If you've ever looked down into your pooch's big brown eyes and wondered what they're thinking then it may be time to learn to 'read' your dog's body language.

Most dog owners will understand that a wagging tail as you present your pooch with his dinner of dry dog food means they're happy and bared teeth are a sign of aggression, but there are many other subtle facial expressions and movements that can help you understand how your pup is feeling.

In fact, Lisa Mullinax, a certified professional dog trainer knowledge-assessed for 4Paws University Inc, believes that dogs can tell us more from nonverbal communication than by yapping, barking, snarling or growling.

"While there are fewer than a dozen types of barks, there are hundreds of different ear positions, tail positions, paw positions and more, which dogs use to communicate," she told the Dog Daily. "Body signals give dogs a much more elaborate language than vocalisations could."

Although specific body language will vary from canine to canine, in general dogs are expressive animals and by watching how your animal behaves, you can gauge their mood at any particular time.

A happy, calm pooch will usually have a soft gaze with their mouth sometimes turned up at the corners as if they were smiling and will stand and move in a natural manner.

However, when your dog is scared or submissive you may notice that their ears are erect and on full alert, their body is curled and their tail is tucked between their legs.

The mouth is a particularly telling indicator of whether your pup is anxious and simple gestures such as snarling, curling their lips and even yawning can tell you a lot about how your dog is feeling.

"Yawning, when the dog is not relaxed or tired, is a common sign of stress or conflict," says Mullinax. "Sitting in the waiting room at the vet's office, you may see a lot of yawning in the dogs there."

Written by: Hannah