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Dog body language

March 11th, 2007, 07:38 PM
When a dog gets down on his front legs (butt up in the air) is that usually playful or is it also a defensive move? I'm trying to figure out if Bourbon was trying to play w/ another dog or was being defensive. He didnt growl, but he did bark. He was muzzled (for the other dog's protection) so I couldnt tell if his lips were curled up.

What do you think?

March 11th, 2007, 07:42 PM
I think the play bow almost always means, "Hey, come and play and lets just have some fun, nothing serious OK."

March 11th, 2007, 07:45 PM
Doing that is known as the "play bow". Its a playful move, not defensive.

March 11th, 2007, 07:46 PM
Yeah it sounds like a play bow to me too.

March 11th, 2007, 08:22 PM
Did it look like the pic of Lukka in her mom's avatar? Or like this? (the pic is titled "Play With Me"). What about the tail, was it wagging? Willow curls her lip, barks, and growls during play. (

March 11th, 2007, 10:47 PM
yep that's what it looked like. dont know about the tail it was behind me. He was on his leash beside me. I was hoping it was playful, because dogs do that thing when they play, but because animals in the wild play w/ siblings, they are practicing for hunting and defence, so that's why I was wondering. so this means YAY my pup actually tried to play w/ another dog. this is great progress for him. He's play with one dog once since we've had him.

March 12th, 2007, 10:46 AM
As others have said, play. Also, about the only time my dog barks is when he's playing... Great progress for your dog!! :thumbs up

March 12th, 2007, 03:12 PM
yeah my dogs do it to almost every dog they meet as aplayful hello

March 12th, 2007, 04:27 PM
here is a good pictorial on dog body language (facial expressions & whole body): :thumbs up

March 12th, 2007, 07:49 PM
Sounds like he was just playing. I have noticed it in many dogs.

- Brighton did that move in the dog store when she saw a lawn ornament dog in the same position. Then she was sad when it didn't move.

March 13th, 2007, 03:29 AM
Sounds like bowing... But if the ears and tail go down, it's defensive... But that's usually more of a crouch than a bow...:o