Many pet owners who watch Pixar’s adorable film “Up” have found themselves longing that fiction would become reality. The adorable animation features a dog named Dug with a clever collar that translates his canine thoughts into English.


In reality, the closest thing we have to such a device is the TikTok-famous Bunny the Talking Dog, who allegedly uses a floor mat with buttons to talk. According to Bunny’s human family, Bunny uses her 70-word mat to convey everything from snack requests to abstract thoughts like “Where is Dad?”


If you’re like most pet owners, you have no such device available to peer into your pupper’s canine brain. But luckily, you don’t need one to understand when your dog needs you if you know a few basic things about dog communication.


Check out this guide from our veterinarians at Normandale Veterinary Hospital and be sure to bring your best friend when she needs a visit. 

Dog and Human Communication

Dogs and humans living together is a match made in heaven. And according to Veterinary Practice News, we’ve been doing it a long time – quite possibly as long as 40,000 years.


Despite not sharing a common oral language, in all that time, humans and their canine companions have developed a kind of a shared language through nonverbal communication.


Dogs regularly use all of these tools to communicate with humans:


●        Eye movement

●        Ear position

●        Tail motion

●        Tail carriage

●        Facial expressions

●        Body movement

●        Vocalizations

Understanding how to interpret these communications can help pet owners tell when their pets are healthy and happy, sad, or even sick. That’s why taking the time to learn what they mean can be crucial to caring for your pet.

Identifying Common Dog Communications

Always wanted to be a dog whisperer? Use this cheat sheet to guide you, but remember that a dog’s body language as a whole should be considered.

Ear Movements

Ears are easily the cutest way dogs share their feelings:


●        Flattened, down ears indicate submission.

●        Forward drooping ears are content ears.

●        Pinned-back ears show that a dog is upset or uncomfortable.

●        Perky ears show focus.

Mouth Signs

Have you ever been sure your dog smiled? He probably did! In 40,000 years, dogs have picked up a few things from their people friends.


Here are a few things to look for:


●        Bared teeth are bad news and likely indicate aggression and/or fear.

●        An open mouth and a hanging tongue indicate happiness.

●        Licking can indicate affection.

●        Sneezing can mean a dog is overly excited.

Tail Movements

We all love to see a waggy tail. But did you know that a wagging tail doesn’t necessarily mean a dog is in a good mood?


Look for these tail-wagging signals:


●        A straight tail indicates a tracking dog.

●        A tucked or lowered tail is a sign of a fearful dog.

●        A tucked tail can also indicate submission.

●        A curled tail can be a sign of dominance or relaxation.

Signs Your Dog is Feeling Poorly

If your dog is communicating that she isn’t feeling great with abnormal behavior, be sure to visit a vet right away. Just like humans, dogs have better health outcomes when their health conditions are diagnosed early on.


To schedule your dog’s appointment, give us a call at 952-831-8272 or contact us online.