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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2808
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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Why do dogs turn their backs? My 5yr old has stated turning

Customer Question

Why do dogs turn their backs? My 5yr old has started turning her back when I stop cuddling or go to stroke her. Or tuning her head away when she lies next to me. She also puts her paw on my hand and licks it at bedtime.Sometimes I feel she doesnt want cuddles or she wants more and is unhappy, is she licking because she is cleaning my hand, she doesnt like me taking it away until she has finished. She is really helpfull when I have periods of illness which I am prone to, bringing post, shoes, pulling laundry from the machines. We are insepperable, but she has to go with a dog walker to play out 3 times a week, she loves him and goes very happily.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I'm Dr. Jo and I'm here to help you with your question about Pippy. I'm so sorry she's got you concerned, but glad you're looking for the information you need.
You may join the conversation at any time by typing in what you want to say then clicking REPLY. That way we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided.
Your very intuitive to realize that body language is HUGE with dogs. They send a lot of messages with their different types of posture.
There are also numerous reasons she may turn her head from you in bed. It could be something as innocuous as she doesn't like the feel or sound of your breathing, or that she doesn't want to have eye contact at that point in time. Keep in mind that even though we tend to gaze into each others' eyes to show affection, that's not the case with dogs. Eye contact is a potential challenge and can make a dog very uncomfortable.
Dogs turn their backs to show they do not wish to interact with you at that time. Please don't take it personally; it's essentially the opposite of an invitation. Remember that our dogs usually have a completely different agenda than ours, and that positive interactions should take place on their terms. Any one of a number of reasons may exist why she doesn't wish to extend you an invitation for an interaction at that time, but it needs to be respected. If you try to push the issue, she'll become even more reluctant to interact with you because -from her point of view - you're being rude.
I know you said you've tried leaving her alone. That's exactly the right thing to do. Please don't misunderstand, however, that there's anything you can do to make her stop doing this. That's not in your control
I am so glad she is of such usefulness to you when you are not doing well. I'm sure she finds that satisfying, too.
I think you sound like someone who would enjoy learning to communicate better with Pippy on *her* terms. In other words, you might enjoy learning to speak Dog.
I'd recommend the following book for you. I think you'd really get a lot out of it. It's called, "How to Behave so Your Dog Behaves" by Sophia Yin. I don't mean to imply that Pippy isn't behaving, it's just a really good book for people who want to learn to better understand the role body language plays when communicating with their dogs.
http://www.amazon.com/How-Behave-Your-Dog-Behaves/dp/0793806445/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432165768&sr=8-1&keywords=sophia+yin
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Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Please rest assured I am here to help.
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Please remember I am here for you and am happy to discuss this with you until you are satisfied with the information I've provided.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you what you said makes perfect sense, what about her licking my hand, she only doesit at bedtime, I go to stroke her head and she loops her paw over my hand and licks it,if I go to move it she tries to stop me or if I stroke her again a minute later she does the same, she likes to lick the whole of my hand then sighs and rests her head down, when I then take my hand away she washes her own paws.

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
I think this sounds like a comforting ritual. She is nurturing you the way a mother dog would nurture her puppies.
You should be flattered. :-)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Bless her, she is such a gorgeous little dog. I am grateful to you for your answers. Relieved I'm not upsetting her. I will get the book you have recommened. Thannk you. Good night.

JudithSmile

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
You're welcome. Thank you for using our website. I hope you enjoy the book.

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