When Dogs Roll Over, They May Actually Be Acting Combative

When dogs roll over onto their backs and expose their bellies, their behavior is a sign of submission, right? Well, new research suggests that we may be interpreting canine body language all wrong.

A new study by researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Canada and the University of South Africa shows that rolling over may be more of a combat maneuver than an act of submission.

For the study, the researchers observed a medium-sized female dog as she played one at a time with 33 different dogs. They also analyzed 20 YouTube videos showing dogs at play–examining each time a dog rolled over onto its back.

What did the researchers find? None of the rollovers observed in the study were consistent with submission. Instead, the rollovers appeared to be used as defensive tactics to avoid neck bites or offensive maneuvers to launch an attack.

“We were very surprised that not a single instance of turning to supine in our sample of dogs could be attributed to submission,” study co-author Dr. Sergio Pellis, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, told The Huffington Post in an email. “This strongly suggests that other studies that have used the supine —> Read More Here


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