Why Does My Dog Walk With His Head Down?

There are a few reasons why your dog might be walking with his head down.

He could be feeling sick or tired, or he could be trying to avoid eye contact with you because he knows he’s done something wrong.

If your dog is normally a happy and energetic pup, then sudden head-hanging could be a sign that something is amiss.

Here we’ll look at why dogs walk with their heads down, when it’s okay to worry about this behavior, and what you can do to help if your dog refuses to stop.

Note: This article is designed for informational purposes only and not meant as advice.

Reasons Why Dogs Walk With Their Heads Down

Dogs don’t have the ability to lie flat on their backs like cats, so they tend to use their bodies in different ways to make themselves more comfortable.

In doing so, they may choose to carry their heads lower than usual, which makes them appear smaller.

They also have less room to move around in their faces compared to cats, so they often take up less space in an area, making them appear smaller.

Another reason why dogs might walk with their heads down is because they’re looking for a shady spot to rest.

They may feel they need some shade from the heat of the sun or if they’ve been running around in the yard all day.

Many owners find that their dogs will walk with their heads down if they’ve just finished chewing something, especially hard bones.

This is because the jaw muscles need time to recover after chewing has stopped, and carrying their heads low helps to get rid of excess energy from the jaw muscles.

Some dogs walk with their heads down if they’re waiting for someone to come home, while others might walk with their heads down if they’re waiting for you to call them.

Others may walk with their heads down if they’re getting ready to go outside.

If your dog walks with her head down when she’s sitting calmly at home, but suddenly starts walking with her head down when she hears something interesting, then you should pay attention to this behavior and see if there’s anything going on behind the scenes.

Why Does My Dog Walk With His Head Down?

Dogs have an innate ability to read human facial expressions, so they’re often able to tell when someone is upset or angry, even if the person is unaware of this fact.

In other words, dogs are naturally drawn to people who are displaying negative body language, such as frowning or looking away from them.

This doesn’t mean that every time your dog looks sad or seems uncomfortable around you, it’s because he’s worried about something going on behind your back.

However, it does mean that if your dog suddenly stops smiling or seems stressed out, there may be a good reason for it.

It’s also worth noting that sometimes dogs will choose to walk with their head down to avoid eye contact with someone they don’t like, which can make them appear to be sulking.

They’re just doing what comes naturally to them!

If you think your dog is walking with his head down, here are some things you should know about how to handle it properly.

1. Is It Okay to Worry About Your Dog Walking With His Head Down?

The short answer is yes, but it depends on the circumstances.

For example, if your dog has been acting strangely recently, then it’s probably best to pay attention to him.

However, if he hasn’t seemed off in any way, then it’s likely okay to let it go.

Don’t panic if you notice your dog walking with his head down, though.

Most dogs do this occasionally, especially when they’re tired or just want to get away from you.

Just remember that you shouldn’t force him into a situation where he feels uncomfortable.

2. When Should You Worry About Your Dog Walking With His Head Down?

In general, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any signs of stress or discomfort in your pet.

After all, if you’re aware of these behaviors before they happen, you’ll be able to respond quickly and effectively.

However, this isn’t always possible.

Sometimes, your dog will start acting weird without warning, and you won’t realize what’s causing it until after it’s already happened.

For example, your dog may simply decide one day that he doesn’t want to play anymore.

Or maybe he gets really excited about something and starts running around the house and barking at nothing in particular.

These types of situations can be frustrating to deal with, especially since you don’t know exactly what triggered them.

So, to summarize, if your dog walks with his head down more than usual, take note and try to figure out why he’s doing it.

But if your dog isn’t showing any unusual behavior, then it’s probably fine to ignore it.

3. How to Help Your Dog If He’s Walking With His Head Down

If your dog is walking with his head down, there’s no need to panic.

There are several ways you can help him feel better.

First, talk to him.

Ask him to come over to you and give him a reassuring hug.

If he still looks sad, then offer him some treats to cheer him up.

Next, try to distract him by playing with him.

If your dog enjoys fetching or tugging games, then try to engage him in those activities.

Otherwise, you can use toys to entertain him while you work together to solve whatever problem is bothering him.

Finally, consider giving him some belly rubs or scratching under his chin.

Some dogs enjoy being scratched in specific areas, so it’s possible that he would find these soothing.

(Just make sure you don’t accidentally hurt him!)

4. What to Do If Your Dog Won’t Stop Walking With His Head Down

Sometimes a dog will refuse to stop walking with his head down, which means that you’re going to have to intervene in order to get him to move again.

But before you do anything drastic, take a deep breath and calm yourself down.

Remember, you’re dealing with a dog, so you can’t expect him to understand what you’re saying.

Instead, speak softly and calmly, and follow these steps:

  • Try to relax and slow down your breathing.

Take a moment to collect your thoughts and remind yourself that this is actually happening and not part of a dream.

  • Ask your dog to sit next to you and give him a treat.

Once he’s sitting there, gently place your hands on either side of his face and say “NO!” firmly.

Hold him there for a couple of seconds and then repeat the process.

  • Repeat step 2 if necessary.

Continue repeating this until your dog sits quietly next to you.

  • Once your dog is sitting still and quiet, ask him to lie down on the floor.

Then kneel down next to him with your arms outstretched.

Slowly lower your arms until you feel his muzzle against your palms.

Gently pat his head and neck area to reassure him.

  • Stand up and slowly begin walking away from him.

As you do, hold onto your dog’s leash and gently pull him along with you.

Eventually, he’ll follow you wherever you lead.

Why Does My Dog Walk With His Head Down

When to Worry About Your Dog Walking With His Head Down

If your dog is walking with his head down, it’s best to pay attention to the following signs:

  • Your dog’s eyes are wide open but unseeing
  • Your dog isn’t breathing very deeply
  • Your dog has stopped moving altogether

These are all serious signs that your dog may have an underlying health issue.

If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately.

How to Help Your Dog If He’s Walking With His Head Down

If your dog is walking with his head down, there are several things you can try to encourage him back up into the right position.

The first thing you should do is gently lift his chin so that he’s looking straight ahead again.

You don’t want to force him to keep his head up, but you need to reestablish eye contact as soon as possible.

Next, you should offer some praise for good posture.

Tell him “Good boy!” or “Nice head!” and give him a treat for making the effort.

It’s important to remember that sometimes being praised for doing something correctly can cause problems in the long term.

Your dog doesn’t know that he’s supposed to stay upright, so encouraging him to keep his head up will make him think that standing up is the correct way to behave.

A better idea would be to reward your dog for staying up, rather than praising him for standing up.

Finally, you may wish to remove any distractions from your dog while he walks.

To do this, you’ll probably have to put a leash on him, but it’s worth it.

When you’re out walking, your dog needs to focus completely on you and nothing else – including other dogs or people – until you tell him otherwise.

If you’ve been training your dog to heel, you can also use that skill to prevent him from straying off course.

The best way to teach him to follow you is to make sure he’s focused on you all the time.

That means keeping his attention on you even when he’s going forward, and also when he’s taking a break.

Once you’ve got your dog’s full attention, take a step backwards and wait for him to follow.

Once he does, start moving forwards again, and let him catch up.

What to Do If Your Dog Won’t Stop Walking With His Head Down

If your dog suddenly starts walking with his head down, there are several things you should try before deciding whether to take him to the vet.

First of all, make sure your dog isn’t ill.

If he’s acting lethargic, has a fever or is panting heavily, take him straight to the vet.

If your dog doesn’t appear sick, but just won’t stop walking with his head down, you can still call your vet to discuss what’s happening.

The best thing to do in this situation is wait until your vet calls you back, so you know exactly what to expect when you see them.

The first thing your vet will ask you is how long your dog has been walking with his head down.

This may seem like an obvious question, but it’s important to get a clear answer from you.

Some people think they don’t need to mention anything until after the vet has seen their dog, while others feel it’s better to tell the vet right away so they can start treatment immediately.

It’s also worth mentioning that if your dog was previously fine, but now seems unwell, there’s no reason to assume that the head-down behavior is related to any underlying condition.

In fact, it’s more likely to be due to stress or anxiety over something new than to an illness.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from some sort of health issue, it’s always best to consult with your vet as soon as possible.

However, if your dog doesn’t have any underlying medical issues, and is simply refusing to stop walking with his head down, there are other things you can try.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Walk With Their Heads Down?

It’s normal for dogs to walk with their heads down – especially young dogs who haven’t learned how to behave in public yet.

But there are some situations where it may be cause for concern.

In general, if your dog starts walking with his head low, it probably means that he wants to hide
from you.

You should try to encourage him to stand up straight so that he looks more confident.

If he keeps doing it, though, it could mean that he thinks you’re angry with him, and he’s trying to
avoid you.

In this case, it would be best to ignore the problem until it goes away on its own.

If you see your dog walking with his head down every day, even if it’s just for a short time, it could
be a sign that he has an anxiety disorder.

If this happens regularly, you should seek professional help.

Other possible causes of your dog walking with his head down include:



Fear or stress


Being startled by something unexpected

A medical issue, such as a heart murmur or tumor

Bad habits


Stress due to separation anxiety

Dogs often start walking with their heads down when they get older, but they usually learn to keep
them up in adulthood.

Sometimes, however, things can go wrong.

For example, if your dog was born with bad posture, he might never have been taught how to hold
himself correctly.

Or he may have had one bad experience that makes him think he needs to keep his head down all
the time.

Megan Turner

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