Learning about your dog’s body language can better help you understand their behaviour, when they are happy or anxious, and how to better care for them. In this article from the Body Language Series we look at Dog’s ears.
Dog ear shapes vary a great deal from pricked, semi pricked, rounded, hooded, dropped and rose eared. Because of this, it can make interpreting them a bit tricky.
Pinned back can often mean fear, stress or anxiety, but there are often exceptions. Sometimes dogs put their ears back or slightly out to the side when they are being appeasing or non-threatening and even greeting people they know and like. Reading the whole body and not just one part can help to interpret what the dog is saying.
Ears pricked forward or straight up can indicate the dog is alert, engaged and paying attention. Sometimes dogs will flick their ears back and forth, this can indicate they are a bit curious, worried or uncertain.
A head turn can be the whole head turning away or just averting the gaze, sometimes called a ‘look away’. Watch for subtle head turns. Dogs often do this to calm a situation down when greeting another dog and indicate they are no threat. It can also indicate that a dog is uncomfortable and doesn’t want to continue the interaction.
It’s important to read the dog’s whole body and not just one part, plus take into consideration the context in which the behaviour is happening.