Animal Information

9 Signs of a Submissive Dog

Submissive Dog

How Does A Submissive Dog Behave?

Are you concerned about your dog?  While you do not want an aggressive animal, you do want one that is not shy, timid and afraid.  Here are some great ideas to tell if the signs of a submissive dog are present in your fur-friend.

Submissive dog behavior is not necessarily a sign that a particular dog is the passive type.

submissive pet, aggressive dog, quiet dog, animal human connection, WIPIN, Artichoke, self-contained dog, Judy Helm Wright EXPERT

for nine signs to gauge your dog.

All dogs have this ability, even dominant or top ones. In some cases, the behavior is acceptable, but in others it is not discernable. Older people or disabled pet parents need and want a pet that is quiet, unassuming and tuned into their needs.

What are the signs of submissive dog behavior?

Submission is demonstrated in a number of ways. First, let’s look at the signs that are more indicative of a truly submissive dog. These are dogs that use this behavior to avoid confrontation. It is ordinary among dogs that have been abused or that feel threatened, even when no abuse is present. For instance, owners, who yell at their dogs will cause them to become submissive at least part of the time.

A highly submissive dog will do whatever necessary to appear small by crouching and cowering with its ears flattened against the head and tail between the legs to cover their scent glands and hide their identity.  Many dogs will roll onto their backs with their eyes wide and protruding. The whites of their eyes become prominent and their pupils are dilated.

Submissive dogs will respond in a number of ways, including:

  1. Jumping up
  2. Hugging the ground (shrinking)
  3. Tail between their legs
  4. Licking people, usually in the face
  5. Passing urine
  6. Rolling on their backs
  7. Offering a paw
  8. Nudging their owners with their noses
  9. Licking its lips

Now, let’s look at the playful submissive dog behavior.

Playful or submissive?

One common behavior that most people immediately identify as an invitation to play begins in puppyhood. They lower the front of their bodies, stretch their paws out and raise their rear ends high. This has been called the “play bow.”

Some of these signs also indicate dog submissive behavior, but in a right way. Dogs that want attention will roll over for you to scratch their bellies, lick their owners, and use nudging to invite a stroke or a game and jumps up.

The difference between the two groups is that dogs that use submissive behavior frequently as a form of self-protection are intimidated easily. Dogs that use it on occasion are merely acting normally in an effort to get time with their owners. They are giving the pet parents an invitation to interact with them on a playful level.

How Do You Stop a Submissive Dog Behaviour?

Sometimes owners inadvertently encourage it. When their dogs roll over, they automatically run its stomach. To stop this dog behavior, do not submit. Walk away and wait until your dog calms down before petting them.

Treat your dog with kindness. Be calm and assertive, rather than frustrated and angry. Use your normal voice, rather than yelling orders at your dog. Praise them when they do well and obey. Ignore them when they don’t.

When they show submissive behavior, like rolling onto their back, ignore them. When they change their stature, approach them on their level – get down and pet them. They’ll soon get the point.

If your dog is usually passive, you may want to consult your veterinarian. If it is not just a dominance, protective ritual, but actual passive and shy behavior, it could have medical causes.

Remember, you the human are the dominant one in the pack and you need to maintain discipline in a firm, kind and consistent voice and action.

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