You may have noticed times when your dog doesn't seem to be in the mood. Other times when it's pretty obvious she's mad at you. But what they say about dogs is that they never play hard to get.
Dogs are always ready to communicate their feelings especially when they are happy. We know that dogs do not speak, yet they communicate effectively. Their mode of communication is almost completely through body language. It's important though, that you recognize these signs and you're able to differentiate signs of happiness from affection and other ways they feel.
Non-verbal communication is not new to you. Your tone, facial expressions, and body language constitute 70 percent of the effective communication you make every day. Hence, you should be able to understand your dog's communication easily right? Wrong! Thanks to domestication, dog behaviors have adapted to their environment with you. Not until you pay attention to her reaction, routine and study an article like this one, you may just be making wrong guesses.
The most important aspect of dog communication to most dog parents is how they can be sure that their dogs are truly happy. These animals make us happy and do a lot of other things for us and in turn, we want to appreciate that. For this reason, it's quite important that we can tell whether they are in a happy state or not.
Fortunately, happiness is quite easy to read when compared to other emotions.
Some general signs of happiness that dogs show are explained below. Some are behavioral, others are postural.
Behavioral signs of happiness
1. She wants your attention
When your dog is in a happy state, she'd always want to be around you. Happy dogs love to please their owners even to a fault. You'd find her leaning on you, coming to you several times to stroke her. It will be quite obvious that she likes you being around.
One special thing dogs do when they’re happy is to give you a big welcome whenever you're out for a while like after work in the evenings. It's almost as if the longer the time you spend away, the bigger the welcome.
You may notice that she always anticipates your return at the time you always do. You may find her waiting right at the door for you and leaping on you in excitement the moment she sees you.
This is a clear sign that you both have a good relationship going on and that she's happy about it.
2. She's not destructive
A dog that is happy tends to mind her manners. Happy dogs are better-behaved than those that are stressed or anxious. Destructive behavior such as tearing and snarling is usually a result of very little mental stimulation or separation for a long time.
Conversely, good behavior is a sign that your dog has a happy life and his having a good time with you. Instead of chewing on furniture, she uses her toys instead.
3. She enjoys playing
You can think of a dog as a two-year-old human child. Just like a child is giggles and expresses joy when he's playing, a happy dog will invite you to play when she's feeling energetic. It will be quite obvious because they will enjoy their walks and training with you and will be ready to go on even when you're tired.
4. She's very active
A proactive dog is a happy dog. When you notice your dog lying around all the time like a cat, your best bet is that something is up, she may be sick.
Dogs like activity, running around, chasing after stuff, playing with other dogs and toys, chewing and just exploring things. That's a happy dog.
5. She feeds well
If you have a group of dogs and one seems to be uninterested in eating, you don't need a vet to tell you something is up. Anything that disturbs your dog's happiness may disturb her eating pattern. Maybe her best human friend hasn't been around for a while and she's feeling lonely or you just lost another dog, she knows and is unhappy about it.
Sometimes, dogs just like humans have increased appetite when they're not happy.
6. A happy dog cuddles around you on the couch
Dogs are very social and you see this in their relationship with you. If your dog is happy and likes you, it'd find itself coming up to you whenever you're sited or laying down to relax beside you.
7. Sleeps soundly
A sign of happiness can be seen in whether or not your dog sleeps well. An unhappy dog tends to pace and stand up to change position frequently while sleeping. When it seems like she always has good dreams while sleeping, then she's most likely happy that you're her owner.
Non-behavioral or postural signs of happiness
8. Relaxed eyes and soft gaze
If you've handled dogs, you will be conversant with their facial expressions. An angry gaze at a stranger is always different from a soft gaze at the person to which they're bonded to.
Pay a little more attention to your dog's eyes while she's doing different activities. You may start seeing that even during normal events her eyes don't always look the same.
When you look straight on at a dog, it is tended to get a feeling of confrontation. However, it's different from someone that makes them happy; they usually return your look with a soft gaze.
A soft gaze has relaxed eyes, has a normal shape, may feel as though it's closing up a little and is a sign of contentment. Your dog is saying she's relaxed around you; you're someone she's happy to be with.
9. Relaxed mouth
An animal that kills with its teeth also carries its young with its teeth. The mouth tells a lot. It's easy to recognize angry dogs from their mouth, exposed teeth, and aggressive smiles.
A happy dog will have its mouth closed softly, or at most slightly open in a gentle manner. It may seem like they are giving you a smile, showing off a few teeth while holding out its tongue.
10. Relaxed ears
Not tensed, not cocky or flattened against its head. Relaxed ears show contentment too. The ears give the most valuable information about alertness. An upright and pricked ear tells you your dog is listening closely to something.
11. Relaxed body
When your dog is feeling happy, her body will not be stiff; rather it'd be kind of moist. She'd give a posture that shows she's not tensed when she's around you.
12. She blinks regularly
When a happy dog looks at you, she will blink more times than she normally would. Usually, this is a sign that they want something.
13. She rolls over to show her belly
Only happy dogs have the time to play with you with their bellies.
14. She gives you an invitation to come to play with her
The bow posture where her chest is placed lowered to the ground with their backside in the air is an invitation to come and have some fun with her. A happy dog does this from time to time.
15. She tilts her head gently when she's looking at you
Both ears down, eyes focused on you, continuous blinking, wagging tail, and then that inquisitive head tilt that happens every 7 seconds are signs of happiness.
There are other signs of happiness that are unique to individual dogs. Rapid tail wagging is probably the most popularly known sign of a happy dog but it could also mean something else. Take care of your dog as you should. Provide physical and emotional support and also pay attention to her needs at specific times to keep her happy all the time.