Things You Didn’t Know About Dog Emotions

We all can agree that dogs can be pretty emotional beings, right? But do you know how dogs express their emotions?

We can pick up quite a few emotions just by spending time with our dog. However, dogs express much more emotion than it meets the eye.

And do you remember the last time you were wondering what’s bothering your dog? This is the perfect post for you since you will learn everything there is about dog emotions – so you can understand your dog a lot better.

Do Dogs Express Same Emotions as People?


No matter how much you love dogs – there’s one thing not many dog lovers don’t know. It’s that dogs have the same hormones as humans.

Dogs even undergo the same chemical changes humans go through in the emotional states.

But what’s most important for us, dog lovers, is that dogs do have the same hormone called oxytocin which is involved with a feeling of love and affection for others.

Now you can understand where does the saying “Dogs are men’s best friend” comes from, right?

But the question still remains – how come we aren’t able to understand dog emotions if we can feel the same things?

The answer lies in interpretation, which is exactly what we are going to cover in the next part of this article. This can also be important if you’re training your dog by yourself. Learning to understand your dog’s feelings will help you.

How Dogs Express Their Emotion – Things You Didn’t Know

Dogs express their emotion, feelings, and needs in 3 main ways:

  • Body Language
  • Vocalizations
  • Outside Cues

What’s also a very well-known fact is that dogs react to human emotions and behavior as well – so that’s something you might want to keep in the back of your mind.

Body Language


Body language is often overlooked, but it’s a subtle way of communication that dogs rely on. Therefore, you should look out for the dog’s ears, tail, body stance, and even eyes.

Frightened dogs will always tuck their tail between their legs.

On the other hand, an angry dog often will often put its ears back. This is also combined with an “in-your-face” body stance that looks pretty intimidating.

Relaxed, secure, happy, or submissive dogs will always roll on their back and expose the belly.

Not sure if your dog is hungry? Hungry dogs pace around and back & forth. Another sign is they will anxiously sit and wait next to the bowl.

How do you gain the respect of your dog and how do you know if a dog respects you? Pay attention to eye contact. Eye contact or lack of it is can be either a clear sign of submission or respect.



Not all dogs are vocal. But since dogs can’t speak – how do you interpret vocal signs of a dog?

Barking is one of the most common vocalizations, however, it can also have a wide range of meanings which makes it quite difficult to interpret. Barking, in general, can mean anything from a warning, anxiety, playtime, or an excitement reaction.

What you should pay attention to is the intensity of the barks as that can often give you clues to the meaning of dog’s vocalization.

There are also more subtle vocalizations such as whining or whimpering which occur when a dog wants to go out, yipping when they want a toy or even slight growl in anger.

Vocalizations are the hardest way to understand a dog’s emotions since each sound can have a couple of different meanings. Keep on reading to find out how to interpret the vocalizations better.

Outside Cues


Since it can be a bit hard to interpret body language and vocalization of your dog – you should always take outside cues into consideration.

Depending on the environment your dog is in and what is going on around your dog, you can get clues that will help you interpret your dog’s emotions or expressions.

Outside cues can come from another person, sound, or movement, but don’t forget that cues can come from you as well. You might not have noticed this before, but dogs react to these cues (even when they’re coming from you).

If you’re not sure how dogs express their emotions – we highly recommend paying attention to this as this could be your first clue.

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