The cute actions and behaviors are what make your bearded dragon such a wonderful pet. I have listed several of these behaviors, along with the reasons behind them, so you will be able to tell what your dragon is thinking.
Small dragons will do this when they are stalking prey. You may also see this during breeding season in your adult dragons.
I own some dragons that I have never seen beard out and others that do so regularly. Males seem to beard out more than females. The dragon will look like it’s swallowing hard and will normally open its mouth, and then the area of their neck will suddenly begin to puff out and change color. Some males will head bob during this behavior as well, others will just tip and turn their head as if posing for you. Males will beard out during the breeding season to impress the females. They’ll also do so to show dominance to other dragons or when startled as a defense against attack. Alpha females will also use this gesture to other females to show dominance.
This is a display to show superiority over other dragons. Males will do this along with bearding out during the breeding season to get the female to show submission. They can sometimes bob so jerky and fast I think they are going to hurt themselves. I smile every time, though because I can almost hear the boy saying to the girl “who’s your daddy”. Females will sometimes do a slow motion head bob back to the males; this is showing they are bowing to the boys’ dominance.
This is mostly a female behavior, but can sometimes be seen in small males when confronted with a large dragon. The females use this in response to the male bearding out and head bobbing during the breeding season. Also small females seem to do it for no apparent reason; I think they are practicing for later in life. The dragon will lift one arm and move it in a slow circle before putting it down and repeating the action with the other arm. I think it is adorable to watch. They look like beauty queens in a parade. Sometimes if more than one female is housed together one will head bob and the other will arm wave as if to be saying, “I’m friendly, let’s all get along”.