I noticed that sometimes my dog usually prostrates, stretching his fore legs with face towards the floor. He does this early in the morning when I wake up and we see each other, when I get back from school, or when I go out and then come back, etc. I am wondering if this is some kind of greeting.

Why does my dog do this?

Image of a dog prostrating (stretching):

This is not my dog, but this is what he does.
image courtesy of stockfreeimages.com © Baydem © StockFreeImages.Com 7027347

  • 1
    Mine does that, followed by a stretch in the other direction. I'm guessing it's just that - a stretch. Most dogs will lie around most of the time when left alone, so he probably hasn't been moving much until you come in and is just stretching out his stiff muscles.
    – ThomasH
    Oct 24 '13 at 11:25
  • @ThomasH I think so. He stay in one place until I'm back
    – user34
    Oct 24 '13 at 13:14
  • Don't you stretch when you wake up, too?
    – Mike G
    Oct 24 '13 at 20:24
  • @mikeTheLiar It is not always when he wakes up. When I go to school and come back, he is not sleeping
    – user34
    Oct 24 '13 at 21:16

Older dogs frequently greet their owner's like this, as younger dogs and puppies tend to be exuberant and bounce around the place.

The stretching, is most likely, caused be the fact he's being lying down and needs to stretch (as mentioned in the comments). It's a sign of relaxed happiness to greet you like this, as a dog generally won't do this when a stranger turns up.

The fact that the dog has his head lowered (apart from the fact it's a nice stretch) and not the opposite (with his behind lower and head stretched up) is an indicator that the greeting is non aggressive.

If your dog is submissive, he’ll lower his body or even cower on the ground. His head might be raised, though, if he’s greeting a person or another animal.

From Canine Body Language ASPCA.org

Chances are he gets a pat when he greets you like this, so he would have learnt that this is a smart way to greet his owner, as it i not boisterous, nor domineering, but endearing and he gets a pat.


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