How to Understand Your Dog’s Body Language

Body language is one of the ways dogs communicate with people, but do you know how to understand it?



Even if they can’t speak, dogs communicate with us in many different ways.

Abbi Prieto, Columnist

 Dogs can’t speak to humans, so they communicate with body language and facial expressions. How do you understand them though? This guide will help you understand what your dog may be telling you.

Lying Belly-Up 

They could do this for comfort, or for a belly rub, but it is also a sign of surrender. It is like they are saying “I give up,” or “ I will do what you want.” Lying belly-up is not a fighting position, so it shows that they are not going to fight against your will.

Freezing In Place

This signals that your dog is frightened. This can happen when they come across a big dog or a wild animal. They believe that if they stay still and do nothing, the enemy will either not notice them, or they will lose interest in them.

Raising One Paw

This is a sign of submission, not them wanting you to shake their paw. It is like someone bowing down to someone. It is essentially them telling you that you are the one in charge.

Pinned-Back Ears

This too is a sign of submission. It can also mean that your dog got in some trouble, and is trying to act cute to distract you.


Dogs are born blind and deaf, and get around with scent. If you see your dog doing this to another dog, they are just saying hello; they are not disrespecting the other dog’s personal space.

Sniffing Between Your Legs

This is awkward, but they are not trying to be rude. They are using this to identify you and learn more about you.

High Stiff Tail

When you see a dog looking at you with their tail high, it’s best to back away. This is a sign of them being alert and ready to attack.

Tail Tucked Between Legs

This is a sign that they are afraid or startled. It could be another dog or a loud sound scaring them.

Dogs give you these many signs to let you know how they feel, so don’t ignore them. You can actually learn a lot about your dog and better communicate with them knowing what they are trying to say.