Understanding body language is a great way to begin to understand your dog. Sometimes your dog will try to tell you that they are unsure about things or unsure of what you want from them. By using one of 9 unsure submissive dog behaviors they can convey emotions. We may confuse some of these signal cues from our dogs as cute and sweet. This may not always be the case. Being aware of dog language is crucial to understanding how dogs communicate with us.
Does your dog smile or grin?
This is often seen as a “cute” behavior. Your canine companion is telling you they are overwhelmed with something. Sometimes humans may feel threatened that this is a sign of dog aggression. This is not the case. A dog giving this smile is not a threat as they are submitting. Remember if your dog is smiling or grinning at you, consider changing your tone of voice and posture. You may want to lower your head and look away a little to get them to feel less threatened.
Lip licking means I am nervous in dog language
Dogs definitely can become overwhelmed with new people or situations. If you ever notice a canine companion doing this behavior, take a look around to see what has changed in your environment. This most likely will happen more often in new places and when your dog is overwhelmed with someone or something new. Using their body language is their main form of communication with the world.
Have you seen a dog tuck its tail?
This is one of the most common dog behaviors that people notice. People will comment, “I think that dog is scared or shy.” This definitely can appear like that and is probably true in most cases. It shows a major sign that the dog doesn’t want conflict. Dogs will tuck their tail and run to avoid unwelcome visitors as one of the 9 unsure submissive dog behaviors. If you are new to a dog, such as maybe fostering one that has been in some unpleasant situations, it’s important to read all of the signs of the dog’s behavior.
Ears pinned back flat against their head
All dogs are different. Most dogs keep their ears somewhat erect when at ease or relaxed. It may be hard to see this in floppy-eared dogs, but you may be able to tell by looking at the position of the ear base. When a dog holds his ears back or flattens them, this is a deliberate message. It may mean the dog is worried or fearful. Sometimes it is an act of submission. The best way to determine this is by looking at the eyes and the overall body language.
why Your dog avoids eye contact
Dogs do consider direct eye contact as a threat so they may look away from you when you look at them. A new dog will often do this if they are feeling overwhelmed. Some dogs will require essential dog training to help them learn that eye contact is not a bad dog behavior
Exposing the belly is very common among the 9 unsure submissive dog behaviors
Dogs tend to roll over on their back when they feel threatened or overwhelmed. This exposes their vulnerable underbelly and shows others that they are no threat. Sometimes when your dog is very relaxed and sleeping they may expose their belly also. This is like playing possum to help keep other predators away. They rest like this as most predators like the reward of the hunt and will leave animals alone that appear dead.
Dogs will yawn big when stressed and submissive
There are a lot of signals dogs use to tell you they are not enjoying a situation. If a dog feels threatened or stressed it will often yawn or lick its lips so as to diffuse a situation. It shows a submissive behavior toward the other dogs or people around them. Dogs also yawn because they are tired, just like people. Look at all of the dog’s body language to determine what the yawn could mean.
curl up to be small while lying down
A submissive dog often sleeps curled up small in a fetal position. This covers their sensitive underbelly while they rest and shows other dogs they are not a threat. Dogs keep themselves small to keep warm as well. The behavior is often regarded as cute by most pet owners but it is actually common dog language and one of the 9 unsure submissive dog behaviors.
staying low to the ground
When submissive dogs stay low to the ground, they are showing other dogs they are not intimidating. Dogs often approach other dogs keeping their body low and nuzzling or licking the other dog. This is a leftover behavior from before dogs were domesticated and lived in packs in the wild. Wolves greet the alpha or head wolf this way if you watch closely. Dogs that are more submissive in nature stay low showing they do not display dominant characteristics and are not threats.
If you feel your dog is submissive they will exhibit any of the 9 unsure submissive dog behaviors. They also may feel anxious and stressed in new situations and will take more patience and time. It will take extra to develop the bond and partnership you are looking for. A submissive dog is also an excitable dog, so they will need extra training on how to behave with new people. You will need to expose them to new environments and people slowly, do not force or coddle them, if you would like their confidence to build. What more would you like to learn about submissive dog behaviors?