8 Reasons Why Dogs Put Their Ears Back

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Do you ever wonder why dogs put their ears back? It can be a bit of a mystery, especially since there are so many different reasons why they might do it.

In this blog post, we will explore eight of the most common reasons why dogs put their ears back.

We will also why it's important to understand these body language cues and discuss what you can do to help your dog feel more comfortable when they aren't.


Dogs can use their ears to express a variety of emotions


A dog's ears can convey quite a fair bit of information to us - those listeners alone can tell us if someone is near our doors, and whether the unknown person is friendly or not.

When combined with other body languages (like their tails, posture and heckles), we can determine quite a fair bit of information of what the dog is thinking.

And that's not by chance - we humans have lived with dogs for so long, we actually understand them on an instinctive level! (source)

But that said, it's still important to learn to read these body language cues, as they can provide valuable information about your dog's emotional state now.



Happiness


One of the most common reasons why dogs might put their ears back is because they're feeling happy!

When a dog is feeling content and safe, they'll often have their ears up and forward. This lets everyone know that they're friendly and approachable.

However, when a dog gets really excited or playful, their ears will often go back as well.

This usually happens as a sign of submission - in other words, the dog is letting the other know that it doesn't want to fight or assert dominance. (source)


Fear


Another common reasons why dogs put their ears back is because they're feeling scared or fearful.

When a dog feels threatened, they'll often go into what's called the "fight or flight response", just like in humans when in a tense situation.

During this time, the body will do everything it can to help the dog survive - one of which can be putting their ears back to make them look smaller and less threatening.

Dogs might also put their ears back when they hear loud noises, such as fireworks or thunder.

This is because those sounds can be really scary for them and cause them a lot of anxiety.


Anxiety


Dogs might also put their ears back when they're feeling anxious.

This can be due to a variety of things, such as being in an unfamiliar environment, meeting new people or other animals, or hearing loud noises.

When a dog is feeling anxious, they'll often exhibit a number of different behaviors - including putting their ears back.

If your dog seems to be constantly anxious, it might be worth talking to your veterinarian about it - there might be something that's causing them stress and the vet may be able to help pinpoint it.


Sadness


Just like people, dogs can also experience sadness.

One sign of this is when they put their ears back and down. This usually happens when a dog has lost a loved one or when they're not feeling well.

It's important to remember that just because a dog is sad doesn't mean that they don't love you anymore!

... Though giving time some extra TLC to help them feel better.



Contentment


Dogs might also put their ears back when they're feeling content and relaxed.

This usually happens when a dog is lying down in a comfortable spot, such as next to their owner or in the sun.

It's a way for them to show that they're not threatened and feel safe and secure.


Pain


Another reason why dogs might put their ears back is because they're in pain.

This can be due to a variety of things, such as an injury, illness, infections or even just being too hot.

If your dog seems to be in pain, it's important to take them to the vet as soon as possible so that they can get the treatment they need.


Listening


Some dogs might put their ears back when they're trying to listen carefully.

This can be for a number of reasons, such as trying to figure out where a sound is coming from or trying to identify a scent.

When a dog does this, it usually means that they're really interested in what's going on and want to learn more.

Also, this sometimes gives their signature head tilt - super adorable with floppy ears!


Warning or aggression


Lastly, dogs might put their ears back when they're feeling aggressive or threatened.

This usually happens when a dog is trying to assert dominance or when they feel like they're in danger.

If you see your dog putting their ears back in this way, it's important to be careful and make sure that they don't get too agitated.

It's also a good idea to learn more about why your dog might be feeling this way so that you can help them feel better.



Ears and other body positions



Dogs use their ears, along with other body positions, to communicate how they're feeling.

So, if you see your dog putting their ears back, it's important to take into account what else they're doing and try to figure out why.

Are they also panting or licking their lips? Are their tails down or between their legs?

Or are their tails wagging and in the play bow position?

All of these things can give you clues as to why your dog might be putting their ears back.



Conclusion


There are a number of different reasons why dogs put their ears back.

It's important to try to figure out why your dog is doing it so that you can help them feel better.

If you're ever unsure, it's always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about it. They'll be able to give you more information and help you figure out what's going on.



about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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