In the wild, a wolf pack’s alpha male may only turn his back on his family for a few moments at most, but in captivity, a dog may turn his back to his owner for hours at a time.
There are many possible reasons why your dog may be choosing to lay facing away from you, but the most common reason is usually simply that he is relaxing. The first step in understanding his body language is knowing what he considers a sign of dominant behavior and what he considers a sign of submissive behavior.
A dog may show dominant behavior by standing tall and proud, holding his head high, and staring at others. He may also display dominance by trying to move closer to or take control of something that he perceives as valuable. Submissive behavior, on the other hand, is typically exhibited when a dog lowers his body, averts his gaze, and lays his ears back.
If your dog is constantly facing away from you, take a moment to evaluate the situation and try to determine why he may be doing this. There are many reasons why your pup might choose this pose, and each one should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
He Trusts You
Submission in dogs is a natural and necessary part of the relationship between pack members. If your dog perceives you as alpha, he will feel the need to submit in order to maintain the balance of the pack. This is why some dogs may lay facing away from you for hours at a time – it’s his way of showing that he respects and trusts you.
Dogs get stressed just like us, and it is not uncommon for dogs to seek relief by simply laying down with their back facing away from you. This is not necessarily a sign of disrespect, but rather your dog’s way of coping by retreating from his surroundings.
He Wants His Personal Space
Dogs are creatures with their own personal bubbles, or territory. Your attention may be overwhelming or distracting for him. A good stretch in the opposite direction may be just what he needs to feel more at ease. If your dog is normally a cuddler but has suddenly started avoiding contact, it might be a sign that he or she needs some time alone.
If your dog is constantly facing away from you, it may be a sign that he is afraid of you or feels intimidated by your presence. If this is the case, it is important to take steps to make him feel more comfortable around you. Start by establishing yourself as the pack leader, and then work on bonding with your dog through obedience training and other activities.
He Wants To Make You Happy
If your dog turns his back to you during affection, he may do so because he is trying to tell or show you that he likes what you are doing, but that’s all. For example, if your pup lays down facing away from you and you pet him, he may lay there a little longer than usual to make a point that he likes it.
He May Just Be Shy
Your dog might be turning his back on you because he simply feels shy and insecure around you. This is especially the case if your pup has just met you. Work on establishing a positive impression by playing with your dog in an enclosed area. This way, his only option is to stick close by you. Once he feels more comfortable around you, he will likely start to turn his backless.
He May Have Found His Favorite Spot
There’s a good chance that your dog has found his favorite spot in the home and is choosing to claim it by laying it down in a way that blocks access. If you don’t want to get your pup up and out of his spot, simply wait until he goes to the bathroom or leaves for another room. Once he’s gone, you can lay down in his spot yourself to show him that it’s not off-limits.
He Is Being Protective
A dog who chooses to lay down with his back facing you may not necessarily be trying to avoid you. Some dogs will simply do this as a sign of protection. For example, if your dog feels that he needs to protect the home from an intruder, he might try to block access by laying across doorways or blocking certain rooms. He may be looking towards a window or a doorway to indicate that he sees or hears something potentially dangerous.
Should You Be Worried?
There’s no need to worry if your dog is occasionally guilty of turning his back on you. However, if this is a behavior that is consistently exhibited, there may be something more serious going on.
There are many reasons why your dog might choose to lay down with his back facing you, and each instance should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you’re unsure of what your pup is trying to tell you, it never hurts to ask an expert. Your veterinarian or a dog trainer can help you better understand your dog’s body language and what it means when he chooses to face away from you.