Why Puppies Like to Lay on Their Backs

by Perfect Puppy Care on May 17, 2012

Puppies like to lay on their backs because they get instant “air conditioning” in this particular position. Young dogs even sleep on their backs sometimes, with their four legs sticking up in the air, which may look quite uncomfortable to observing human beings.

Since young canines have a tendency to overheat easily (especially when they’ve been very active), they often find that laying on their backs (with their legs splayed out) is a quick and easy way to cool down. In a nutshell, this type of behaviour is perfectly normal, and it’s nothing that you should worry about. Your canine pal is just doing standard puppy things and enjoying a little cool air on his or her belly.

Sometimes, it’s really cute to watch an adorable little puppy lay on his back with his four legs pointed up. However, you may wonder if this position is somehow harmful to your dog, especially when he or she is sleeping. You should know that no puppy yet has been injured by assuming this sort of position while relaxing or snoozing.

Sometimes, puppies that lay on their backs are simply looking for a belly rub from their loving owners. You may use this signal as a cue to give your loyal and loving puppy friend a little TLC that makes him or her feel wonderful.

Dogs Lay On Their Backs to Signal Submission

Since canines are pack creatures, they may use the “laying on their backs” position to signal a sense of submission. Pack animals look for leaders (alpha dogs), and they follow these leaders faithfully. When your puppy is laying on his or her back, he or she is saying, “I know my place. You are the leader now.”

Out in the wild, puppies don’t exhibit this position. When your pet lays down in this manner, he or she is telling you that he or she is comfortable with you and with living in your home. In nature, wild puppies would never feel secure enough to lay like this, because it would put them in a prone position that made them a target for a range of dangerous predators.

You’ve created a nice, safe place for your puppy to live, and he or she feels safe enough with you to dispense with defensive body language. When you think about it, this is kind of sweet. It means that you are doing your job and making your new pet very happy.

The only exception to this rule is when you puppy has his or her hands crossed over the chest area. Just as people do, dogs show their emotions through their body language, and covering the chest is a protective gesture which indicates that Fido would really prefer to be alone for a while.

Puppies are nervous little animals, and they do get tense quite quickly. Little noises or (conversely) too much peace and quiet may unnerve your young canine and make him or her become a little bit defensive. If your pup crosses his or her arms over the chest area quite a bit, try to soothe him or her with your own voice, your touch, and maybe a nice rawhide chew stick.

As you can see, a puppy that lays on his or her back is telling a story about his or her own feelings and thoughts. Your pup is an intelligent animal with plenty of emotional range and complexity, and this is such a beautiful thing. When you learn how to read your young dog’s body language, you will be one step closer to creating a special bond that lasts for many, many years.

If your dog lays on his or her back a lot, possibly to cool down, you may want to consider setting up fans in your home or turning on the air conditioning. By monitoring your puppy and adjusting your strategy based on the temperature on any given day or night, you will be taking the best possible care of your little friend.

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