I think we all agree that there is nothing better than the companionship of a dog. We cannot learn how to speak dog, but we can learn to understand behaviors and body language signals that our dog is happy and content. 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.
Those Puppy-Dog Eyes. If your dog gazes softly, has relaxed eyes and eyelids, and they blink often, you have a “Happy Dog.”
Relaxed Ears and Leaning in. While ear shapes vary from breed to breed, in general, “Happy Dog” ears are in relaxed fashion. One ear may be cocked up, or both may be loose and floppy. If your dog leans into your hand or body, it’s a great sign she’s enjoying the contact.
Relaxed Mouth. Did you ever see a dog appear to smile or just sit quietly with his mouth open, tongue hanging out? That is a “Happy Dog.”
Tail Movement and Carriage. The whole-body tail wag is a happy “Happy Dog.” A stiff wag that does not shake her body is telling you she is on alert and assessing a new situation.
Non-Destructive Behavior. Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. “Happy Dogs” are unlikely to destroy your home or act naughty, because they have enough physical and mental stimulation.
Playtime and Healthy Appetite. “Happy Dogs” enjoy walks and playtime and have good appetites. While not every dog is ravenous, a sudden drop in appetite and reluctance to walk or play could be a sign something is wrong. To make sure everything is okay, check with your vet.
Dancing and Happy Barks and Belly-Up. “Happy Dogs” often hop, bounce from side to side, and look like they are dancing when they see you or someone they like. “Happy Dog” bark is a higher pitch and usually for a shorter period of time. And when they wriggle on their backs showing their belly, yep, very “Happy Dog.”
Sleeping and Lolling Tongue. Healthy “Happy Dogs” usually sleep for up to 16 hours per day. While sleeping, does your dog stick out her tongue? It is because they are so relaxed, they cannot be bothered to keep it in their mouths. Now, a tongue out and heavy snoring could require a trip to the vet.
Rear Up. A dog is telling you she is up for fun when she play bows. 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.
A “Happy Dog” is nonaggressive, social, and friendly to people and pets. Come see “Happy Dogs” at our Sun Lakes March 12 event from 9 a.m. until noon in the Cottonwood Dance Room. Wear your green! Need more information? Call 480-600-2828.