Dogs sometimes try to communicate with us by sneezing and yawning unnecessarily. A misplaced sneeze or yawn means that your dog is uncomfortable and stressed, often around new pets or people. Believe it or not, humans do this when they feel uncomfortable too! This can get confusing because dogs also yawn when they are feeling content around you. The key is to look for misplaced yawning in unfamiliar circumstances.

Perhaps the most widely recognizable ways dogs communicate is with their tails. In addition to the joyful wagging tail, a dog’s tail can communicate a range of other emotions. For example, a slow wagging means your dog is feeling cautious, and a stiff tail held high means your dog is on alert. A low tail means your pup is feeling content, but a tucked tail means he is feeling scared. If your dog is wagging his tail vigorously enough to make his butt to wiggle (we all know what I’m talking about), he’s elated to see you!

You’ll notice your dog flicking his tongue quickly in and out of his mouth when you’re about to scold him. This means your dog knows he has done something naughty and he feels bad about it. If your dog flicks its tongue at you, this is his way of telling you that he’s sorry!

Dogs communicate in subtle ways with their faces, specifically with their eyes. Constant eye contact from your dog is his way of showing his trust and affection towards you. Think of it as an understated ‘I love you.’ Avoiding eye contact, on the other hand, is a sign that your dog is uncomfortable, scared, or cowering after doing something naughty.

In addition to face and tail movement, dogs also try to communicate using the rest of their body. If your pup rolls over and bares his belly to you, he is initiating this gesture to appease you (but a belly rub is always welcome!) Dogs also communicate with each other this way, rolling over as a sign of passive resistance to the perceived threat.