How do you tell if your dog is submissive to you?

Do you understand what it means when someone says a dog is being submissive? You've probably heard that statement before. Dogs exhibit a variety of submissive behaviors. These actions are canine communication methods. To show that he is friendly and approachable, a dog often displays submissive behaviour.

Why Some Dogs Act in a Submissive Manner

Dog Submissive

Dogs' dominating and submissive behaviors are often misunderstood by humans. Overanalyzing the concepts of "dominant" and "submissive" would be inappropriate. As a matter of fact, many behaviorists and trainers make an effort to steer clear of these expressions due to their associations with antiquated and incorrect notions regarding dog hierarchy or "pack mentality."

Dog submission and dominance are common behaviors, not character qualities. These actions are examples of body-language communication. The relationship between the dog and another person or animal is represented by its behavior. In a relationship involving a dog, one partner can only be dominant if the dog voluntarily submits, as dominance is not possible without submission.

It's also crucial to recognise that violence does not equal submissiveness. Typically, aggressive behavior is unrelated to dominance and is more frequently caused by fear.

When a dog acts submissively, it is forming or strengthening a bond with a particular human or animal. The dominant dog in one partnership might not be the dominant dog in another. Even though some dogs prefer to side with the same person in numerous interactions, this does not necessarily indicate that you are dealing with a "dominant dog" and a "submissive dog."

A dog trying to convey that he doesn't pose a threat typically acts in a submissive manner. It's possible that this message is directed at people, other dogs, and other animals. The dog may occasionally be playing and wish the other person to know it. A dog could also be confused about the other person's intentions. He makes an effort to calm both the other person, the animal, and himself. Because of this, a lot of supposedly "submissive" behaviors are instead referred to as soothing signals and appeasement gestures. These signals are frequently used by dogs to diffuse frightened or uncomfortable situations.

Your dog normally tries to show you gratitude and affection when he acts subservient to you. Additionally, it could mean that he trusts you and feels safe around you. Although he may perceive you as the one who rules in the relationship, this does not require you to change your actions in any manner.

What is submissive behavior in dogs?

Some canine behaviors are typically regarded as submissive. The majority of these actions are similar to humor or appeasement gestures.

1 - Turning over or lying on the belly

Dog Submissive

Dogs frequently roll over and lie down belly-up as a show of submission. The behavior alone does not, however, prove that your dog is subservient. Many dogs enjoy getting belly massages and may roll on their backs in order to communicate with their owners. When anyone is standing over you or feels exposed, a submissive dog may frequently turn over. Dogs may instinctively communicate their desire to avoid conflict with powerful people or animals by showing their underbelly.

2 - Not making eye contact directly


Some dogs could interpret eye contact as a threat. When your dog avoids making eye contact with people and other animals and turns his or her head away, it most likely signifies they're trying to avoid a confrontation. Eye contact avoidance is a typical indicator of submissive dog behavior.

3 - Lip licking


Licking lips is a common appeasement motion that sends a comforting, non-threatening message. It is occasionally used as a sign of surrender to humans or other animals. It usually happens if the dog is anxious or fearful.

4 - Deflated ears

Dog Submissive

Although every dog is unique, when they are at ease, most dogs maintain an upright position for their ears. Although floppy-eared dogs don't exhibit this as well, you can frequently determine the position by glancing at the underside of the ear. The purposeful flattening of one's ears is to convey submission, fear, or worry. You can tell what it is by observing the remainder of a canine's body language.

5 - Lowered the tail


Another sign of submission is when the canine's tail is wagging low and is somewhat tucked. It might also imply that the dog is frightened or uneasy.

6 - Dropping to the Ground


A dog will attempt to look non-threatening by crouching down on the floor and trying to appear smaller. The most frequent cause of this, but not always, is dread. Adult dogs occasionally act this way around puppies to reassure the young ones that they are not malicious. It lessens their threat perception.

7 - Looking away


Canines may perceive direct eye contact as a danger, particularly when it occurs between two dogs. The dog is demonstrating that he is not attempting to challenge or threaten the other person by averting their gaze and looking away. Our dogs occasionally glare at us for various reasons, but this is not a sign of dominance.

8 - Possessing a smile

Dog Submissive

Some dogs will "smile" while exposing their teeth as a sign of submission. This is not to be confused with aggression-related teeth-baring. "Submissive grin" is the term used to describe smiling while the rest of the body is relaxed. It conveys warmth and approachability.

Make sure you don't mistake this grin for snarling. In addition to showing their dog teeth, snarling or growling dogs will often adopt stiff postures and emotions. Never get too close to a dog that is growling.

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