How To Better Understand Your Dog Or Cat


When it comes to our pets, communication can be difficult since they can’t speak our languge. Learning your dog or cat’s body language will help you understand what they are thinking and how they are feeling depending on the situation. It’s all about reading their facial expressions and body movement.

We’ve got some insight to help you interpret your dog or cat’s body language to better understand what your pet may be trying to communicate to you.

How Your Dog Communicates

Your dog’s bark or howl may give you an idea as to how he is feeling, but his vocal cues aren’t everything.

If your dog is content, he will maintain a loose stance with his tail down, ears up, mouth open slightly with the tongue exposed, and his head held high. In environments where dogs feel comfortable or unthreatened, their body language will be more relaxed and they will be more approachable. Look for these key points to make sure Fido is comfortable in any situation.

There may be times when your dog’s ears are forward and will have wide eyes, a horizontal tail, and a closed mouth. Your dog’s stance may lean forward slightly while standing on his toes.

Body language like this indicates that your dog is alert or interested in checking something out. Pay attention when your dog becomes alert, because he is likely assessing a situation to determine if there is a threat.

If there is a threat, your dog’s body language will reflect a stiff tail, raised hackles, nose wrinkled, and lips curled back to expose teeth. Your dog is expressing social dominance and will act aggressively if challenged.

If your dog is stressed, fearful or worried, his tail and body will be lowered closer to the ground, and his ears will be back flat against his head. His pupils will be dilated and he will only make brief or indirect contact with his eyes.

We all love it when our dog wants to play — he will let you know upfront that he wants to engage in some fun behavior with you or another animal. Your dog’s bottom will be in the air with a tall tail, his front legs low to the ground by bent forepaws, with ears up and mouth open. This position may be held briefly before he breaks into a spontaneous run around your house or yard. If you see your dog exhibiting this body language, be prepared for a playful pup.

How Your Cat Communicates

Just like dogs, cats vocalize. They can meow, howl, growl and even chirp like a bird. Your fuzzy feline can let off subtle cues when she is distressed or anxious, and these signs are often misinterpreted. If you miss your cat’s communication signs altogether, this can lead to stress and conflict. You may think your cat is just being temperamental or moody, when she is actually panicking.

Your cat’s tail and how it is positioned can really help you understand how she is feeling. If her tail hangs loosely as she is lounging, this means she is content, but if her tail hangs low as she walks, then she is feeling aggressive. However, walking with her tail high in the air with a slight curl means she is happy.

Is your cat’s tail twitching, wagging or swooshing slightly? This means something has caught your cat’s interest. Fast and forceful movement of your cat’s tail means that she is agitated.

But a cat’s tail is not the only indicator to how your cat might be feeling. If her ears are forward and to the side slightly, then your cat is relaxed, but if they are forward completely, then something has caught your cat’s interest. Ears that are twitching fast are indicative that your cat is nervous or feeling uncertain about something.

Pay attention to your cat’s posture in certain situations as well. The way she holds herself, along with other indicators such as ears, tail and eyes, will help you learn what she is trying to tell you.

Learning your furry companion’s body language will open up a variety of channels for communication, and you both will be much happier.