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Submissive Dog Behavior

There are a number of patterns of behavior displayed in dogs like aggression, anxiousness, being dominant, fearful, happy, and playful, excited and being submissive.

Submissive dog behavior is identified when the dog’s ears are down flattened against the head. The whites in the eyes can be seen or when the eyes are narrowed to slits, when the dog’s tail is between its legs or down and usually they either whine, make no sound at all or possible yelping and whimpering in fear. If a dogs cowers if it is being patted or if rolls on its back while urinating these are other signs of submissiveness.

This behavior is seen in all breeds.  

Submissive behavior is tolerable to a point however it should not be encouraged always. It is always important not to cause a submissive dog anxiety.

Dominance should not be shown by humans to dogs that are submissive as this will only lead to further anxiety. Do not tower over a dog in this state get down to his level as this will not intimidate him. Do not praise a dog showing submissive behavior as this will only reinforce the behavior. Being calm and using an assertive tone of voice is recommended to cure this type of behavior. If the dog is mistreated that usually leads to submissiveness. Do not look directly into the dogs eyes as this intimidates the dog even further especially in this condition. Be positive with your dog as dog is often low on self confidence and will look to its owner for comfort. Understanding dog behavior involves not patting the dog on the head but instead get down to dog’s level and either scratch its stomach or tickle it. Patting a dogs head while standing is a sign of dominancy and this only exaggerates this behavior in dogs.

Always allow the dog to settle before reassuring the dog otherwise this leads to anxiety in the dog. Never punish a dog displaying this behavior. Out of fear at times a submissive dog is known to bite. Do not use rewards for a dog displaying submissive behavior instead offer rewards when the dog is being confident and when it is sitting up straight. At times even dominant dogs display submissiveness; it is up to the owner to realize when it is desirable depending on the situation. Submissive dog behavior training or agility training is found to help increase a dog’s confidence.

  Submitted on June 10, 2010