Signs your dog is showing you they’re stressed

One of the hard things about our relationships with our pets is that when something is wrong, they can’t easily communicate that to us. There are more than 30 ways that dogs behave to avoid stressful situations and try to calm themselves. When pups exhibit these behaviours, they’re trying to diffuse the situation or tell you or another dog that they aren’t a threat.

If you think your pooch might be stressed here’s a few signs to help understand them better:


Dogs often yawn as a calming signal. It’s their way of saying, ‘I’ve had enough and my patience is running out’. However, if you yawn first and your dog copy-cats, it could just mean he feels close to you. Yawns are contagious, after all!

Licking lips

Behaviourists refer to dog lip licking as an “appeasement gesture”. This is a behaviour that acts as a calming signal when they feel stressed or uncomfortable. Your pooch may be licking their lips to tell you that they are worried.


Dogs may open their mouth when they are happy and relaxed, however this can also be a sign of pain, stress, or fear. If that is the case, they may pull back the muscles of their lips to expose clenched teeth as far back as the molars, looking like a forced smile.

Tucked tail

A tucked tail could mean your dog lacks confidence or is scared. How tightly the tail is tucked might indicate just how anxious or frightened your dog is. Try to remove the source of fear or move your dog away from it.

Understanding our pets body language cues is essential to effectively communicating with our companions. To speak dog, learn to read their physical cues.

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