, the tail simply is an indication the dog is in a state of arousal and in this case not a good one.

  • Triangle-shaped soft eyes with a gentle blink - their gaze will be relaxed and gentle and they will blink often. When relaxed all of your dog’s facial features soften. You can tell how relaxed your dog is by all their other facial expressions and body posture. Tension can be seen within the crease at the end of the muzzle into the cheek.


  • Relaxed floppy ears (even for a dog with pointy ears!). Floppy puppy ears are endearing and welcoming. Pinned back and flat against the head is a sign of being stressed, scared or sad.

  • A soft, partially open mouth.

  • Overall relaxed posture, with a raised head, relaxed tail, and confident stance. A tail wag that involves whole-body wiggles, or at least a relaxed body.

  • They expose their belly to you - A dog that exposes its belly to you—usually with a slightly open mouth, light panting, and wagging tail is exhibiting a sign of trust and contentment.

  • Will enjoy playtime and walks with you without getting over-excited. We all have to be relaxed and happy to play. So this is a sure sign they are pretty well adjusted. Good play calms quickly and never gets so intense that they become thoughtless.

  • A happy dog will eat well consistently. Your dog will eat all meals with enthusiasm and eat treats where ever you are. An anxious dog skips meals, especially the morning one. They will also be less than enthusiastic receiving treats in situations they find stressful. If your dog won’t take treats on a walk or in training, move environments.

  • Sleep well with or without you. Sleep always comes easily to those who are not over-stimulated with either environment, exercise and enrichment or coping with fear.

  • Happy, inquisitive, and gentle, your dog will take life in their stride.

  • Great behaviour in general.


Once you’ve answered the question is my dog happy? It will help you to know what you can do to help them be as happy as can be. Here are some actions you can take.

A happy dog is one that is able to put its trust in you, feels safe with you and in its environment. Give your dog time to rest and sleep. Time to sniff and play in nature. Be with you, rest with you, and also accept times alone.

Happy thoughtful dogs play fair, they will take natural breaks to calm emotions and keep play friendly. Many dogs have their special doggy pals and it’s lovely to see them interact in friendly banter.

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