“Personally, I have always felt that the best doctor in the world is the Veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter…he’s just got to know.” – Will Rogers

We may not be able to speak to dogs at Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic but we do speak dog,” if that makes sense. Today, we’re here to help you do the same! Animals use body language to communicate, and as a dedicated pet owner, it’s good for you to know what they’re trying to tell you.

While all dogs are different, there are a few common ways our dogs communicate how they’re feeling.

Calm and neutral

  • Relaxed body posture; no tension
  • Relaxed tail, possibly wagging
  • Possibly panting happily

A calm, neutral dog is typically ready for you to greet and pet him.



  • Leaning forward
  • Ears are forward
  • Mouth might be closed

An alert dog could be curious or interested in what’s going on around him.



  • Standing up tall and leaning forward
  • Tail held high

A dominant dog is showing another dog that he’s in charge.



  • Stiff posture
  • Tail moves back and forth, like a flag
  • Might show teeth and/or growl

Don’t run away from an aggressive dog. Stand tall and still and look away.


Anxious or nervous

  • Ears are back
  • Tail is low, but the end might be wagging slightly
  • Posture is leaned back or turned to the side
  • Might be panting

A dog showing signs of anxiety is nervous about his surroundings and you should avoid petting him if you don’t know him.



  • Flattened ears
  • Tucked tail
  • Crouching lower to the ground

A scared dog should not be approached because he might bite if he feels the need to defend himself.



  • Laying on his back
  • Paws and tail tucked in

This position is most common when two dogs interact. One dog is telling the other he “gives up.” Abused dogs will sometimes display this behavior toward humans.



  • Might “bow down” with tail in the air and wagging and front legs and chest on the ground
  • Might be panting or barking

This dog is ready for you to chase him or throw the ball for him.



  • Forward ears
  • Tail wagging quickly
  • Alert and ready to pounce
  • Likely panting

Sometimes, overly excited dogs can inadvertently scratch, jump up, or knock someone down in their excitement.

If your dog is having behavioural issues, please be sure to contact us so that we can assist and make sure the problem does not pertain to their health.

Have questions? Need to make an appointment?

The Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic team is here to help!