Is that a sad dog, or a calm one?

Far too often we've been conditioned to think a happy dog is one with a wagging tail and forward posture - and a dog who is sad keeps their head down and doesn't wag their tail.

Dogs who are alert and in arousal will have that flashy look to them, and dogs who are calming down will have a more relaxed and subdued look.

It's not a matter of happy or sad dogs - it's a matter of what state of mind is your dog in, and what state of mind promotes the right behavior for your dog at the time.

Flashy and alert behavior is excellent for obedience drills, tricks, cute pictures, and performance/play. Calmer more relaxed body behavior is preferred for dogs who need to be cool, collected, and behaved in busy environments and in situations that would likely trigger an excited or explosive outburst.

Your dog can hopefully do both of these! Be aware, however, that you may unintentionally start psyching your dog up if you think they are looking "sad" (when really they are actually just calm). Let your dog get lots of practice resting in that calm state - most need more practice with that skill because they struggle to be relaxed around many of life's triggers... and are REALLY good at keying up and being alert (and subsequently impulsive and explosive!) 🙂