Why Does My Dog Stand On His Back Legs?

Dog owners may be curious why their pet continually stands on his back legs. Odd behaviors like this typically tell us something the dog cannot.

So, why does your dog stand on his back legs? Dogs may stand in this position to show affection or if they are attempting to get your attention. Standing upright is a common way for dogs to communicate that they like other animals or people. Standing upright can often lead to playtime. Alternatively, a dog who continuously stands up at your side is probably trying to make eye contact and get your attention.

Some dog breeds are more prone to standing on their back legs. However, dog owners may be concerned about their pet’s comfort and health if they continuously stand up in this position.

Reasons Dogs Stand Up

A dog can only communicate with us using actions and sounds. Therefore, dog owners should be aware of why their pet stands up, especially if it happens often and they do not know why.

Showing Affection

One primary reason dogs stand on their back legs is to show affection. You may notice this behavior when they meet and play with other dogs at the park or when you are sitting on the couch after work.

Want Attention

Generally, dogs will be in a lower position than humans most of the time. If you are distracted or moving around the house and your pet wants your attention, they may stand up. This abnormal position will likely grab your interest immediately, giving your pet the attention they want from you.

Trying to Make Eye Contact

Dogs are social creatures. They can become attached to their humans and enjoy spending time with them. Sometimes, if your dog cannot see your face clearly, it will stand up to try and make eye contact with you.

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Want Something From You

Your pet may begin standing up when you are in the kitchen at dinnertime if they associate this space with food. A small dog may start standing up if you are out for a walk and are tired, so you will pick it up.

Dogs can be effective communicators when they want to be. Knowing if your dog wants something from you each time they stand up can save you and them a lot of confusion.

Dogs That Stand on Their Back Legs

Although some dog breeds are known for standing on their back legs, every dog may exhibit this behavior at some point. It is common for a dog to stand up on their hind quarters, and you may see it more often if you own one of these breeds:

  • Boxer
  • Poodle
  • Chihuahua

That does not mean that if you own one of these dogs, they will regularly stand up, but the tendency may be more significant. Some owners of small dog breeds may also notice that their little pup stands up often when they want something.

Because of their smaller stature, standing up is not normal and will grab their owner’s attention quickly.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Stand on Their Back Legs?

It is natural to have concerns about your pup if they are constantly standing up. Your dog may appear unsteady when doing this, making you worry about them falling or hurting themselves.

Thankfully, dogs who stand on their back legs voluntarily are not in pain or causing harm. Instincts will take over if your pet is in a position that hurts them, and they will drop to all fours if they need. You can rest assured that it is not painful if your four-legged friend stands up.

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However, some veterinarians will attest that prolonged time in this position can lead to chronic hip issues later in life. Standing up is not ideal for dogs, as it puts more pressure on their hips, pelvis, and rear joints.

Although a few seconds of standing is nothing to be concerned about, long durations can create problems for your pup. They could experience:

  • Inflammation
  • Muscle, tendon, or ligament strains or tears
  • Nerve damage
  • Spinal injury
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Broken bones

Of course, senior dogs should refrain from standing up at any time. These older canines may have brittle bones, existing hip issues, or be overweight, making this position more stressful on their body.

In Conclusion

Dogs that stand on their hind legs may be showing you affection or trying to get your attention because they want something from you. This behavior is normal and can often happen in some dog breeds. Although it is not a cause for concern, it can be detrimental to their health if it happens too often, for long periods, or is too old. Talk to your local veterinarian for more guidance if you have questions or concerns about your dog standing on its back legs.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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