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Can You Tell When Your Dog Is Happy?

Puppies, like human babies, show their happiness spontaneously, often without visible provocation; apparently, it’s just a pure joy to be alive and they aren’t afraid to show it. Adult dogs, however, may or may not show their happiness so flamboyantly or obviously. Sometimes it is in their quietest moments where they feel calmly sublime. Their maturity seems to dictate a more staid, relaxed happiness perhaps, but nonetheless, happy they are.

Some adult dogs sort of “smile” when they are happy; it’s obvious that they are grinning to beat the band. The tail is a-waggin’ and perhaps their entire body appears to be a-waggin’. Others demonstrate their happiness by nuzzling into their loved ones, or stretching out with eyes closed on their back in a pose that says; “ahhhh.” This may be after a good meal, a satisfying run or walk, or perhaps to invite you for a tummy-scratchin’ event. The point is, their happiness may not always be apparent in their facial expressions.

Being that the ability to express emotions with their face is extremely limited for many dogs, it’s their behavior that has to be considered when determining their happiness. If you like to scratch your dog behind the ears or pet them, they may close their eyes in total rapture. If you talk to them and they stare at you intently, trying to read your tone of voice, more than likely the attention alone is making them happy. If they are adult and still playful, even by themselves, tossing or nuzzling and chasing a ball, they are happy.

Look for behavior that could be described as carefree, or something your dog does in response to attention. If he tends to run a lot, chasing balls, barking at squirrels, exhibiting exuberance, he is probably one happy pooch. If they are excited to see you come home, that is a sign of happiness. They want to share time with you and are happy you’ve reappeared. The best thing you can do for them, and you, is to pet them, hug them, and talk to them; the happiness with pour out of both of you.