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Why Does My Dog Bow?

Why Does My Dog Bow?

If you’ve ever seen your dog bow, you’ve probably wondered what they were doing and why they were doing it. Is there meaning behind this gesture? What is my dog trying to communicate when he bows? 

Understanding your dog’s body language is a key part of communicating with your dog. Knowing what different gestures mean can make it easier to communicate with your dog. Learn more about why your dog bows! 

What the Bow Looks Like 

When a dog bows, he will stretch his front legs out in front of him while leaning down on his elbows and keeping his chest low to the ground. It almost appears like your dog may be about to lie down, but his rear end will be pushed up into the air. This posture makes your dog look like he is bowing. 

What It Means

A bow is a form of dog body language. When your dog bows, he is trying to communicate to you or other animals that he is ready to have some fun. The bow is the universal sign for “let’s play!” It’s a common and normal posture for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. 

Often referred to as the “play bow,” this gesture is a dog’s way of inviting you or another dog to play. When your dog meets a new dog, animal, or person, he may offer a bow as a friendly gesture. It’s an important way of communicating between dogs, as it lets another dog know that his intentions are friendly. He is simply ready for some fun and games! 

According to The Spruce Pets, many dog behaviorists believe that the bow is a way to signal that any actions taken after the bow are friendly. Because dogs can appear to get a little rough sometimes, the bow is a way to communicate that the dogs are simply playing and not being aggressive. 

Dogs of all statuses will use this gesture to communicate and make friends with other dogs. Dominant dogs can present play bows to lower-ranked dogs and vice versa. The bow is also a good way for you to tell whether dogs are being playful or fighting. If you see the play bow, you can be assured that they are probably just playing. 

Other Possible Meanings

There are a couple of other possible meanings for the bowing gesture. If dogs are playing and one accidentally gets a little too rough, he may get into the bow posture to communicate that it was an accident and he wants to keep playing. 

Another possible explanation for this gesture takes place between a male and female as part of the mating ritual. It can be a friendly gesture as a male tries to win over a female in heat.

 If your dog bows immediately after waking up from a nap, he may be simply stretching his muscles. Your dog stretches to loosen and warm up his muscles so that he is ready for activity. 

Speaking Your Dog’s Language

Dog owners may wonder if they can communicate with their dog by using the play bow themselves. And the answer is yes! Although you may feel foolish, communicating with your dog with a play bow is the perfect way to get your furry friend excited to play. Plus, it’s great for encouraging your dog to exercise, which is important for keeping your pet at a healthy weight and keeping his heart healthy. 

How You Can Play Bow 

Not sure how you can play bow to your dog? Well, there are actually a couple of different ways. First, you can get down on your dog’s level by getting down on all fours. Then simply stretch your arms in front of you, lean down on your elbows with your chest low to the ground, and push your rear end up into the air. This stance is sure to get your dog’s attention and let him know that you are ready to play. 

Another way you can play bow is from a standing position. This stance may be less obvious to your dog, but it can also be a lot easier for people. While in the standing position, drop your chest while bending at the hips, and then spread your arms out. If your dog isn’t getting the hint, simply start running or throwing a ball and that should do the trick. 

Whichever method you take, the key is to be excited as well as swift and quick in your movements. When dogs bow, they often make sharp movements while obviously displaying their excitement and happiness. 

The next time you want to play with your dog, speak his language with a play bow!

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