Ever wonder what your dog is feeling and trying to convey to you? Understanding is really not as mysterious as it seems. The pug below, besides being absolutely adorable, is a clear example of relaxed versus fearful, distressed, concerned, or anxious.
The picture on top is a happy pug at ease. His mouth is open and relaxed (hence the protruding tongue), ears are neutral, and his eyes are positioned normally in the orbital socket.
In contrast, the same pug on the bottom is fearful or anxious about something. His mouth is shut tight, ears are pinned back flat against his head, and his eyes are dilated and protruding (the white around the iris is visible). It is very subtle but his head is slightly lower, compared to the top picture, indicating a slight cower.
These are all visual signals dogs use to communicate fear to another dog. Since dogs have no other way to communicate with us, these signals are meant to convey the same information.
So the next time you see a dog’s ears go back and mouth shut, give him or her space. Back up, toss a treat, or make yourself smaller and call the dog to you. OR if a particular stimulus is triggering the response, simply remove it!
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