A dog uses almost every part of his/her body to express emotions and send messages to both humans and other animals. The movement of a dog’s ears tells what s/he is feeling.
Ear shapes vary depending on the breed of dog. Some ears hang down like those of a Basset Hound, some are pricked (stand straight up) like a German Shepherd’s; others can be semi-pricked or rose shaped. Some dogs’ ears are cropped for cosmetic reasons. This surgical procedure causes the dog pain and discomfort and is unnecessary. Fortunately it is illegal in many places.
Your dog’s ear size and shape will determine how well s/he can use them to send a message.
Here are some hints to help you decipher your dog’s signals.
- A relaxed ear looks natural, held forward but slightly horizontal.
- When alert, a dog raises his/her ears high, pointing them toward the area of interest.
- Ears that are raised and faced forward can show aggression.
- Ears that are flattened against the head or laid back can indicate submissiveness or fear which in some cases can turn into aggression.
- When your dog is happy, his/her ears are usually folded back with a wagging tail.
Try observing your dog’s ear movements to determine his/her mood.