Let’s Be a Doggie Detective: Muzzle

Click on the muzzles to gather clues to become a Doggie Detective!




The mouth is open in a “C” shape, upper teeth are not visible. Commissure is forward, and the dog appears to be mid-bark.



When you look at the full body, this dog is in a play bow with front legs low, ears are pulled back, pupils are dilated, and the tail is wagging at midline. This dog is in a state of higher arousal/excitement and anticipating a throw of her favorite toy.



The mouth is closed with some muscle tension and the commissure is slightly forward.



When you consider the closed mouth in conjunction with the ears pulled tightly back, whale eye (you can see the whites of the eyes), muscle tension throughout the head/neck, and head turned to the side, this dog is feeling stress and trying to avoid conflict.



Mouth is wide open in a full yawn. The muscles around the mouth and face are tight.



When you consider the yawn in context with the ears pulling back, eyes closed, curved back, and tail tightly tucked under, this dog is displaying considerable stress. When you observe a dog yawn, take note of what happened immediately prior. Dogs will often use yawns as a way to try and manage stress or in response to something they find uncomfortable.



Mouth is closed with the commissure forward. The tongue is out and licking up over the dog’s nose.



When you consider this dog’s muzzle in context with the ears pulled slightly to the side and slight muscle tension around the eyes, this dog is exhibiting some mild stress. Lip licks may be an early indication of stress or need for space. Have you ever noticed this signal in your dog? Consider observing your dog for this subtle signal.



Open mouth, with a relaxed tongue.



When you consider the open mouth with the other signals, you will see that the ears are up (except for the natural soft ear with a slight fold), eyes are bright and focused, the tail is slightly elevated and wagging, and the dog’s body is bent down in a play bow. This dog is happy and ready to play.



Every Young Family Needs a Support System.

Find a Family Paw’s Educator near you and get the support you need to safely and happily raise your dogs and children, together.