How to tell if a dog is happy (6 signs of happiness in dogs)

Here is the answer to the question "How to tell if a Dog is Happy?". In this guide you will learn the signs of an unhappy dog and how to make your dog happier.
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They say a happy dog is a healthy dog. It’s true, it’s been scientifically proven that a dog is not just an animal driven by instinct.

Although dog lives are quite simple, they have the same complex emotions and feelings as humans. They are social creatures who enjoy the company of people who have earned their trust.

If you’ve ever wondered how to tell if a dog is happy or how to make a dog happier, then you’ve come to the right place.

This quick guide will help you understand your dog’s needs and how to make your dog happier.

6 Signs Your Dog Is Happy

Dogs feel happy when they are able to express themselves, and they are engaged in something that makes them feel fulfilled.

A dog can communicate his emotions in different ways. As the owner, it is your duty to monitor these signs. 

Knowing how to read and interpret them will help you keep your dog happy and strengthen the bond between you and your furry pal. To help you better understand your dog’s emotion, how he is feeling, whether he is happy or not. 

The following are some important signs that will indicate whether your dog is happy or not.

1. Floppy Ears 

Your dog ears provide one of the best indications of his state of mind. If your pup’s ears are floppy, this is an indication that he is feeling relaxed and happy, they show stress by pinning their ears back. 

The ears will fall and rest on either side of the head. The pricked erect ears are a sign of alertness, but if the ears are pinned back, this is normally a sign of a stressed dog.

2. Enjoy Playtime

A happy dog enjoys walks and playtime, if your dog is happy, he will likely want to play and leap around. Playing “fetch is a great sign your dog is in the mood. A happy dog is more likely to want to play and go for a walk.

3. Good Appetite

A happy dog has a good appetite. Though not all dogs are insatiable, a sudden decrease in appetite could be an indication that something is wrong. On the contrary, an unexpected increase in appetite can also be a symptom of the disease. 

A happy dog has a healthy appetite

There is a difference between having a healthy appetite and insatiable eating habits.

4. Non-destructive Behavior 

A happy dog doesn’t usually act destructively since they have enough physical and mental stimulation. 

If your dog destroys your furniture and chews up your favorite pair of shoes when you leave the house, then something is wrong. 

Destructive behavior in dogs is usually a sign of unhappiness and boredom

Another common cause of destructive behavior is separation anxiety. A happy dog will show non-destructive behavior.

5. Happy Barks

Perhaps this is the easiest way to tell if your dog is happy. Not all barks are meant to warn, dogs also have happy barks. 

This is usually high-pitched and lasts for a short time. A happy bark also resembles an attention-seeking bark.

6. Belly Up 

If your dog goes belly up at your feet when you get home, he may be doing so to show you how happy he is to see you home. 

Many owners confuse this sign of happiness for submission. 

Your dog is happy when he wiggles and shows his tongue and belly up. 

5 Signs Your Dog Is Unhappy

Like humans, dogs can become unhappy for many reasons. Either they have experienced something tragic or they are upset about the change in their routine, or they are just unhappy. 

Just like the case of a happy dog, if you know what to look out for, it can be easy to spot an unhappy dog from their body language. 

So, the following are the signs that your dog is unhappy.

1. Destructive Behavior

Your dog’s destructive behavior can be a result of stress or unhappiness. Unfortunately, stress is so common in dogs that they will begin to show destructive behavior to get attention. 

Your dog may start digging in the wrong place or chewing on the wrong things. 

If your dog has become destructive apparently out of nowhere, it’s time to talk to your vet about possible depression.

2. Lack of Appetite

Loss of interest in eating can be an indication of unhappy dogs. If your dog loses interest in eating and refuses to eat, this can be a red flag that you cannot ignore. 

Take your dog to the vet, but don’t rule out emotional distress. Unhappiness can lead to a lack of appetite. Your dog may be looking for more love and attention in his life.

Is your dog a picky eater? Read this article.

3. Hide and Wander

Although a thunderstorm can make your dog run for cover, if suddenly your dog is nowhere to be found for most of the day, don’t be shocked if your vet diagnoses him as depressed. Hiding is another indication of an unhappy dog.

4. Refuse to Go for a Walk

Your dog might not jump up and down or run to the door when you are ready to go for a walk. This is because unhappy dogs have a generally decreased sense of happiness and excitement, this might show in their refusal to play or go for walks.

5. Aggressive Tendencies

This can be a sign of many problems in dogs, but the biggest cause of dog aggression could simply be depression.

If your dog is naturally cool and suddenly starts barking, biting, or growling at anything that comes his way, this could be a sign that he is unhappy.

If your dog suddenly displays some signs of aggression, it is worth contacting your vet as soon as possible.

7 Ways to Make Your Dog Happier 

They say a happy dog makes a great companion. Having a happy dog doesn’t only strengthen the bond you have with your dog. But it can also be beneficial to both of you. 

So, the following are the ways you can help make your dog happy.

1. Have Special Playtime With Your Dog

Dogs enjoy their own recreational treat. Just like humans, they like to play, having fun with your furry pal will not only help the understanding and rapport you both have, but it will also benefit your dog mentally and physically. 

It all depends on the kind of breed you own and what you play. However, find out what games and activities you both enjoy and make time to share and have fun.

2. Teach Your Dog Some Fun New Tricks

Dog training is not only about teaching your dog to stay, sit, and lay down. Teach your dog fun new tricks such as weaving in between your legs.

Other fun tricks you can teach your dog include: Go to bed, spin, bow, and clean your toys. 

3. Socialize Your Dog 

Dogs are social animals, regular play with other dogs and humans is important to your dog’s happiness and well-being. 

Mixing with other dogs is a happy experience for most dogs. 

If you want to make your dog happy, you can plan play dates for your dog by taking him to a dog park or doggie daycare where he can socialize with others of his kind.

4. Have Some Cuddling Time With Your Dog 

Dogs like to be cuddled; this has a lot of psychological benefits for you and your dog. Cuddling your dog makes him happy and creates a bond between you and your dog. 

So, if you want to make your furry friend happy, spend some cuddling time with him. 

According to research, when you cuddle your dog, it shows an increase in oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a chemical that stimulates feelings of happiness and love.

5. Massage Your Dog

Dogs love massages just like humans, massaging your dog gives you another opportunity to bond and connect with him. 

If you want to make your dog happy, give him a body massage, this is a great way to help him relax at the end of the day. 

Massage is also ideal for dogs with arthritis because it eases sore muscles and lowers blood pressure.

6. Invest in a Few Good Chew Toys

Dogs enjoy chewing and having a few good chew toys can keep your furry pal entertained during downtime. 

Toys are important to your dog’s happiness, to make your dog happy, give him new chew toys. It is a great way to make your furry pal happy. 

If your dog has an old chew toy that is one of his favorites, that’s okay, stick with it. But, giving your dog a new toy every now and then is a great way to make him happy.

7. Take Your Dog Out for a Treat

First of all, dogs love treats as they are specifically made to appeal to their sense of taste and smell. Most pet stores have a menu for dogs.

Therefore, if you want to make your dog happy, you can try taking him out for a treat.

Sprinkles Cupcakes have special doggie cupcakes for dogs and Starbucks also offers puppuccino for dogs. Most pet stores offer a large number of dog-friendly foods to choose from.


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Dogs don’t hide their emotions, Just like humans, they can show their emotions through the way they handle their bodies. 

As a dog owner, you need to pay special attention to your dog’s body language and what it tells you. 

I hope you enjoyed this article on how to make your dog happy and that you are now able to understand when your dog is happy and when he is unhappy.

Happiness is one of the easiest dog emotions to spot, and it’s definitely a favorite expression for your dogs.

I hope I have been helpful, and I wish you many moments of joy and satisfaction in the company of your beloved dog.

If you liked this article don’t forget to share it with your friends.  

Until next time!

A big hug.

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Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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