My dog is always turning his back on me. I’m not sure why, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that I can’t stop petting him.
He probably just wants some peace and quiet. But whatever the reason, I decided to do some research into the matter so that I could at least understand what was going on in his head, and here’re what I found.
1. He Is Saying Hello To You
When a dog turns his back to you, he could simply be saying hello. Contrary to humans, who face each other when they greet, dogs use their backsides as a way of communicating with each other.
You may have seen it when two dogs meet, they will sniff each other’s rears as a way of getting to know each other. For them, it’s much better than the humans’ way of introducing themselves by shaking hands and saying “hello.”
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, which is why they often use their noses to investigate the world around them.
As you may know, dogs have scent glands located near the base of their tails, and when they sniff each other’s rears, they’re getting a whiff of all kinds of information, including the other dog’s health, sex, age, and mood.
2. He Is Demonstrating What Is Called “Hip Nudge”
Dogs will often show their rear end to other dogs as a sign of passivity or friendliness. This behavior is also often called “hip nudge” because when a dog does it, they will often touch the other dog’s hip gently with their own hip or bum.
It’s almost like he’s saying “chill out, I’m not a threat.”
If your dog does this, it’s actually a good thing, as dogs that aren’t comfortable with you or are feeling threatened will not show the most vulnerable part of their body instead they’ll show their teeth.
3. He Is Claiming You
When a dog puts his back to you, he might be in some ways claiming you. Dogs have scent glands under their tails that serve as a massive depository of pheromones.
Dogs use these pheromones to communicate various information to other dogs and induce various reactions from other dogs. Although humans won’t be able to smell these pheromones, dogs can smell other dogs’ pheromones from miles away.
And so when your dog turns his back to you followed by a bum rub, it could be that he’s leaving his scent all over you and claiming you as his own. By doing this, he is telling other dogs that you are under his protection and they should back off.
4. He Is Guarding You
If your dog is constantly turning his back on you when they notice someone or something new, it might be that they are guarding you. Dogs have an innate sense of protectiveness and often see it as their duty to watch over their family.
This is especially true for dogs who have been bred for protection work, like German Shepherds or Rottweilers. To make sure this is indeed the reason why your dog is turning his back on you, watch his behavior when there are strangers around.
If he barks or growls at them while showing stiffened body language, then it’s likely that he’s guarding you. The challenge here will be to make sure that he doesn’t become too protective and start to see everyone as a threat.
5. He Is Asking For a Good Scratch
Finally, your dog might just be asking for a good scratch. Dogs love getting scratched and will often put their backsides in the air to give you a better angle to reach.
After all, who else they are going to ask to do this important duty if not their favorite human? So the next time you see your dog turning his back on you, go ahead and scratch that one itchy spot he can’t reach himself and enjoy those doggy happy noises.
How Should You Respond When Your Dog Turns His Back to You?
Now that you know the different reasons why your dog might be turning his back on you, it’s important to know how to properly respond. In most cases, the best way to respond is to give them a brief scratch.
But if you don’t want to scratch them, or his behavior makes others uncomfortable, here are some things you can do to stop your dog from doing this behavior.
5 Tips To Stop Your Dog From Turning His Back On You
1. Ignore Him When He Does This Behavior
If your dog is turning his back on you as a way of getting your attention, the best thing to do is ignore him. This means stopping petting him, talking to him, and even looking at him.
It should be noted that dogs respond to any form of attention regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, so you should not scold him either as this will only serve to confuse him. Just walk away until he’s calm and then you can resume petting him.
He will eventually learn that this behavior doesn’t work and he’ll stop doing it.
2. Ask Him to Sit or Lay Down
Another way to get your dog to stop turning his back on you is to ask him to sit or stay.
Follow this step-by-step guide to teach your dog how to sit:
- Find a comfortable, quiet place in your home where you can work without any distractions.
- Put the dog on one side of the room and then stand on the other side.
- Get down to pet level and make sure that there is enough space between you for your hand to get passed through easily.
- Hold a treat in your hand and lure the dog to you by showing it to him. As soon as his nose comes close to your hand, slowly lift your hand up. He’ll probably sit as he lifts his head to follow the treat.
- When his bottom hits the ground give him the treat.
- Repeat this one or two times then continue this without the treat in your hand but continue to reward with treats when he gets it right.
- Once your dog is responding consistently, start adding the cue “sit” before you give the hand signal.
3. Give Him Distraction
You can also try to distract your dog from this behavior by providing him with something else to focus on. This could be anything from a toy to a yummy treat. As soon as your dog’s attention is diverted, he’ll likely stop turning his back on you.
4. Check for Fleas
If you think that your dog might be turning his back on you because he’s itchy, take a closer look at his body for any fleas. Fleas are small parasites that feed on the blood of their host, and dogs are very susceptible to them.
That one spot above the base of the tail is usually the place where most fleas like to hide. If you do find any fleas, there are a number of different flea treatments that you can use to get rid of them.
Here are some tips for getting rid of fleas:
- Use a flea comb to remove any fleas or eggs from your dog’s coat
- Give your dog a bath using a shampoo that is designed to kill fleas
- Apply a topical treatment, like Frontline, to your dog’s skin
- Sprinkle a flea powder on your dog’s bedding, and around your home
- Make him wear a flea and tick collar
- Apply a flea and tick dip
5. Consult With a Dog Trainer or Animal Behaviorist
As mentioned earlier, sometimes dogs turn their back on us because they are trying to guard us. It is easy for this behavior to slip into aggression and end up with a dog biting someone.
If you think that your dog might be exhibiting signs of aggression, it’s best to consult with a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist.
Dogs turning their backs on us can be a sign of many different things, some more serious than others. By being aware of the different reasons why dogs do this, we can take the necessary steps to correct the behavior. If all else fails, it’s best to consult with a professional. Thanks for reading!
Some dogs will arch their backs while they are stretching because the exercise feels good on the muscles that were contracted and tense before. Dogs might also be scared of something new in the environment and try to make themselves look bigger and less vulnerable by arching their backs.