When a dog turns their back to you, they’re giving you a friendly greeting. In the dog world, showing their back to a trusted pack member is a standard “dog greeting.” It shows that your dog trusts you and is happy to see you. It could also mean that your dog is simply distracted by something in the opposite direction.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our dogs could talk to us? When I was a kid, I dreamed of the day when I could verbally communicate with our family dog. Although we can’t verbally communicate with our furry friends, we can communicate with body language.
The only problem is that we often misinterpret the body language cues our dog gives us. For example, when your dog turns his back to you, you might assume they’re being rude and giving you the cold shoulder. When in reality, it could be the ultimate sign that he trusts you.
But trust isn’t the only reason dogs turn their back to their owners. In this guide, we will go over the top five reasons for this behavior.
What You'll Learn
This is Why Your Dog Turns His Back to You (The 5 Reasons)
Communication Break Down
As humans, verbal communication is our primary form of communication. Dogs are entirely the opposite. Besides the faint whines at lunch or a hearty growl when the pizza guy rings the doorbell, your dog’s body language is its primary source of communication.
So, when you get home from a long day, and the pup gives you the old “cold shoulder,” fear not, for they are most likely just trying to greet you!
In the dog world, displaying their rear ends is a social mechanism. It’s how they go about introductions (licking is another way). It establishes that they have peaceful intentions and are open to communication. It’s a standard dog-to-dog greet.
A term that has been coined for this behavior is “the hip nudge.” This is when your pet will walk in front of you and then lean their backside into you. As a dog owner, you have likely experienced this plenty of times.
My boxer and my rottweiler were huge culprits of this behavior. We used to call them hugs.
Don’t worry, your dog isn’t giving you the silent treatment when they turn their back. They’re displaying an act of friendship, as cheesy as that sounds.
They Trust You
Turning your back to the unknown is a universal red flag in the animal kingdom. This evolutionary trait has been weaved into dogs’ brains for thousands of years. Turning your back makes you vulnerable to the unseen.
If you think your furry friend is dissing you by turning their back to you, think again! They’re actually saying they trust you. It’s their way of showing that they feel comfortable in the environment you provided for them. But most importantly, they understand that they can depend on you to, literally, watch their back.
Stressed Out Pups
Do you ever have those moments when you feel overwhelmed and you need to take a step back for a minute? Or maybe sneak away for a quick breather?
Dogs have those moments also!
It may not seem like there is too much for a dog to stress about, but we never really know what’s going on in that fuzzy head of theirs. Sometimes they need to turn away from the excitement and collect themselves. I think we can all sympathize with that.
The stress they may be trying to alleviate might not be their own. One of the most lovable aspects of a dog is how they seem to genuinely care about our wellbeing.
If they can sense stressful vibes, they will often perform the hip nudge (or hug as I like to call it) to soothe tension. They use this on humans and dog friends alike. This is why dog’s work so perfectly as therapy animals.
Running with the Pack
This behavior is often mistaken as an act of dominance, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. This type of interaction has been passed down from their wolf ancestors.
Displaying your rear to a fellow colleague may be shockingly inappropriate in the office, but this comes as a standard meet and greet to our four-legged friends.
So, if they come up to you and give you that lovable little nudge, it just means that you’re part of the pack! They understand that they can depend on you. You can view it as a sign of friendliness.
It’s no secret that dogs like to sniff each other’s butts. Believe it or not, that scent tells a dog everything they need to know. As gross as it may seem to us, this act is a key method within their social cues.
The different pheromones in which every dog emits are unique and tailored specifically to that dog, almost like a fingerprint.
These pheromones all spin a different tale. Catching the dog’s up on life and its many mysteries (like why that squirrel keeps coming back). I like to think of it as their own version of social media. A way they can post and comment on each other’s feeds.
A Selfish Agenda
As a dog owner, you understand that these devious little critters are masters of manipulation. Whether it be a lovable stare during lunch or a devious glare while showing another dog some attention, they have developed an arsenal of tactics to get what they want.
I know my dog, like many other dogs, loves to have a good bum scratch. To dogs, this is second only to the famous belly rub. My dog will walk up to me, turn his rear around, and stand there like, “hello? I’m waiting?”. The price we pay for our spoiled pups, am I right?
If you treat your dog with a back scratch time they turn around, it will become a habit for them. They will know that every time they turn their back to you, it will get a good scratch.
Your Dog Doesn’t Hate You
See? Your dog doesn’t hate you. They simply love us so much that they try to communicate and understand us just as hard as we do.
Dogs are some of the most amazing creatures to observe in the wild, as they have many organized customs and ways of life. If you encounter this behavior, be sure not to punish or deter it. This is natural and healthy for your dog!
It’s comforting to know that your dog loves you so much he’s willing to accept you as part of the pack.
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