Most dog owners know how lucky they are to share their lives with one or more dogs.
Dogs are amazing creatures, funny, loving, loyal, and enthusiastic; they make great housemates.
But why do dogs always seems in such a good mood?
Why Are Dogs Always So Happy?
Dogs are always happy because domestication by humans over thousands of years has caused them to evolve to become more sociable.
In addition, scientific studies have revealed the presence of a gene in dogs that gives them the trait of friendliness.
As humans, we can learn a lot from dogs about staying positive and focusing on the good in life.
The rest of this article will detail why dogs are always happy, how to know when your pup is in a good mood, and finally, why dogs make us so happy.
NOTE – You may also want to read this post asking the question: Why do dogs stick their tongue out?
Reasons Why Dogs Are Always Happy
Science has provided two primary reasons why dogs are always so happy and cheerful, especially towards humans.
1. Domestication Increased Friendliness in Dogs
After thousands of years of domestication by humans, dogs may have evolved to be more friendly towards humans than their wolf kin, who spent more time in the wild.
Studies show that the domestication of dogs might have a lot to do with their high level of sociability towards humans.
Experiments indicate that dogs are more likely than their close relatives—the wolves—to interact with humans.
In these experiments, both pet dogs and stray dogs tended to gravitate towards human presence, even when the humans didn’t actively seek out their attention.
So dogs have literally been bred to be happy in the company of humans!
NOTE – You might also like to read this post asking the question: Why Are Golden Retrievers so nice?
2. Genetics Affect Socialness in Dogs
The answer to why dogs are so happy could come down to their genes, and it could be the exact reason humans were able to domesticate them in the first place.
A study by scientists revealed the presence of a gene that causes hyper sociability in dogs.
The gene varies across different dog breeds, which is why some dogs are more social than others, but overall, it could be why your pooch has more than enough happiness to spread around.
Yes, dogs actually have a gene that makes them more likely to be happy!
Related Post: Why Do Dogs Like Fetch So Much?
How To Tell When Your Dog Is Happy
Although it may seem that nothing in the world can ruin your pup’s pleasant mood, it is important to acknowledge the signs of a genuinely content pet.
As a devoted dog owner, you might already be able to tell your pup’s different moods apart, but here are a few signs to look out for that indicate when your dog is in a good mood.
1. Tail Wagging
Tail wagging is a classic indicator of happiness in dogs, but not many people realize it’s how they wag their tails that matters.
Tail wagging that involves the whole body is often a sign of joy, whereas wagging their tail while the rest of their body remains stiff is usually a sign of vigilance or that something has piqued their interest.
However, a low-hanging tail wag means your dog is scared or unsure and needs some reassurance.
Interestingly, even the direction of a tail wag can tell us more about exactly how our canine friends are feeling.
According to some scientific studies, a dog wagging its tail more on the right side of its body is relaxed, happy, and in a good mood, while a left-side tail wag indicates alertness or anxiousness.
Energetic wagging from side to side, followed by a few licks, is usually a friendly greeting.
NOTE – You might also like to read this post asking the question: why are dogs so gentle with babies?
2. Relaxed Ears
Loosely hanging ears signify that your dog is happy and relaxed.
As a dog parent, you will notice the difference between loosely hanging ears and ears that are pricked back or forward, which is usually a sign of fear and alertness, respectively.
3. Relaxed Body
A super-happy dog is a super-relaxed dog, which you will notice by a loose stance free from stiffness – and just a hint of wiggliness.
Playful wriggling while baring its belly and tongue are also indications of relaxation and a cheerful state.
A dog in a happy and playful mood will sometimes come up to you and lean forward with its backside high up in the air. This pose looks similar to a bow.
It usually means that your dog is up for some playtime, which is typically an indicator of happiness.
But, in case it thinks you’ve missed the hint, your pooch might approach you with a toy, hoping you might be up for a game or two!
You aren’t hallucinating if you think you occasionally catch your pooch smiling.
An open mouth that almost appears to curve upwards in a gentle smile—without baring teeth in an aggressive manner—is sometimes a sign that your dog is beaming with joy.
“Smiling” is often accompanied by a playful, wriggly posture.
On the other hand, dogs have learned to recognize smiling as a positive human emotion.
And what’s more, they love to make us smile. After all, that’s what a man’s best friend is for!
5. Leaning In
A dog that leans into your touch when you pet it signifies that it likes physical contact and wants to spend more time close to you.
Leaning in is a dog’s way of showing that it is comfortable with you and wants to maintain contact with you.
6. Healthy Appetite
Your pup’s appetite is often a key indicator of its overall well-being.
A healthy balanced appetite means a healthy, happy dog.
Overeating or undereating is more often than not something that a dog parent should be concerned about.
7. Facial Expressions
Like humans, dogs have facial expressions that can be visual cues for what they are feeling or experiencing.
While not all canine facial expressions mean the same thing as they do in humans (for example, “smiling” can sometimes be a way of showing submission), some of them do carry a similar interpretation.
A relaxed countenance indicates that your dog is at ease.
For example, a wrinkle-free forehead is a sign that your dog is calm and taking it easy.
On the other hand, just like you might expect worry lines across somebody’s face when they are frowning, the presence of wrinkles on your puppy’s face indicates concern.
For example, a dog displaying aggression will often wrinkle its muzzle, which might be accompanied by frown lines across its forehead.
8. Sleeping Adequately
Is your dog sleeping enough? An adult dog that’s fit and happy will spend about 16 hours a day sleeping.
Anything significantly more—or less—is something to watch out for.
Because sleep is an essential aspect of health in animals, your dog’s sleep schedule can be a good indicator of how happy they are overall.
Before we go on, here is a great video that also explains how to tell if your dog is happy or not:
Note – You might also like to read this post answering the question – why is my dog so excited to see me when I get home?
Why a Happy Dog Can Make You Happy
It’s hard to ignore the cheerful playfulness and positivity dogs often bring to a home.
Here are some of the reasons why dogs make us happy.
Dogs Make Us More Active
Studies show that 60 percent of dog owners have more active, healthier lifestyles, thanks mainly to the simple act of regularly taking their dogs out for a walk.
Exercise causes the human body to release hormones called endorphins, commonly known as the “feel-good” hormone.
The release of this hormone results in feelings of relaxation and happiness.
Does your dog sometimes do things that make you laugh?
Laughter is also an endorphin-releasing activity, and you might find that laughs are a regular part of your and your dog’s playtime.
What’s more, you’re more likely to take playtime outdoors, which means that you’re likely getting more sun exposure and, as a result, more vitamin D.
Science has revealed the mood-boosting effects of Vitamin D, while a lack of it has been linked to depression.
So simply being outside with your dog might be doing more for you than you realize.
Dogs Increase Oxytocin Production in Humans
Oxytocin is a hormone associated with trust, empathy, and relationship-building.
Also known as the “love hormone,” humans and dogs produce more oxytocin when they positively interact with each other.
Studies show that interacting with dogs causes the human brain to produce oxytocin, which increases feelings of happiness, relaxation, and overall well-being.
Spending time with dogs also reduces our cortisol levels (the “stress” hormone).
What’s more, when we interact with them, dogs produce oxytocin, too.
So you can rest assured that the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you pet your dog is mutual.
Dogs Make Us Healthier Physically
There is overwhelming evidence that proves that having a dog as a pet can have tremendous health benefits. For example, studies reveal that dog owners often have lower blood pressure and heart rates.
The benefits become even more significant as we get older: dog owners over 65 years of age visit the doctor less frequently than their dog-less peers.
Moreover, simply having the company and unconditional love of a pet dog generates positive emotions, which have been shown to help prevent illness and help you live longer.
Dogs Help Combat Feelings of Loneliness
Isolation is known to lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.
The good news is that taking your dog for a walk or outside for playtime will undoubtedly get you out of the house if nothing else will.
Owning a dog could be a precursor for a more active social life, whether due to meeting fellow dog owners at the park or simply the attention you attract from having such a lovable pet.
Dogs are a common fixture in nursing homes where they provide companionship. Some people even talk to their dogs to relieve stress.
Pets Provide a Sense of Purpose
Having a dog instills a sense of responsibility in dog parents; this involves feeding them, taking them to the vet, and generally caring for them.
Being a dog parent creates a daily routine that gives you a sense of purpose, especially for older dog owners who may be retired or living alone after their children have moved away.
Aside from taking good care of your canine companion, a happy dog that is well taken care of will bring bounds of infectious playfulness and joyfulness: it’s hard to ignore an excited dog that wants to spend some quality time with you.
Dogs Provide Emotional Support During a Crisis
Dogs aren’t called man’s best friend for nothing.
Scientific studies have shown that dogs are in tune with the emotions of their owners: when you’re feeling sad, it’s no coincidence that your dog suddenly wants to cuddle or go outside and play. It’s your pup’s way of cheering you up.
The psychological-boosting effects of having a dog as a pet are one of the main justifications behind initiatives that provide emotionally vulnerable groups such as veterans and senior citizens with service dogs.
At the same time, senior citizens who may be suffering from dementia are less prone to aggressive behavior if they have a canine companion.
Dogs Make Us More Attractive
And not in the canine “mini-me” way, which is a scientifically proven theory that dog owners tend to look a lot like their dogs.
Studies show that being a dog owner makes you more attractive to the opposite sex, partly because having a dog makes you seem happier and more relaxed.
According to statistics, men are more likely to score digits (read: get a phone number) if they have their dog with them during a romantic encounter.
On the other hand, women are more likely to get more attention on their online dating profiles if they include pictures of themselves with their dogs.
Why Are Dogs Always Happy? Some Final Notes
The dogs are always happy comes down to genetics and the long-term effects of domestication.
Science claims that these two factors have been instrumental in increasing the sociability of dogs toward humans.
Signs of a happy dog include tail wagging, “smiling,” playful bowing, and a healthy appetite.
Because their cheerfulness is so infectious, dogs make us happy, bringing us numerous physical, emotional, and mental health benefits.
A happy dog can make you more active, less lonely, and even more attractive—all while giving you a sense of purpose and emotional support that you can rely on.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!