Sometimes you wish your dog could talk… that would be a lot easier. Then you can ask him if dog is happy, and he or she can tell you when something is wrong. Fortunately, you can clearly see from a number of signals whether your dog is feeling good or not.
Can you check off most of the signals from this list? Then your dog will be fine.
How do you know if your dog is happy?
- He greets you when you get home If your dog greets you with enthusiasm when you get home – even if you’ve been gone for hours or just ten minutes – chances are he’s happy to see you. Does your dog not look up or around when you enter, when he always did before? Then there may be something wrong.
- You can tickle his stomach. If dogs turn on their back and show their bellies, that’s a sign they trust you. This is a vulnerable position that they would never assume in threatening situations unless they want to show that they are submissive.
- He behaves (usually). Dogs have personalities of their own and can get in a nasty mood every now and then, but happy dogs will generally be well behaved. Dogs who break furniture or urinate on the floor are likely to be scared, have separation anxiety, or feel uncomfortable about themselves.
- He falls asleep with you. If your dog falls asleep against you or on your lap, this is also a sign that he is comfortable and trusting you completely. Dogs also lie against each other in packs, because this feels safe.
- He’s leaning on you. There is nothing cuter than when your dog leans against you when he or she is sitting with you. It’s a clear sign that the animal likes your proximity and wants to cuddle you.
- He is often in the ‘playing position’. Dogs who are happy and in the mood for a game often take a certain attitude. Their upper body is leaning on the ground, while their lower body is raised. Their tail is erect and wags, their ears are forward and they stare straight at you. This is a clear invitation to come and play.
- He eats well. A dog that enthusiastically plunges into his food bowl is often healthy, happy and content. If he refuses to eat or eats less than usual, this is often a sign that something is up.
- He tilts his head. If your dog tilts his head while you are talking to him, he is trying to indicate that he is listening and cares about what you have to say. Dogs don’t always understand what you’re saying, but their slanted faces indicate that they want to at least try.
- His belt makes him happy. Does your dog jump around with enthusiasm when you pull out his leash? Then he is probably comfortable in his own skin and wants to go out. An insecure dog may not be thrilled with the idea of the big, scary outside world.
- He gets ‘the zoomies'. Dogs can sometimes be so overflowing with joy and enthusiasm that somehow that energy has to be released. They may then get ‘the zoomies’: a kind of attack in which they run around your house or the garden. The open mouth, wagging tail and barking are all things that your dog wants to show his joy with.