If your dog has been burying its head between your legs, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog bury its head between my legs? Possible reasons why your dog buries its head between your legs are that it has separation anxiety, it is spreading its scent, something is causing it to be fearful, or it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded.
There are multiple possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons why your dog buries its head between your legs
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.
The reason why it does it might be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely to be the reason if your dog tends to do it more when you are about to leave home and if it gets anxious when you are leaving.
Another possible reason why it has been doing it could be that something has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it has been doing it more at a certain time when it is more likely to be fearful such as when there are noises outside or when you are outside and near other animals.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause might also be that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it buries its head between your legs, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Dogs evolved as pack animals so they will naturally feel safer when they are around other dogs in the pack or people. The reason why your dog buries its head between your legs could be that it makes it feel safer.
To spread its scent
It might also be the case that it does it in order to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs don’t approach you. This would be more likely if it can get overly protective when you are around other dogs, if it tends to bury its head into you when you are standing up and when you are near other animals.
Things to consider
Below are a number of things to consider when figuring out the main cause.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always do it, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something causing it to start being fearful or you stopped being around it as often.
What is different when your dog buries its head between your legs
It would also help to consider the timing of when it does it since the timing might also have something to do with it. For example, if it tends to do it more when you are leaving home, it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider the body language it shows when doing it. If it shows signs of being relaxed, it would be more likely to be that it is being affectionate or doing it because it finds it comfortable. Whereas, if it shows signs of being anxious, such as by hiding its tail or whining, it would be more likely that something is causing it to be anxious or submissive.
What to do about your dog burying its head between your legs
Below are a number of things you can do when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might have learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it, with things such as attention, when it does not.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
If your dog has been showing signs of being anxious, it would also help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious. Things to do could include feeding it, letting it pee and exercising it before leaving it and letting it stay in a room that is not too loud and where it can lay down.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to try to redirect its focus towards something else whenever it is about to bury its head between your legs. Things to redirect its focus towards could include toys or a bone. Doing this could get it out of the habit of burying its head into you.
Give it another place to go
It would also help to give it another place to lay down so that it is less likely to come and bury its head between your legs.