Dog Ear Positions Chart: What does the dog ear position mean?

Dog Ear Positions Chart: It can be hard to tell what your dog is thinking, but one way to get a little insight into their thoughts is by looking at the position of their ears.

Whether they are perked up or drooping down, there are multiple possible interpretations of their ear positions!

Every dog has different ear positions for when they’re feeling good or not so great, which can tell you what might make them feel better!

Also Read: At What Age do German Shepherds Baby Teeth fall out? Complete Teeth Care

Let’s take a look at some common ear postures and what they might mean for our furry friends.

What does the dog ear position mean?

  • The dog ear position is a sign of insecurity
  • It can also be a sign of deep thought or concentration
  • A dog ear may be used to signify that you are finished with something, or it may indicate that you have an idea for a project
  • Dog ears can also mean that the person has been hurt in some way and needs sympathy from others
  • Finally, when someone’s head is tilted down and their eyes are looking up at the ceiling, this could represent being lost in one’s thoughts or daydreaming 
  • In all cases, it means they don’t want to speak about what they’re thinking about right now

Dog Ear Positions Meaning

Who hasn’t wondered what their dog is thinking or trying to say with the way they hold their ears? Turns out, different ear positions can actually mean different things! So, next time you’re scratching your pup’s head, take a second to check their ears and see what they’re telling you!

  • Neutral Position: A relaxed dog will have both ears sitting in a neutral position. Typically, the ears are freely relaxed on their sides and not pricked forward or drooping down the slope towards the head.
  • One ear is up while one is down – this can indicate a mood change has occurred in response to something they hear or see nearby 
  • Ears pulled tight against their heads with their bodies tucked low means they’re nervous or frightened
  • Ears are Pricked: Ears that are pricked forward mean one thing to some dogs. They may be focusing on their playmates or something nearby, but if the pup is close enough for him (or her) self- inspections then it’s possible they’re listening very carefully in another direction too!
  • Extremely Pinned Ears: A fearful dog will use every square inch and muscle in her body to tell you she is nervous or afraid. This includes having her ears pinned tight beside the head, coiled tightly between legs, sinking movements with bent knees- all signs that a typical animal takes when they’re ready for battle!

Dog Ear Positions Chart

Here is a quick roundup of dog ear positions and their interpretations:

Ear position Chart

  • Ears up and forward – happy, alert, attentive
  • Ears back – scared or submissive
  • Ears sideways – relaxed and contented 
  • Flattened ears – aggressive or frightened 
  • Standing tall on the back of their hind legs with their front paws in the air – playful, excited to meet new people

Tips for understanding what your dog is trying to tell you with their ears 

Dogs’ ears are a great way to gauge their mood and emotions

  • Pay attention to the position of your dog’s ears – they can tell you if they’re happy, scared, or angry
  • If your dog’s ears are standing up straight and alert, then he or she is usually feeling happy and confident
  • When dogs tilt their head one way or the other it can also signify what mood they’re in; for instance, an ear that tilts sideways means that the dog is curious about something
  • Erecting ears mean that a dog is feeling defensive or aggressive towards someone or something 
  • Flattened ears indicate fearfulness on behalf of the animal

Why are dogs’ ears so expressive anyway

  • Dogs’ ears are expressive because they can help them communicate
  • Dog’s ears can express fear, anger, happiness, and other emotions
  • Dogs use their ears to listen for sounds in the environment
  • They also act as a form of protection against the sun and wind 
  • The shape of a dog’s ear tells you about their breed 

Some breeds have drooping or long ears while others have erect or short ears


When it comes to reading a dog’s ear position, the most important thing is that you know what your pet means.

For example, if your pup has their ears forward and slightly tilted back (like they are trying to hear something), they could be listening for someone coming up behind them or looking for an intruder who may have entered the property.

If one of their ears appears more upright than the other, this indicates alertness as well as attentiveness to sounds around them. Pups with straight-up ears are often relaxed because they feel comfortable in their surroundings.

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