How Do I Know If My Dog Is Happy? 9 Signs of a Happy Dog

Soft, relaxed gaze

A happy dog exhibits a soft gaze with eyes opened wide, often blinking frequently, signaling contentment and affection. This expression can stimulate the release of oxytocin in both the dog and its owner, strengthening their bond.

Happy facial expression

A relaxed, open mouth with a lolling tongue indicates dog happiness, often resembling a smile with the corners of the mouth turned up. Teeth may be visible but not in an aggressive manner, distinguishing it from signs of aggression.

Tail and body wagging

A gentle, loose tail wag accompanied by a neutral or slightly raised tail position suggests happiness in a dog. Context, along with other emotional cues like posture and facial expression, should be considered when interpreting tail wagging behavior.

Loose, bouncy stride

When out for a stroll, a happy dog is at complete ease with fully relaxed muscles. During a walk, a dog that s feeling happy will have a loose, bouncy, and smooth gait, says Bekoff. It will also display normal dog behavior, such as sniffing at plants and flowers

Play bow stance

Dogs in a playful mood may assume a play bow stance, with their chest lowered to the floor and bottom in the air, signaling readiness and enthusiasm for play. This stance is often accompanied by a wagging tail, relaxed facial expression, and sometimes vocalizations

Happy dancing

A happy dog may engage in a "happy dance," characterized by a loose and bouncy gait, excited hopping from side to side, and sliding or creeping toward a play partner, expressing happiness and eagerness to engage in activities.


Random bursts of enthusiasm, known as the "zoomies," indicate a dog's pure happiness and excitement, often triggered by the release of pent-up energy or feelings of joy. During zoomies, a dog may sprint around in circles, dart back and forth

Physical contact

Physical contact is a vital aspect of a dog's communication, with happy dogs often seeking closeness and affection from their owners. Whether it's leaning against their human's leg, snuggling up on the couch, or resting their head in their owner's lap, these gestures demonstrate the dog's desire for companionship and connection.

Normal appetite

A happy dog maintains a healthy appetite and eagerly consumes food, signaling overall well-being and contentment. Changes in eating habits or appetite may indicate underlying physical or emotional issues that require attention.