By Paula Sunday:
It’s not always easy to interpret dog behavior. What is your pet trying to say?
“Our dog is friendly with everybody, but recently he’s begun to roll over and show his tummy when my husband comes near him. What’s going on?”
To better understand this particular behavior, consider this:
When a dog shows its tummy, it can mean several things. He might be a little afraid or he might simply want his belly rubbed and is training your husband. If he simply loves his tummy rubs, it’s up to you how much of your day you want to devote to it.
If he’s afraid, he will probably exhibit this type of dog behavior when he sees other men. Men have a different body language and voice tone that can be intimidating to dogs. When a dog shows its tummy, it’s a sign of respect and submission. If your dog is afraid, he’ll show other behaviors. He might seem tense. He won’t look relaxed. He probably won’t want to stay there.
Here’s how to help a dog who seems to do this because he is fearful or insecure:
First, don’t stare at the dog, Believe it not, staring at a dog in dog language is rude and confrontational. So it’s best to look slightly to one side or the other. Approach your dog casually and turn a bit to the side before he starts to roll over. Bend your knees so you’re not stiff.
While the dog is standing, with your palm up, reach as though you’re going to pat his chest. Go gently. Stop if your dog seems fearful, and let him come to you. He will. Keep it up and you’ve just helped your dog become more confident.
Paula Sunday, co- author of the dog behavior book ARL Iowa For Love of Dogs specializes in offering support to dog owners and teaching them positive training techniques. She offers answers to dog behavior questions, tips on understanding dogs’ needs and communication, and helps humans bond with their pets to keep them in their homes forever.