What Does a Stressed Dog Look Like?


All of us want our four-legged friends to be happy. But how can you tell when they are unhappy? Dogs don’t have the ability to talk but can communicate their thoughts. You can observe their body language and learn so much about their anxiety and emotions, from the tips of their tails down to their large wet noses.

Dogs want a happy life. However, no matter how hard you try, they can become stressed. Just like humans, dogs can become frustrated, anxious, scared, or confused. Dogs that are stressed will be less likely to follow directions. Some stressors, such as fear, can cause them to become aggressive in an attempt to get rid of whatever is bothering.

Some dogs can take the world with them, while others may become anxious about the smallest of things. Strangers, animals and other dogs are all common stressors. Dogs may also attempt to soothe their owners and other dogs who are stressing them. You’ll learn more about their appeasement behavior by looking at their body language.

You can save your dog’s life by learning how to recognize the signs. Take your dog for a walk next time. Keep your phone close at your ear and look closely for the stress signs. Next, try to figure out why they are happening.

There are certain signs that your dog needs to take a break.


No matter how small or large their ears may be, they can tell you how they feel. If your pet’s ears stand out and point forwards, it could be a sign that they have seen something interesting. It could be a different dog, rabbit, or something more frightening. This can indicate fear or aggression. Although some dogs may try to be aggressive to get rid of things they don’t like or avoid them, they really are scared.

Did you know that dogs can be soothed by their nose-licking, panting and yawning? Your dog will start to lick their nose if they’re not running around or panting on cool days. This is a sign that something is wrong and they want to calm down. Encourage these behaviors as they are a great skill.

Chewing is a normal behavior for puppies, particularly in dogs. Chewing releases endorphins which are calming hormones. This is why chewing can get out of control when your dog is unhappy. You should make sure your dog has plenty of safe chew toys and teach them to not put anything in their mouths except their toys. Ask them to “drop” anything they don’t like and give them their favorite toy.

Wheezing and barking are the most obvious signs that your dog is having trouble with something. When they feel unsafe, some dogs will turn their heads to the side and’smile,’ drawing their lips back. You can distract your dog from his dismay by rewarding them with treats and learning.

Low growls can be a sign that your dog doesn’t like something. These signs can be a sign that your dog is unhappy with you.

Legs and body

You can use your four-legged friend’s whole body to tell what he thinks. But did you know that even simple gestures like shaking and scratching can indicate that he may be feeling stressed? These are self-soothing behaviors that can be encouraged and aided by you to help your dog get past whatever is triggering it.

You may notice other behaviors if your dog is unable to handle the stress. You might see your dog standing very tall, looking intently at the trigger and trying to figure out what it is. Your dog might also crouch down, curl up until he is nearly in a sitting position, or lay on the ground, crawling or backing away from the trigger. These are very strong behaviors, so take your dog along if you go on a walk. If they do this at home, let them retreat to a crate, the garden or another safe place.


Ah, the tail. The tail is a little sign that tells you a lot about your furry friend’s thoughts. Did you know that a happy dog doesn’t necessarily mean a wagging tail? Dogs may wag their tails when they fear that an encounter might happen. In this situation, they may also wag their tail straight up or out in front of them.

When they’re scared, their tail may curl between their legs until it touches their stomach. If your dog does this, you should intervene and remind her that she is loved.

Dog appeasement behaviours

These behaviors are not necessarily signs of stress but are something your dog will try to “appease” you if they feel you are unhappy with them. These behaviors can be very irritating if they aren’t understood.

Imagine this: You call your dog over, and they don’t answer. They come running towards you slowly and in a slow, long line. It’s just a miscommunication. Your dog can hear you saying, “Come on, we want to go home!” but not your tone of voice. Your dog knows that you aren’t impressed so they won’t run headfirst at you, which is rude in dog body language. Instead, they will slow down and approach you from a side angle to show they mean friendliness. Although it may seem frustrating, once you start speaking the same language, it can be quite sweet.

Do you think that sounds like a dog? It’s a great way to let your dog know you are happy for them to come home and to show them that you care about them.

Appeasement behaviors include not making eye contact, and the wide-eyed expressions you see when your dog opens the door to find that your slipper has been ripped to shreds. Your dog is responding to your body language and trying to prove they aren’t causing any harm, not guilt. Let’s face the truth, sometimes their big, soulful puppy dog eyes can get them out of trouble.

Appeasement is a way for dogs to communicate with each other. You may notice your dog’s companion dropping to the ground and showing his stomach if he approaches too fast or seems boisterous and bold. This is a sign they are interested in playing, but please be gentle!

How to help your dog if they are showing signs of stress

Take a walk

Ask your pet to take a break from the stress and do some basic tricks. It’s possible for your dog to refuse to eat or follow simple instructions that you know he can understand. This is sometimes known as being over-stimulated. Keep the fear away until your dog is able to perform at his normal level. They’ll soon return to their normal routines if you reward them with lots of praises and treats.

At home:

Stress at home – who doesn’t need it? Your home is your sanctuary. If your dog is having trouble sleeping, you can help him overcome his problems. A crate that has soft blankets and is secure can make a big difference. You may need to consider different training methods if your dog is sensitive to strangers or has fear of strangers.

Here’s to a stress-free lifestyle

Dog ownership is a joyous experience. You and your dog will have a happier life. You will have a lot of fun identifying signs of anxiety in your dog and helping them to overcome it.


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