Over time, dog owners will gradually develop an innate understanding with their pets. This communication between human and canine is near-telepathic. However, it can often happen that the signals and posture from your dog are misinterpreted. It can be a source of great annoyance for the animal.
How can we tell that a dog is content and relaxed? One clear sign is them having their mouth open (unless you’re eating, in which case the dog is demanding to be fed!). A head-up, tail-down posture with its ears raised backwards also indicates that everything is fine. Wagging tails are usually interpreted as a sign that the dog is happy. If this is accompanied by its ears being pinned back or on their sides, it’s more likely that the animal feels frightened.
It’s also well worth knowing when a dog is liable to become aggressive. This is especially important if you have not encountered it before. If the dog has its teeth bared, has its hackles up and is standing tall on its back legs, these hint at the potential for aggression. As does a tense posture, stiff tail movement or the tail being positioned between its legs. A fearful pose, where its body is lowered and its ears are pinned back, is also one of which to be wary.
Listen carefully to the dog’s barking, too. A high-pitched, drawn-out woof usually signifies that the dog is relaxed and carefree. On the other hand, a quick spate of low-pitched barks repeated frequently is a sign that the dog is in an alert state that could become aggressive.
This infographic from Greyhounds as Pets explains a wide variety of body language signals from dogs. It attempts to help people understand these signals correctly. Knowing how a dog is feeling can enable us to communicate with it more effectively.