Why Does a Dog Turn his Back on You – What Can it Mean?

Black Labrador looking awayCan it sometimes be ‘out of sight – out of mind’?

Maybe the dog wants to escape all interaction with something he is uneasy about whilst not wanting any kind of conflict.

Yesterday I visited the house of a client with two dogs. One, a very large Rhodesian Ridgeback, was clearly uncomfortable so close to someone he didn’t know.

As he entered the room he deliberately turned his head away from me before lying down in his bed in the corner with his face to the wall and his back to me. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ – as as much ‘out of mind’ as he could manage anway!

Far from being a way of blocking someone out as in the case of the dog I went to yesterday, turning his back, especially backing into us, is more likely to be a sign of friendliness and showing peaceful intentions.

Some people still believe it’s the dog trying to show he’s Alpha! That is the one thing we can be sure it’s not.

“Dog owners often think their dogs are pushy or impolite when they turn their backs to them, sometimes even pushing them. Nothing could be farther from the truth” says Roger Abrantes. It’s not a sign of ‘dominance’ as old school trainers may have us believe, it is probably the very opposite.

A hip nudge is the behaviour a dog shows when it nudges another with its hip or rear end. Dogs often use this sort of behavior towards people, typically during greeting ceremonies when we show the dog passive friendliness by crouching down to it. The dog will then walk towards us, turn round and either nudge us gently with its hip or rear end, or stand passively with its back turned to us.”  To read more, click here.

Here is one of the many stories of dogs I have been to where the owners have learnt how important it is to be able to interpret their dog’s body language correctly.

Theo Stewart, The Dog Lady 

To go to my main website: www.dogidog.co.uk

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About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist (INTODogs-ABTC - AAB) and trainer covering Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks, a 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site: www.dogidog.co.uk
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