12 Signs of a Happy Pup

Dogs have distinct personalities, and it’s usually not difficult to tell when your pup is happy. These signs can be easy to miss, however, so we’ve compiled a list of 12 signs that you’ll know if your dog is happy because they’ll show their emotions with ease!

1. Happy ears

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A relaxed or wagging tail isn’t the only way to know if your pup is feeling good vibes! In fact, oftentimes even just one ear being up can mean that there’s something going on in their head. If both ears are perked right up, then you know you’re in for a treat — make sure to give them some love! 

2. Asking for a tummy rub

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Who doesn’t like a good belly rub?! Even dogs who normally don’t show much expression can’t hold back when it comes to this particular kind of affection. And the ones that do show excitement are even more likely to bare their teeth in cuteness with their tongues hanging out! You’ll see lots of wagging tails, too.

3. Leg wiggles

dog with toy in mouth

Similar to the previous sign, if your pup’s entire body is wiggling around like crazy… you know something good must be happening! When a dog is happy, they’re likely to show it with their whole body by moving it about in an excited manner, whether that means running around or just turning back and forth on the spot.

4. Play bows

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Dogs are known for play-bowing to each other when they want to have some fun, so why not encourage this behavior with your pet too? A bow is a clear signal that playtime is coming up next, so be ready for some action! Tug of war time, perhaps?

5. Teeth baring and ear twitching

If your pup is feeling especially happy and decides to show you their pearly whites, don’t be offended! It’s actually a sign of friendliness — so feel free to return the gesture! 

Sometimes, when dogs are really excited they might also look like they’re angry with all those teeth showing… but the body language is still the same. If they have one ear back while doing this, chances are that they are very content with their surroundings. 

6. Running away while wagging their tail in a full-on sprint

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When a dog runs away while wagging their tail it can either mean that they’re being chased or chasing something else! It probably goes without saying, but either way, it’s a sign that they’re feeling great. 

7. Exaggerated breathing

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Sure, panting is perfectly normal behavior for dogs — especially ones who are out and about in the heat for longer periods of time. But if your pup is taking very large breaths or gasping loudly with their mouth open, then chances are they’re trying to tell you something… like they want dinner NOW.

8. They start licking you

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Licking can be a dog’s way of showing affection towards others, so if your pup starts lavishing your face with lots of licks then chances are they’re pretty pleased with you. It could also be a sign that they want some food, but if your pup is more likely to lick you than anything else, then chances are they love spending time with you!

9. They play hide and seek

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Dogs who enjoy playing games will often try to find creative ways of hiding before coming back to you again and again for a good ole’ game of “where’s dog?”

If your dog starts disappearing and reappearing and/or running away only to circle back around on you, it means that he or she wants to play! And if this happens, join in on the fun too! 

10. Cute butt shake

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Does your dog look like a cute little deer when he/she shakes his/her bum? That could mean that there is tension in the lower part of the body, which means they might feel nervous but excited about what’s going on around them. If this happens, let them know that everything is okay by giving them some pets!

11. Happy feet/paws

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If your dog is standing on two legs with stiff front paws or appears as if they have something caught under their feet… don’t worry, everything is totally fine! It’s likely that your pup wants you to scratch under his/her chin or between the paw pads.

12. Barking in the air

dog barking

If your pup is barking when they’re in the air, then chances are they’re just very pleased to see you! This usually happens when somebody returns home. If it’s you’re leaving, then be sure to give them a good goodbye pat and a treat before going out of sight!

Keep Your Pup a Happy Pup!

There are tons more signals that dogs show when they’re having a good time. While some might be pretty obvious, you can always learn new things about your dog by paying close attention to their body language!

For more on how to read your dog’s body language, check out:

How to Speak Dog by Understanding Canine Body Language