If your dog has been lowering its head to the ground, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what your options are when dealing with the behavior.
So, why does my dog lower his head to the ground? Common reasons why dogs lower their heads to the ground are that they are being submissive, they think they’re in trouble, intimidation, depression, or injury.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Reasons why your dog lowers its head to the ground
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
The reason why your dog has been lowering its head to the ground could be that it is being submissive. This would be more likely if your dog has been avoiding looking at you when you have been looking at it yourself. It would also be more likely if it also shows other submissive behavior by doing things such as making itself appear smaller, moving away from you and hiding its tail.
It thinks it’s in trouble
The cause might also be that it thinks it is in trouble. This would be more likely if it tends to avoid looking at you when you are annoyed with it or when it has done something naughty.
In this case, it would help to try to change its behavior with the use of positive reinforcement training or Nothing In Life Is Free dog training instead of using a fear-based approach.
The cause could also be that your actions have been intimidating it. This would be more likely if you tend to approach it in an aggressive manner, you shout at it a lot or make large movements around it. Instead, it would help to be calm around it and to change its behavior with training.
The cause might also be that something has caused it to be depressed. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, since an event that might have caused it to get depressed, and if it has been behaving differently in other ways as well.
Another possible cause is that it has gotten an injury and it has been lowering its head to the ground due to pain from the injury or weakness. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, if it has been doing it excessively and if it has even been doing it when excited. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always lower its head to the ground, 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 getting an injury, submissiveness or becoming fearful of something.
What is different when your dog lowers his head to the ground
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog does it since the timing might also have something to do with it. For example, if it does it when a certain person or animal is around it could be the case that the person or animal causes it to feel fearful.
What to do about your dog lowering its head to the ground
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards when it lowers its head to the ground. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to avoid giving it things such as extra attention or treats when it does not.
Take it to a vet
If you cannot figure out why your dog has been doing it or it has been showing signs of injury, the best option would be to take your dog to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to an injury.
Be calm with it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your own behavior has been causing it to get intimidated. It would help to interact with your dog in a calm manner and to try to get it to behave the way you want it to with positive reinforcement training instead of fear-based methods.
Why does my dog lower his head when I pet him?
Two likely reasons why your dog lowers his head when you pet him are that he is being submissive or because you press down too hard when petting him. It would help to make sure to pet your dog calmly and to not press down too hard. Alternatively, you could try petting your dog differently such as below the chin.