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Why Does My Dog Act Submissive?

Behavior Submissive Socialization Training Modification
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Here is the revised article focused on submissive dog behavior with the requested formatting changes:

Submissive Dog Behavior: Understanding and Addressing It


Is your dog displaying submissive behavior? Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or just starting out, understanding and addressing submissive behavior in dogs requires careful observation, patience, and a deep understanding of canine communication. In this article, we’ll cover everything from recognizing submissive behavior to building confidence and addressing underlying issues.

What is Submissive Behavior in Dogs?

Submissive behavior in dogs is a way for them to communicate that they are not a threat and to avoid conflict. Common signs of submissive behavior include:

  • Lowered head and body posture
  • Tucked tail
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Rolling over to expose the belly
  • Urination when excited or anxious

While some submissive behavior is normal, excessive or persistent submissive behavior can indicate underlying issues such as fear, anxiety, or lack of confidence.

Building Confidence: Socialization, Training, and Positive Reinforcement

Helping your dog build confidence is key to addressing submissive behavior. Here’s how you can help:

  • Socialize your dog with people, dogs, and new environments to reduce fear and anxiety.
  • Use positive reinforcement training techniques to reward confident behavior.
  • Avoid punishing or scolding your dog for submissive behavior, as this can make the problem worse.

Recognizing Signs of Fear or Anxiety

Excessive submissive behavior can be a sign of fear or anxiety. Here are some other signs to watch out for:

  • Trembling or shaking
  • Panting or drooling
  • Hiding or trying to escape
  • Destructive behavior

If you suspect your dog is struggling with fear or anxiety, consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer for guidance.

Creating a Safe and Comfortable Environment

Providing a safe and comfortable environment can help reduce submissive behavior and build confidence. Here are some tips:

  • Provide a quiet, safe space for your dog to retreat to when feeling overwhelmed.
  • Use calming aids such as pheromone diffusers or calming chews to reduce anxiety.
  • Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to reduce stress.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your dog’s submissive behavior is severe or persistent, it may be time to seek professional help. Here are some signs that it’s time to consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer:

  • Submissive behavior that interferes with daily life or causes distress to your dog
  • Aggression or fear-based behavior that poses a safety risk
  • Inability to make progress with training and behavior modification techniques


With patience, understanding, and the right approach, you can help your dog overcome submissive behavior and build confidence. Remember to stay calm, positive, and consistent in your interactions with your dog. If you’re unsure how to proceed or need additional support, don’t hesitate to consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer.


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