How to identify dog body language is a very important skill to develop. To be an advocate for both your child and your dog and to be sure there isn’t miscommunication, learn how to identify both signals when dogs are happy and enjoying interaction as well as when you need to step in to intervene.
This post will shows body language when things are going well. See our other post for body language to indicate stress and a potential dog bite.
Relaxed loose body language – Overall the dog seems to be enjoying interacting with children and looks relaxed and happy. If lying down, he may have his head over his paw or paws crossed. The whole body may be wiggling with the tail. He may also be sitting in a relaxed manner with a happy expression on his face.
Mouth may be open and you can see their tongue and it can look like they are smiling, (not hanging way out as though they are hot, tired or stressed)
Eyes look soft, happy, relaxed, and peaceful or squinty
Ears are relaxed – not tightly pinned down or very erect and rigid. They may be turned to the side, lowered but relaxed.
Tail may be wagging softly – Also look at the base of the tail. It most likely will be level with the back or hanging in a relaxed way, but if it is wagging it will be wagging loosely and in a relaxed manner. A note about wagging -as I’ve mentioned in my “Stop, Look and Paws” learning activity – a wagging tail itself is not always a sign that a dog is happy. It can mean they are excited and want to interact, but the interaction may not always be positive. You need to look at the whole body for overall relaxed body language