When Do Dogs Tuck Ears Back?


Animals communicate with us in ways they can: sounds, body, facial expressions. Without speech, they try to show their feelings and desires as they can. The owner should try to understand the pet, so we are sure he/she’ll be interested in how to “read” the movement of the tail and ears. For example, if a dog tucks ears and wags its tail – what does it mean? What is it, a demonstration of joy or fright?

How to Understand that a Dog Is Angry?

Animals may find things and behaviors threatening even when a person does not have any evil intent. A dog may express its hostility not only by growling, but also through facial expressions and movements. The pet bends down, dogs always tuck earslifts the upper lip, showing teeth, and lowers head below. Before a fight the dog tucks ears back to protect them from bites.

There is a lot of nerve endings and blood vessels, the ear wound is very painful and dangerous, as the blood will fill the eyes and interfere with seeing the enemy. So, a dog who growls, bends down pressing his ears to his head, and looks straight in the eyes is an animal which is ready to attack. You should slowly look away in order to demonstrate your unwillingness to engage in a fight.

Demonstration of Fright

A dog tucks ears not only because of anger, but also when frightened. The pet wants to avoid bites, to protect itself, but at the same time tries to show with its whole body that it is not an enemy. The animal will tighten, lower the head and put its tail between legs. With a very strong fright and horror, even a big dog petrifies, and freezes with a look dogs constantly tuck earsaside and ears pressed to the head. You will understand that everything is good when the pet will raise the ears and start to look for the owner, instead of sitting and trying to seem inconspicuous.

When dogs tuck ears in one and the same ordinary situation or in the presence of any human, this means, that the pet is experiencing a short fright only in this moment. There is some kind of stimulus, which it cannot help but react. When it comes to a person, it is likely that he/she has once mistreated an animal or the pet finds dangerous the smell coming from the person. At the same time, the animal does not feel confident enough even for a defensive position. To rid the pet from constant stress, you should determine what is it afraid of, why it feels weak and defenseless, and to rectify the situation. The dog should feel strong and protected in the house it lives.

How Does a Pet Show Joy?

It’s very easy to notice and interpret such behavior of the animal as joy and love. A four-legged friend will lick its lips and try to lick its hand. The pet can bark and even whimper or squeal. Of course, it will swish its tail – everyone dogs tuck ears backknows that this is the most striking indicator of mood. From an overabundance of positive feelings even quite adult dogs stamp their legs and spin around.

When expressing its love, a dog presses its ears down, licks the lips, swishes its tail and presses one front paw, trying to snuggle closer and looking for the affection of the owner. This behavior cannot be confused with fear or with hostility. Playing with other animals, puppies behave in the same way – they raise and lower their ears. In this way the pet shows the change of mood from playfulness to friendliness. The same can be seen in excited pet: the animal will lower its standing protruding ears only when its beloved master touches its head. He’ll still remain skeptical until the stimulus vanishes.

Other Reasons

Ears pressed to the head can also indicate that the animal is cold. In this way the pet tries to reduce heat loss. Lowering the ears, closing the eyes and turning away-these features are also a reaction to the bright light. You should avoid blinding flashlights or too much light in the place of the dog’s rest. Nervous breakdowns may develop because of the constant stress.

The ears will be permanently tucked in certain diseases. Not pressed back, but rather hung down. This happens due to pain and inflammation in the ear canal and the dog tries to cover it this way. This is not an indicator of any emotion, but only a physiological symptom of a disease. For example, mite, fungal infection, otitis media. The skin can be hot to the touch, swollen. It is necessary to examine the pet and go to the veterinarian for scraping or smear to determine the exact cause of irritation.

By pressing its ears back to the head, the animal expresses different emotions: joy and love, fear and uncertainty, hostility and readiness for self-defense. Only together with other ways to “speak” (facial expressions, sounds, body movements) we can understand what is happening. If the pet’s ears are constantly lowered, and the animal shakes its head, then the reason may be not emotions, but the presence of a disease, for example, otitis media.

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