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Submissive Dog Behaviors You Need To Know

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Submissive Dog Behaviors You Need To Know
Submissive Dog Behaviors You Need To Know

Part of fully understanding your pet is getting to know the behavioral patterns that make them who they are. While some dogs are more dominant and confident when approaching potential threats or unknown situations, others take a more submissive approach. Canine submissiveness is any behavior that allows your pet to communicate that they aren’t a threat. This could be to another dog at the park or a new person you bring into their lives. As such, being able to recognize these indicators can go a long way in meeting your pet’s needs. These are some common submissive dog behaviors you need to know.

Submissive Urination

Has your dog ever urinated on the floor when you invite guests over to the house? In some cases, you could interpret this action as excitement to see someone. However, in other instances, it’s a sign of nervousness and often happens when an individual or other dog is looming over them. Many dogs exhibit fear and uncertainty, but it’s not always for the same reasons.

Some pups have trauma from something in their past, while others are predisposed to nervousness from one of their parents. In fact, about 65 percent of those genes come from one of your dog’s parents, and medicinal intervention might be crucial before behavior training can happen. So even though cleaning up after them can be irritating, don’t scold them. Instead, try to make them feel more secure in their environment.

Exposed Belly

Dogs that frequently roll over to expose their bellies are also exhibiting a sign of submissiveness. As one of the more vulnerable areas of the body, this action indicates that your pet wants to appear as unthreatening as possible. It’s important to note, though, that rolling over can be an indicator of playfulness as well. So you’ll want to observe your pet for other behaviors, such as tail movement and ear position, to help you determine whether your current case is one or the other.

Lowered Tail

The lowering of your dog’s tail is a noteworthy action, too. As the area of the body that most often indicates interest and excitement, the tail can also be a wonderful tool to demonstrate submissiveness or hesitation. If your pet is holding it closer to their legs or even between them when in contact with new people or animals, they’re showing uncertainty in that particular circumstance.

Avoiding Eye Contact

Another submissive dog behavior you need to know is an aversion to direct eye contact. While humans consider eye contact polite and attentive when engaged in conversation with one another, the meeting of eyes between dogs can demonstrate aggression. As such, dogs that are naturally more submissive tend to avoid making eye contact entirely, whether that be with you or a fellow pet from the neighborhood.

When you’re looking to correct some of your pet’s problematic behaviors and learn more about them in the process, a qualified trainer is your number one resource. With several decades of experience under our belt, we at Acadia Canine Academy offer premium dog training services for anyone looking to develop a better relationship with their pet.


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