Why do dogs place their heads above the backs of other dogs?

  • One behavior I often observe with my dogs is that they'll put their heads on or above the backs of other dogs.

    Why do they do this?

    Could you clarify what you are observing? Is this happening all the time? Are the dogs calm or excited? Standing, laying down, running?

    It usually means trust. If another dog lets this dog put his on on his back, especially while behind him,or out of line of sight, it means he trusts the other dog with his life, literally. Like a handshake.

  • Chris

    Chris Correct answer

    8 years ago

    This is an attempt to assert dominance over other dogs.

    In the dog world, simple behaviors are used to display dominance over each other. For instance, have you ever seen two dogs stare at each other until one looks away? They are intimidating one another to establish a pecking-order.

    Other aggressive/dominant behaviors that dogs display (and you can watch out for them)

    • Walking in front means you're the boss
    • Standing on or pushing people/dogs
    • eye contact or "staring"
    • humping other dogs is a sign of dominance (even females will do this)

    There are many others, see this link for more details

    I think this is a different behavior. This seems like it might be more of a pack acceptance behavior. I will ask the OP to clarify.

    It's very common for a dog to go up to another and put his chin on the dog's back. If this behavior isn't met with aggression, often the second step is trying to mount the dog. It's not "aggressive" so much as it is dominant

    I get what you are saying but I am wondering if this is a different behavior. There is a neck to neck/body type of behavior that is pack acceptance. I am not sure which behavior the OP is asking about though.

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