Body posture

Body posture is the position that the dog takes with its body.

Read through the following behavioural signs, look at the pictures and watch the video examples. Once you have used this page, continue onto movements.

The following body postures are likely to indicate anxiety or fear:

  • Crouched


  • Tail down or between legs with low body posture


  • Head down or head to side

  crouching with harness on  /vetscience/services/behaviour-clinic/dogbehaviouralsigns/images/crouch2.jpg  /vetscience/services/behaviour-clinic/dogbehaviouralsigns/images/crouching1.jpg  /vetscience/services/behaviour-clinic/dogbehaviouralsigns/images/dogcrouchinned.jpg  /vetscience/services/behaviour-clinic/dogbehaviouralsigns/images/dogdogcrouch.jpg

Crouched body posture

  • Rolling on to back, with stiff body posture, exposing belly, tail tucked

roll over

Rolling on to back

  • Tense body posture and tail straight up


  • Tense body posture and tail down between legs


  • Hackles raised (the hair along the dog's neck and down its spine)

/vetscience/services/behaviour-clinic/dogbehaviouralsigns/images/alerthacklesup.jpg /vetscience/services/behaviour-clinic/dogbehaviouralsigns/images/arousedtaildown.jpg /vetscience/services/behaviour-clinic/dogbehaviouralsigns/images/hacklesraised.jpg

Hackles raised

Now continue onto: movements

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