What It Means When Dogs Ears Are Back?

Your dog’s body language can tell you a great deal about your dog’s mood and how he wants you to respond. For example, if your dog is anxious or uncomfortable in a particular situation, he may well display this anxiety or discomfort by tensing up his body.

This is often his way of letting you know that he is feeling anxious or overwhelmed and that something needs to be done about it. A dog’s body language includes a wide range of signals that he uses to communicate.

Among these signs, one is, “Dog’s ears going back”. And in this article, we will talk specifically about the topic, What It Means When Dogs Ears Are Back?

If your dog has back-pedaled, arching its ears, or is stiffening up, it is an indication that it is feeling anxious. The ears should drop when your dog is relaxed or feels comfortable.

Ears that stay back or are pointed downward are signs of submission or fear. The position of the ears can change when your dog is feeling relaxed or submissive. This is especially common when the dog is startled, experiencing a high-stress situation, or when is nervous.

If you see a dog with its ears back, you can pet it a bit to try to relax it. But make sure you don’t pet the dog too hard, or it may startle and run. You can also try to soothe the dog by talking to it.

Once you’ve worked out why the dog is going into alert posture and how to soothe it, you can start working on decreasing the anxiety that led to the alert posture in the first place.

We will discuss this behavior of the dog in a little more detail below:

What it means when dogs ears are back?

Some dogs may be warning you that they have detected something dangerous or unwanted, while others may be feeling stressed out.

He may be alerting you to sounds in the environment that he perceives as dangerous or threatening, or he may be just trying to express boredom.

When a dog’s ears go back they are often associated with fear, anxiety, or stress. If your dog has ears back but doesn’t appear to be threatening you, it may just mean that he is stressed out.

It is important to know the signs and know how to respond to your dog if it is showing signs of anxiety. Understanding the signs and responding to them appropriately would help you form a close bond with them too.

What it means when dogs ears are back (2)

Reasons behind dog’s ears going back are:

  1. Some dogs interpret being confronted by a larger, more dominant animal as a sign of submission, your dog perceives it as a threat.
  2. It’s his reaction to unpleasing, loud, or sharp noises.
  3. It may be an indication of pain.
  4. The dog may be feeling uncomfortable when it’s new in an environment or finds the setting strange.
  5. The dog is feeling scared or submissive.

Is it bad if a dog’s ears go back often?

If it happens often that means your dog is continually feeling threatened or anxious about something. If your dog is experiencing anxiety or discomfort in its environment, you can try providing it with something to calm it down, such as a toy or a bottle of water.

What if your dog is uncomfortable or feeling in Danger?

Well, if you want to know more about this sign and body language that can help you understand your pet even more and respond to them accordingly, we’re here to help you:

  1. They start barking or growling as a result of the situation they interpret.
  2. The dog may be trying to escape the situation or threat.
  3. They raise their hackles. (feeling threatened).
  4. Maybe your dog got his tail tucked up between his legs.

This is a strong feeling of dread and anxiety that is often triggered by a variety of things, such as loud noises, smells, or even sights. If this is the case with your dog, you should take your dog away from the scene so they can feel comfortable.

What it means when dogs ears are back (2)

What should I do if my dog’s ears go back?

That means your dog has encountered some uneasy situation, they may feel threatened, nervous, anxious, or submissive. You need to recognize the situation they are caught in and you can help the dog feel more at ease with these tips:

Don’t react abruptly:

Stay calm and don’t react abruptly, they are already anxious and nervous. Your sudden and abrupt movements can fuel the situation and can make them feel more threatened.

Try pat your dog:

You can pat your dog and along with that using a low voice or speaking slowly in a soothing voice can help to reduce anxiety in dogs.

Keep them calm:

You need to remain calm and try to comprehend what they are feeling afraid or threatened off. You need to take them out of this situation. You can also use a calming vocalization.

Try to help them with a safe place:

If the dog is not responding to your commands or is not trying very hard, it might be an indication that it is trying to go to its safe place. Giving it some room may also help.

Help your dog with their discomfort:

Alternatively, you can try to identify the reason for the reaction and try to make it less intense. For example, if you’re at a place with loud noises all around you can move to a less crowded place.

How to help your dog prevent ears from going back?

Yes, instead of facing this situation, and finding your dog in a threatening position you can avoid it eventually by these tips:

Socializing would make them more open:

It will also make it easier for your dog to socialize with new people and animals if it has a basic understanding. Socializing would make him more open and comfortable to his surroundings.

Give them a comfortable and safe place:

Making sure that your dog has access to safe, clean, and comfortable places, to nap, play, and relax will help to reduce stress levels and make them less likely to cause anxiety and reactivity. A dog’s natural surroundings are important when it comes to creating a safe and comfortable environment for your dog. 

Teach them basic commands:

You can start training your dog using these commands right away, or you can gradually work your way up to it. The sooner you start, the more effective the training will be. 

Praise them when they quiet down:

Another tip for calming down nervous dogs is to praise them when they quiet down and subdue their anxiety. This will make the dog feel more confident and relaxed at the same time. You can reward them for their obedience. So, they know it’s a good thing and they should follow it.

Dog’s ears going back vs being in a defensive mode:

Ears that go back often indicate that the dog is feeling defensive or threatened and that it is ready to defend itself. You should work on removing external stressors that cause them. Be patient with your dog as it works through these issues and remembers that it is an opportunity to grow! 

While in a defensive pose, your dog doesn’t allow itself to be assessed or assessed well. They may be growling or barking. It doesn’t matter if you’re home or out for a walk. When your dog is in a defensive mode, be careful while you try to calm it down. As it may attack.

How to help your dog feel more confident and comfortable?

Giving your dog basic obedience training will also help him to feel more confident around other dogs. This will make it much easier for your dog to socialize with other dogs and people.

Providing your dog with socialization opportunities such as dog parks, obedience classes, and dog runs will help them feel more comfortable around other dogs and people. This can also help reduce the chances of your dog being aggressive toward other dogs or people.

Providing positive reinforcement is important. Reward them for showing good attitudes.

Finally, you should pay attention to your dog’s surroundings. This includes the type of dog park you choose, the supervision of other dogs and people, and the presence of signs and fencing.

This means that your dog will likely be less stressed and more likely to engage in playful or social activities. It is important to maintain a safe and secure environment for your dog, but don’t forget that your dog also feels emotions and needs to be able to express those emotions safely as well. 

How bad dog’s defensive behavior is?

Yes, defensive behavior is bad, they may attack to defend themselves. Additionally, they feel more vulnerable in such situations. If you find your pet in such a situation remove them from the scene by moving to another place.


So, what it means when dogs ears are back? Well, when your dog is feeling stressed or uncomfortable, his ears will go back. This is a sign that he’s feeling insecure, so you might want to help them by trying some hacks to calm them, tons of praise and affection, or just by being there for him. As well, you might want to try to reduce the number of loud noises that cause anxiety in dogs.