Last updated

Submissive Dog Behavior

Dog Behavior.

You may have heard of submissive dog behavior, but what does this mean, and does your dog show it?

There is a range of different behaviors that can indicate your dog is submissive and there are also more submissive dog breeds too. Dominant and submissive actions are a way for dogs to communicate with each other and they come from primal instincts. While they are usually harmless, sometimes these behaviors can be a problem for owners.

Want to know if your dog is submissive? Read on to find out.

Why Are Some Dogs Submissive?

When it comes to submissive dog meaning, the term submissive tends to be overanalyzed and it can freak owners out. Submissive dog behavior is usually seen when a pup is scared or feeling threatened. If your dog is submissive, its behavior may change around more aggressive dogs. These behavioral changes may be triggered by storms, loud noises, or even past abuse. For some, it might just be a genetic response too.

Dog behavior and christmas tree.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Submissive?

Do you have a suspicion your dog might be submissive? Here are some key behavioral signs to look out for.

Submissive Peeing

An unfortunate side effect of submissive behavior is dog submissive peeing, also known as excitement urination. This is seen a lot in puppies, but it also happens with adult dogs too. This may occur when another dog or person approaches them and it can indicate your dog is scared or threatened. Luckily, there are various submissive peeing dog training methods to help you get this frustrating behavior under control.

Submissive Dog Body Language

If your dog is more submissive, they may indicate this with common submissive dog body language. If you think your dog might be more submissive, look out for these body language signs:

  • They ignore direct eye contact. This sometimes feels like a threat to dogs.
  • They may expose their abdomen, though this can also be a sign they want comfort or to play.
  • If their ears flatten it could indicate they are threatened or scared.
  • A lowered body position and tail. This can show that the dog is apprehensive about a person or another dog.

Dog Submissive Smile

Another key sign of submission is the dog submission smile. If you see your dog grinning with its teeth out and their body posture is submissive, this is a clear sign that they are feeling threatened and want to appear more approachable.

Submissive Dog Behavior with Humans

If your dog shows submissive actions in response to you or other humans, this could indicate that they respect you. It can also be their way of showing affection too. Unless your dog is visibly scared, submissive behavior around humans shows that they are comfortable in your presence. If your dog sees you as the dominant figure in the relationship there isn’t anything to worry about.


While some submissive behaviors aren’t a cause for concern, some might be frustrating. There are lots of training methods to stop submissive dog peeing and other signs of submission can be ignored unless your dog is visibly stressed. If you have any doubts about the behavior, make sure you consult a professional or a veterinarian to get a second opinion!

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand your dog’s behavior well, however, if there are any other topics you want to understand better let us know in the comments.


Worried about submissive dog behavior? Here are the most common questions about the behavior.

How To Stop Submission Peeing in Dogs

Dog submissive peeing can be frustrating, but luckily there is a way to manage this unwanted action. Avoid yelling or scolding your pup after it has peed. Instead, try to use positive reinforcement to build its confidence when it follows simple commands instead. Submissive peeing dog training involves a lot of patience, but it’s the most effective way to fix the issue.

Is It Bad to Have a Submissive Dog?

Often, submissive dog behavior doesn’t mean your pup is 100% submissive. It can sometimes show other dogs that they’re not a threat, which is a good thing. Some research also indicates that submissive dog breeds are easier to manage, another potential benefit if you struggle with dogs that don’t listen.

Tags: pet grooming supplies, dog whistle frequency, parmesan cheese for dogs, tall dog fence, why do dogs grind their teeth, is dog food safe for cats, best dog playpen, best clicker for dog training, can dogs eat rice, puppy potty pad