Click here to learn more.
Have you ever wondered why your normally assertive
dog immediately flops onto her back whenever she feels fearful or threatened?
According to board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Sueda, DVM, of the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital, this is a classic — and normal — sign of submission or appeasement.
When a dog presents her belly and neck in this situation, she's expressing an ancestral trait rooted in wolf pack behavior that was used to communicate deference to other “alpha” dogs.
On a more practical note, it also helped wolves to avoid getting into a fight. Over time, nature selected appeasing wolves who were able to get out of potentially dangerous situations by peacefully persuading an
aggressor to back off.
“The trait has been maintained through evolution, as well as domestication,” Dr. Sueda explains, adding that the habit isn't necessarily a sign of weakness. It's quite the opposite, in fact, and shows that she's a good communicator capable of conveying via body language that there's no need for a tussle.
If your dog cowers all of the time, she may have a serious phobia.
It’s normal for a
dog to roll over once in a while, but if it happens
consistently in certain situations — like when you pull out the dreaded vacuum cleaner — consider consulting a trainer or a
board-certified behaviorist about steps that you can take to ease her anxiety and teach her to make positive associations with the activity or object that's triggering the fear.
The most important thing, Dr. Sueda says, is to avoid doing anything that can make the fear worse. If your dog’s anxiety is set off by something that you have done, simply walk away, and avoid touching her.
When she rolls over, her body language says, “I don’t want you to come any closer.” If you don’t give her space, you may only escalate her fearful feelings, causing her to potentially get aggressive.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Blackie, who served in Afghanistan, is
safely back at his adoptive home, thanks
to the volunteers who searched for…
Want to keep your kitty off tables and
counters? Provide appropriate climbing
spaces and follow these training tips.
Dr. Patty Khuly says veterinarians have
come a long way in understanding
animals who are stressed at the clinic.
When Mikkel Becker visited her future
mother-in-law, she assumed her Pugs
would be well behaved. She was wrong.
From the 32-inch-tall Scottish Deerhound
to the 200-pound Mastiff, these big
breeds are large and in charge.
Before you buy chicks or ducklings for
your kids' Easter baskets, make sure you
know what you're getting yourself…
Want to find out how well your cat or dog is digesting his food? Well, our vet says the proof is in your pet's poop.
The active and playful Devon Rex’s high cheekbones and slender build make her look like a top feline model.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.