Dogs have many tell-tale signs about what's going on with their moods and general well-being. So if you're asking yourself, why are my dog's ears back, read on to find out just what your canine is trying to tell you.
Why Are My Dog's Ears Back? It Could Be Aggression
When a dog's ears are flat and stiffly against its head, this is usually a sign of being extremely fearful to the point of aggression. Something has provoked this pup into feeling like it's being threatened and it is willing to lash out if necessary. Don't mistake this ear position for being submissive, as you may end up getting bitten.
Other signs to look for in an aggressive ear position
- Wrinkled nose and forehead
- Tail is straight out from the body
- Raised hackles
- Slightly curled lips with teeth and/or gums showing
- Dog may be growling, snarling or snapping its jaws
Why Are My Dog's Ears Back? It Could Be Anxiety
A dog with its ears down and partially flattened is telling you it is suffering from anxiety. This could have been brought on by its immediate circumstances or something from its past has trigger the behavior.
Dogs that have been abused or mistreated often times will demonstrate this action. Canine's in this state may quickly lash out as a defensive measure.
Other signs to look for in an anxious dog
- Whining or moaning
- An aversion to people, objects or certain noises (ie thunder).
- Rapid panting
- Dilated pupils
Why Are My Dogs Ears Back? It Could Be Submission
When the dog's ears are flattened against its head and only moderately down, it is exhibiting a submissive behavior and may also be experiencing fear. This pooch is trying to avoid a conflict and is showing its earnest desire to submit.
Again, this behavior is often exhibited in dog's that have experienced abuse or a scary situation that has lead it to submit and not react in aggression.
Other signs to look for in a submissive dog
- Closed eyes
- Tucked tail
- Drawn back mouth
- Possible shaking (depending on the severity of the situation)
- Raised paw
Why Are My Dog's Ears Back? It Could Be Getting Ready to Flee
Dog's and other living creatures live under the "fight or flight" rule. If your dog's ears are flat against its head, it may be in the first stages of fleeing the situation.
Watch for these other signs
- Eyes rolled back with possible whites showing
- Mouth is slightly open
- May be drooling
- Tense and shivering, poised to run
- Tail is low or between its legs
Why Are My Dogs Ears Back? It Could Just Be Relaxed
When a dog's ears are only slightly back, but hanging loose, it is experiencing a relaxed and happy state-of-mind. This canine is comfortable in its environment, feels safe and is only mildly interested in what's going on around it.
Other signs to look for in a relaxed dog
- Relaxed tail which can be slightly raised
- Loose mouth that may be slightly open
- Relaxed stance
Why Are My Dog's Ears Back? It Could Be an Ear Infection
Ear infections in dogs can be caused by bacteria, yeast, mites, excessive hair or moisture in the ear canal, allergies and hypothyroidism.
Although dogs with floppy ears are more prone to infections, erect-eared dogs can also come down with this ailment. If you think your pooch may have an ear infection, be sure to contact your veterinarian.
Some other symptoms of ear infections in dogs
- Loss of balance
- Foul smell coming from ears
- Head tilting or shaking
- Excessive scratching of the ears
- Swelling and redness
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- Scabs or crustiness in the ear
Now You Know
Our dogs may not be able to talk, but their body and ear language speak volumes.
Knowing your dog's signs of aggression, anxiety, submission, getting ready to flee and being relaxed will help you to know how to better handle the situations when they arise.