Why Do Dogs Show Their Belly When Guilty? | Decoding the Reasons

why do dogs show their belly when guilty

About the Author: Jean Colt, a valued writer at MyPetDoggie and a dedicated student of English Literature at Yale University. Jean’s love for dogs, coupled with her literary skills, allows her to create engaging content that resonates with our pet-loving community. Her work reflects her passion for dogs and commitment to enhancing pet care knowledge.

Don’t know why do dogs show their belly when guilty. Well I was you too but now I know about this behavior of dogs so let me tell you about it.

Actually, dogs are the best companions when it comes to loyalty, faithfulness, and even affection. They know when you are feeling excited or happy about something by wiggling or when any of their actions make you uncomfortable by rolling and showing their belly.

If you are a dog lover like me and their adorable actions make you curious sometimes, then you are in the right place to find out more about the charming creature you own.

You might have noticed that your fur baby welcomes you home with an exposed belly when he has broken your favorite antique vase brought by your mom from Italy or when he had left unwashable stains on your big comfy couch considering it his playground.

Once, my pony welcomed me home with a stack of tissue papers which he emptied from the box. Instinctively, I shouted and sat on the couch.

Moments later, the baby came and rested his head in my lap and then crawled on the floor showing his belly, signaling that he is guilty of something. His adorable act was successful in cheering up my mood, so he got some cute cuddles from me. 

This makes me think that there exists some cause-and-effect relationship between the dogs feeling guilty and showing their belly. You might be intrigued by it too if you or any of your friends own a dog. But, this is not entirely correct.

There is no direct connection between feeling guilty and playfully showing their belly to their master. In fact, dogs are the most lovable creatures with ultimate respect for their master.

dog showing belly
Dog lying on his owners legs

Why do dogs show their belly when guilty, Is there any causal relationship between feeling guilty and exposing the belly?

By exposing their utmost vulnerable part they symbolize their submissiveness for their master. Their silent eyes filled with water communicate “ I am loyal to you and respect you the most. I can’t even think of causing you harm, my lord!” They crave for your attention and love like an innocent baby hiding from the harshness of the world. But, at the very same time they can fight the world in order to protect you, proving themselves loyal to you.

So, if your dog wiggles or thumps his tail across the floor or even your lap, it’s not just an adorable pose, It is a whole moment of communication between him and his caretaker.

His furry body facing upwards with his ears facing sideways, his squinting eyes anticipate your caressing hand on his body or a gentle brush of your fingers on himself. He just craves for your attention showing that he genuinely cares about you and has no intentions of causing harm.

Moreover, this showing of the belly isn’t solely a symbol of guilt because dogs aren’t psychologically capable of showing emotions like guilt or revenge for events that have occurred in the past. It can be their instinctive reply to your loud or angry tone when you speak to them, making them feel like they have done something penalizable. 

dog on bed showing belly
Dog is sleeping peacefully on his bed

How does your dog show you they care?

Imagine: you walk home after a tiring day at the office and you get welcomed by your furbaby waiting beside the door for you. Hugging your legs or licking your feet with hopeful eyes carrying a million dreams to stay with you is their way to show affection. Dogs are very communicative creatures. They can say way more just with their body language than humans can with their tongues. 

When you are enjoying your evening tea in the lawn and your dog brings a ball to you wanting to play with you. His gestures bring the message that he wants your time and attention and in that time he wants you to forget all your worries. If this isn’t care then I Can’t comprehend what else is. 

Can’t think of living without good company? No need to worry! Your dog won’t leave you alone, even in your bathroom because he will spend all his time with you. This might seem annoying at times but trust me, it is the best companionship you’ll ever find.

He can’t talk like your fake friends do, but can say a lot just by his eyes and gestures. You can see the pain in his eyes when you fall ill. He’ll try their level best to comfort you and if nothing works, just laying beside your bed with his leg in your hair is a self-explanatory symbol of affection.

How does your dog show you they care?
The dog is lying on a bed in his sleeping position

You might be interested in: Understand the reasons behind why your dog may look away from you and its communication.

What if my dog doesn’t rest their head on me? Am I doing something wrong?

I am sure you are a little too concerned about your adorable doggo if he doesn’t rest his head on you like those of your friends and relatives pets. This can be slightly worrisome and make you wonder why your dog doesn’t rest his head on you.

Are you doing something wrong? Aren’t you giving him the care, love, and attention he deserves and craves for? Or you are not able to feed him properly, so he doesn’t love you anymore. If this is what is going on in your head, my buddy, you are not correct. You are overthinking about your furbaby’s behavior which itself is a symbol of care.

The answer to this question is much more wholesome. Dogs are way more intelligent than you think. They show their behaviors in a variety of ways which might or might not include resting their head on you.

There lies a possibility that the baby licks you, climbs up on you to have a good kiss, lays his head on you to get some kind strokes of your hands on himself or a gentle brush of your fingers on his soft fury body. But, this is not always the case. It varies from breed to breed for dogs.

Some of them try to get your attention and show affection by being physically close to you while others have their own ways to protect you. Some breeds of dogs don’t like to show physical intimacy with their masters but they will do everything to make you comfortable. Their eyes carry a message.

You’ll find no one more loyal than me.” so, no need to worry and doubt your caretaking abilities if the dog does not rest his head on you. It is a completely natural behavior dogs show. 

Tips for Managing Your Dog’s Head-Resting Behavior

Still worried about your dog not resting his head on you? No need to worry now. The best possible solution to your problem is right here. You can follow these tips and tricks to modify the behavior of your pet and manage their head-resting behavior. Let’s dive deeper into these tips to train your dog the way you want. Good luck with your journey of training doggo!

Tips for Managing Your Dog’s Head-Resting Behavior
The little dog tries to sit on a sofa

Observe Context

Imagine being a detective in a world where you have to explore the complexities of your dog’s nature. You need to observe when and where he prefers to rest his head on you. Whether it is during the time he feels relaxed which can be his playtime, your tv time, eating time, reading time or it can be the time when you are feeling too low to give him attention or do anything.

So, it is better to be a detective and observe when your dog actually feels comfortable practicing the head resting behavior and then you can condition him to repeat the behavior as often as you like. I hope practicing this Sherlock personality helps!

Training and Behavior Modification

If being a detective isn’t that helpful all alone, you can practice being a part-time psychologist too. You can condition your pet with a sufficient amount of energy and devotion. Instead of being strict and using punishment or negative reinforcers, you can try being lenient and kind to the baby you own.

A suitable approach is to use positive reinforcers like rewarding him when he rests his head on you, giving him a gentle pat or his favorite snack can help too. This will take some time but will not disappoint you in the long run.

Teach “Place” Command

Now, imagine yourself as the director of a movie with a single character, “the one and the only doggo”. Use a special clue or signal to direct his attention to a particular place which he considers his very own.

A place close to his heart where he can feel royalty like a king, the main character of the movie, where he can rest his head even when he is annoyed by your behavior. Teaching him the place command with your special techniques can manage their response in particular situations.

Reward Desired Behavior

You like special treats! right? At least i do love it when my mom cooks me my favorite dish or invites my friends over for dinner. But, it is never easy to get these rewards. you need to either obey your mom and be respectful in front of guests or get really good grades in school. Not easy, I know but rewards make you do it.

Similar is the case with dogs. Positive reinforcement works like wonder. Opt for a part-time role of a chef and make the favorite snack for your dog every time he rests his head on something and especially you. It is more likely that rewarding desired behavior will lead to the repetition of that particular behavior.

Enrichment and Stimulation 

Allow the positive energy of your pet to flow into your desired outcomes like head resting or smiling at you. An effective way is to stimulate their minds by engaging them in intriguing activities.

Dogs love to wonder and pressurize their brain to solve a trick. Invest in some good puzzle games and stimulate your pet to enrich your companionship with him. Or what about hiding his favorite toy? Hope you love this idea as much as I do.

Environmental Management

We all love being in a cozy warm home with a charming and comforting interior. Fresh sheets on the bed, floral scents around the room and dimmed lighting entice you alot. Just like this, dogs find it soothing too. When you manage your environment in a way that makes you feel calmer, dogs will ultimately come to you and rest their head on you to enjoy their peace.

Comfortable Bedding

Who in this world is not fond of a comfortable bed where he can forget all the worries? The mattress of the bed feels like a soft surface making you enter the realm of a new universe, a place of your dreams and comfort. To tackle the head resting behavior you need to get your dog a fluffy rug with few cushions around or just the old carpet topped with a mattress on it. You can arrange or hang some of his favorite toys too.

Professional Trainer/Behaviorist

Remember, when you applied for college or enrolled in a sports course like swimming. You need a counselor to guide you throughout the college application journey or a personal trainer to teach you gymnastics, one who can help you correct your mistakes to get the desired outcome i.e.: best at gymnastics.

Similarly, you can hire a personal trainer for your dog to shape his behavior in the desired way. A behaviorist can use relevant psychological approaches to manage the head resting behavior or any other warm gesture that you would like to see in your pet.

Patience and Consistency

Patience is the key to everything. All the tips mentioned above do work wonders but are not magical spells that will show their results within a couple of hours or even a day or two.

You need to be consistent in putting in your efforts and be patient because patience never disappoints in the long run. You’ll surely be rewarded with the best fruit in the end. All kinds of behavior shaping and getting adapted to certain habits take time. Haste can make all of your efforts go to waste.

Consistency is the tune that will guide you throughout and patience is the melody that will harmonize all your tunes to make wonderful music that will be shown in terms of your dog’s behavior.

Avoid Punishment

Negative reinforcements sow seeds for anger, mistrust or even revenge in some cases. Innocent minds fear punishment at first and do avoid such acts that lead to that punishment.

But, this is not always the case as overusing this behavior can lead to a rigid personality of your dog. He’ll fear you and this lack of trust and comfort will drastically show up in his behavior. So, you better avoid overshadowing or under-expressing the personality of the adorable furbaby by excessively using negative reinforcers.

You might be interested in: Find effective strategies to prevent boredom in dogs when they’re home alone.

Possible Health Concerns Related to Head-Resting Behavior in Dog

Head resting is certainly a lovable gesture but this is not always the case. Excessive head resting behavior of your dog on you or against any flat surface can be a symbol of a disease, injury or discomfort he is going through. We will delve deeper in this domain to get better insights about possible health concerns associated with the head resting behavior of your dog.

dog sad behavior
Dog lying down on a floor and put his head on a cushion

Ear Infections

The ears are very sensitive parts of the body and might get infected pretty easily in some breeds of dogs.

If your dog excessively displays the head resting behavior, followed by scratching, rubbing or over-touching ears and shifting head resting positions frequently from left to right. There is a possibility that he is expressing this behavior to alleviate the pain and discomfort of ear infection.

Dental Problems

Toothache is the worst pain of all. Head resting behavior is displayed when a dog wants you to comfort him so he can forget his discomforts. So, headrests can be a sign that he wants to forget the horrible pain of any dental problems he is having. Routine dental checkups can prevent this case.

Neck or Spinal Issues

Any neck or spinal issues are pretty uncomfortable and can hinder the normal gestures of the dog. If he isn’t resting his head on you or on anything else too, this is the right time to take him to a vet for observation of normal spine functioning.

If he is resting his head on things way more than usual then he might not be comfortable in other body postures because of the same muscle issues. A vet visit can save him and you from discomfort. So, the sooner the better.

Eye Problems

Regularly observing your dog’s behavior is not only enchanting but also an utmost responsibility. Excessive head resting can be caused by eye infection? I used to think like you are thinking right now.

But you might be wrong because once I observed a smelly discharge from my dog’s eye accompanied by his excessive head resting behavior. So, if your dog is doing that too along with rubbing watery and swollen eyes a visit to the vet is essential.

Neurological Conditions

Dogs might rest their heads due to their inability to walk and move appropriately. The root cause might be dizziness, pain, and discomfort caused by any medical problems in the coordination of the nervous system causing imbalance.

Pain or Discomfort

Every organism has its own way of indicating its uneasiness and pain to seek love and care of its loved ones. The same is the case with dogs which very often indicate the pain they are experiencing from any medical or psychological conditions. Ensure that his head resting space is comfortable enough


Why do dogs hide their face in pillows?

Have you ever caught your dog buddy hiding his face in your favorite comfy pillow on your bed? Well, you are not alone because I have experienced it a couple of times too. I know it’s very adorable. After knowing the intentions behind this act you’ll find it even more enchanting. Some of the common reasons are their hide-and-seek play, sneaking into comfy soft things, and “I am not here” trick with you. Dogs have pretty sharp noses so they might sneak their face in pillows to smell your scent and imagine your presence or happy memories attached to you.

How do I show my dog I love him?

I know you love your dog but loving them isn’t just enough. You need to express your love too. There are various ways to do this. You can hud, or cuddle them because nothing is more pleasant than physical affection. Making them their favorite snack or dog food, taking them out for a walk, listening to music with them, watching any show they enjoy or just sitting beside them for a couple of minutes. This all will make them feel special and trust me, they will replicate your emotions too!

Why do dogs lay their heads?

Laying their head can be a sign of comfort or discomfort. Laying the head excessively on a surface coupled with various other symptoms can be caused by a disease or discomfort. But, in most cases, they are doing it for attention seeking, showing their affection for you, or expecting a comforting cuddle from you.

How often do dogs need a bath?

Dogs are very adventurous creatures, loving muddy playful activities in the lawn or just hiding and then seeking their favorite toy from the store room. All these enjoyments come with the cost of getting a dirty baby. Although they are animals, a bath every 4-6 weeks will add to their royalty and gleam. If you want to show extra care, you can take them for a spa day.

Should you rub a dog’s ears?

Gently rubbing your dog’s ears can feel like a soothing rub or a gentle ear message. But, every dog has a unique personality and some of them might find it irritating. The easiest way to know your dog is by observing their response to certain activities like rubbing of years. If they seem to enjoy it then trust me, there is nothing more comforting for your dog than a gentle touch.

Final thoughts:

In our intricate tapestry of relationships with dogs, closely observing their behaviors weaves a stronger bond with them. From exposing their belly when they sense their wrongdoings, to the complexities of head resting behaviors and potential health problems attached to it. We have explored it all and have also addressed some of the frequently asked questions to navigate the journey of decoding their silent language.

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