Best friend? That is what dogs are known for, that and unconditional love. Because they are there for us, does it mean they are happy? Most of us have seen dogs who are loyal and love their master but don’t seem very happy. Is it because they don’t know any different or they know who feeds them?
Let’s look at 12 signs your dog is happy
1. Puppy-Dog Eyes. We’ve heard the express “Puppy-Dog Eyes” as a sign of affection, but that is one way to tell if your dog is happy too. Happy dogs have relaxed eyes and eyelids and they blink often with a soft gaze. Narrowed eyes and a hard gaze can indicate aggression, similarly with a person, a sign of distrust. Just like a person, wide eyes particularly if they have whites showing, could mean the dog is frightened.
2. A Relaxed Body. Just like humans, when the dog is happy, the body will be relaxed, no matter what he is doing, running, walking, sitting or laying. Look at the muscles, are they relaxed or tense? A happy dog will have their weight is evenly distributed and will be relaxed. This will be the case when your dog is bouncing wildly, running or just playing with you.
If your dog is showing signs of physical stress there may be something seriously wrong and you should take action. It is possible that the dog feels some discomfort that makes him feel unhappy or he feels some sort of pain. Pay attention and try to see what might be the problem.
3. Relaxed Mouth. Happy dogs sometimes seem to be smiling. The mouth is open, and while some teeth may be visible, the animal is not baring them or curling back their lips in an aggressive manner.
Open mouth panting should not be confused with smiling, this could be a sign the dog is stressed or overheated. In this case the dog is not happy. As with any body language analysis, look at the other signs too. Some dogs may feel hot because of the temperature but they can be really active, they wiggle their tails and will invite you to play with them. In this case the dog is happy.
4. Play With Me. Happy dogs like playtime and going for a ride or a walk. All dogs, as do people slow down with age, if your dog seems unusually quiet or reluctant to engage in play, it may be a sign they’re not feeling well.
One of the quickest ways to tell whether a dog is happy is to look at the way the dog carries them self. A loose, soft, wiggly body usually means a dog is happy and healthy.
5. At-Ease Ears Ear shapes vary from breed to breed, but in general, happy dogs wear their ears in a relaxed fashion, says Mullen. One ear may be cocked up, or both may be loose and floppy. If a dog’s ears are pinned back, it could be a sign of fear or aggression. Ears pricked forward often indicate that a dog is interested in something that is going on around them.
6. Tail Movement Happy dogs wag their tails in a fashion that involves the whole body. 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. If the tail wag is soft and loose and typically held in a more neutral position on the body, this is probably a happy dog.
7. Non-Destructive Behavior Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, as they use their mouths to explore their environments. But excessive chewing, particularly in an adult dog, could also be a sign of stress or boredom.
Happy dogs are unlikely to destroy your home or act naughty because they have enough physical and mental stimulation. Destructive behavior is typically a sign of boredom and unhappiness. Separation anxiety is another common cause of extremely destructive behavior in dogs.
8. They Want A Belly Rub. You surely saw many dogs that come to you and then drop on their backs or on their sides, waiting for a good belly rub. This is a clear sign that the dog is happy and really comfortable with you. At the same time, it is a sign that the dog really trusts you since the area is sensitive and they will not let just anyone touch it.
Whenever you see this behavior, do reward the dog with a really good belly rub! This actually makes the dog even happier. Surely this is not a bad thing, right?
One thing that you might not know about dogs is that they are happy when they initiate physical contact. You will often see them with the muzzle on your lap or throwing a playful bump once in a while. The dog that avoids touching you is a dog that is not happy and you want to know why. The next time you see the dog bumping into you, it is a sign that he loves you and that he wants to be near you, this is a sign of a happy dog.
A wriggling dog showing you her belly and tongue is likely a very happy dog. If the belly-baring pup appears stiff and they keep their mouth shut, they could be showing submission instead of satisfaction.
9. Quiet Time This is something that many dog owners do not know. Content and happy dogs can show you that they feel good by simply staying close to you, with the head on the lap or with the body really close to yours. In this case we are talking about a relaxed happiness state. It proves the fact that the dog is very happy to be in your company.
Every dog will act differently. It is important for the owner to stay close to the dog and actually learn his behavior. After a while it will be instantly visible if the dog is happy or not. You will just have to look at the dog and you know his state of mind.
10. Happy Dogs Eat. The happy dog will want to eat and will eat. There are some dogs that will be picky and will not want to eat some things but generally speaking, the dog that is happy will eat without any problems. When you see that the dog stops eating, there are different problems that may exist.
It is possible that the dog has a medical problem. This is something that the vet has to take a look at. In other cases the big problem is that the dog is lonely or misses someone. There are so many reports of dogs literally starving themselves as they miss their owners.
If you see that the dog is no longer eating regularly and there is no medical condition, you want to take some steps to make him happier. You might need to take him out more or you simply have to show more affection. This does vary from dog to dog but there are always some activities that you know the dog loves. Try to do them more often and see if he starts eating well again. You just made the dog happy.
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. Conversely, an unexpected increase in appetite can also be a symptom of disease.
11. Good Sleep When the time comes for the dog to sleep, does he actually do it? Is he sleeping well or does he keep waking up or shaking during sleep? These are the type of questions you want to ask yourself. You can figure out if the dog is happy or not by simply watching him sleep.
The happy dog will go to his sleeping spot or will pick a spot and will then simply go to sleep. He is relaxed so he has no problems in sleeping well. A dog that is too stressed and not happy will keep changing sleeping spots, will fall asleep, wake up and then repeat the process. That happens as relaxation is simply not there. It is impossible for the dog to get that deep sleep he needs.
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.
Healthy, happy adult dogs usually sleep for up to 16 hours per day. If your dog isn’t sleeping that much, it could be a sign of distress.
12. Excited to See You Happy dogs greet you at the door, get excited when you wake up, and keep an eye on you when they’re playing in the dog park…unless their best canine friends are demanding all their attention.
Rear’s Up A dog is telling you they are up for fun when they play bow. In a play bow, a dog lowers their chest to the ground but keeps their rear in the air. It’s a sign that a dog is inviting play and wants to interact.
The really happy dog will not show their happiness just through eyes or invitations to play. Their entire body will tell you that there is emotion and that they are happy. This is, most likely, the easiest way to see if the dog is happy because it is quite obvious.
Learning as much as much as possible about your dog is a necessity when you decide to take on the responsibility of a dog. They will offer unconditional love but it is up to you to make them as happy as possible. Knowing the signs that your dog is happy can avoid the unwanted situation in which the pet is depressed which can lead to sickness and many other problems.
The good news is it is not difficult to figure out if your dog is happy or not. In most cases everything revolves around paying attention to how they act and analyzing some body parts. Every dog owner should know about these 12 signs that your dog is happy.