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Why does my dog lower its ears when I pet it?

Many times, we wish our dog could talk to better understand what he wants to tell us. But animals have their own language and use a rich body communication system that allows them to socialize with their peers and interact with the environment around them.

Our dog’s body transmits a lot of information about his state of mind, his health and how he interprets the world. Surely, you will already know that his tail and ears acquire a different position according to the emotions he experiences and the stimuli he perceives. To know why your dog lowers his ears when you pet him, we invite you to continue reading this article.


Why do dogs put their ears back when we caress them?

Dogs move their ears back in the middle of a caressing session as a sign of calm that indicates well-being, complacency or liking. They can also do it to ask for mimes or food, and even when we are angry with them after some misdeed. It’s his way of saying “please, stop.”

It can happen that our dog is especially scary, in this case, if we also observe that it is relaxing, that it shrinks its body or that it hides its tail backwards, it means that the caresses are too abrupt. In this case he acquires a position of fear to ask us to be careful, he is afraid.

But in any case, if our dog moves its ears back when it is quiet, it is that it asks your attention to receive the caresses that you want. And what do you expect to give him all your affection?


What do the different positions of the canine ears convey?

Here we show the meaning of the position of the ears in a dog so that, in general, learn to better interpret their body language:

  • Erect and slightly forward leaning ears:

Indicate that the dog pays attention to some stimulus and tries to interpret its meaning. If the stimulus captures much of your attention, the animal can move its heads on both sides.


  • Erect and very leaning forward ears:

The dog is very alert. It can also show an offensive attitude towards any stimulus or other animal. If, in addition, the animal stares, wrinkles its snout and shows its teeth, it is preparing to attack.


  • Erect ears, tail up and body leaning forward:

This offensive position usually indicates that the dog is very alert and ready to attack. It can occur when one dog is dominant with another. We could also observe bristly hair, rigid limbs and very dilated pupils.


  • Ears back:

A dog usually picks up his ears when he feels fear or insecurity. If the animal also bends its head, puts the tail between the legs, and has the eyes half-open, it means that it is quite scared.


  • Ears back and body crouched:

If we observe the dog with the ears back, the body bent, the bristly coat and the mouth very open, the dog is showing a posture of defensive aggressiveness.


As we have explained, each dog has unique ears and special characteristics. We must be able to differentiate a “relaxed” position that the animal acquires when it is quiet from those that reveal some type of communication. This may be difficult to interpret in some races.


Knowing better the ears of our dog

Some breeds are world famous for their very long drooping ears, like the basset hound, while others are loved by small, erect ears, like the chihuahua. The fact is that each dog owns unique ears in its format, fur, size and color.

Next, we invite you to learn more about the ears and hearing of our best friends through 6 interesting curiosities:

  • Dogs have more than 18 muscles in their ears: the developed musculature of their ears allows dogs to develop a huge range of movements and positions that demonstrate their state of mind in the face of different stimuli proposed by their environment.


  • The ears of the dog are associated with the balance of your body: as with humans, the ears of dogs also play a fundamental role in the balance of your body. Therefore, many infections that affect the inner ear often lead to problems of balance and locomotion.


  • Dogs can hear up to 4 times better than humans: our beloved furry ones have a very privileged hearing and listen to higher frequencies than us, but not as high as those that felines can detect. This explains why many whistles that are imperceptible to us can arouse the attention of our pets.


  • Dogs tilt their head to expand their hearing range: it may seem that they do so to be totally irresistible, but by tilting their head, dogs can better distinguish sounds from a distance.


  • The puppies are born deaf: at birth, the puppies still have the covered ear canal and only begin to listen after the first weeks of life.


  • Dogs use their ears to express themselves and communicate: our best friends did not develop the ability to speak, but they are able to communicate perfectly with people, with other animals and with the environment in which they find themselves. Your ears, your tail, your facial expressions, your posture are instruments of socialization, learning and communication.

All this makes us reaffirm the importance of condemning and combating the practices of aesthetic mutilation that, for many years, predominated in the purity standard of certain races. When cutting the tail and ears of a dog, we deprive them of two fundamental tools for the development of their physical, emotional and social skills.

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