why do dogs sit facing away from you

Why Do Dogs Sit Facing Away From You?

Last Updated: September 22, 2023

Do you know that when your dog sits facing away from you, it does not give you the cold shoulder?

It’s a sign of trust, love, and affection. 

An intriguing behavior that puzzles every dog owner.

In this article, we will explore 

  • What does this body language of your dog mean?
  • How can you respond to your dog’s behavior?
  • How to encourage or discourage this behavior?

By the end, you and your furry friend will be able to communicate more effectively and form a strong bond.

Ready to decode your dog’s actions? 

Let’s dive in.

Why do dogs sit facing away from you?

Dogs sit facing away because they trust you and feel safe. Plus, they like to keep an eye on the surroundings to protect their favorite human – you. It’s their way of showing love and care! 

Let’s explore this in detail.

It’s A Sign Of Trust

Your dog feels so safe around you that they’re okay to show their vulnerable side. 

Dogs, by nature, are cautious. 

Showing their back is a vulnerable position for them. 

So, if they’re doing it around you, it’s a sign that they believe you won’t hurt them. 

It’s one of their genuine ways of saying, “I trust you, and I know you’ve got my back.” 

This simple act shows the strong connection you share with your dog.

Guarding Instinct

Dog guarding instinct

By sitting and facing away, your dog is scanning the environment.

If anything unusual happens or if there’s a stranger approaching, they’re in the perfect position to alert you or even defend if needed.

It’s an ancient practice from the days when domesticated dogs lived in the wild and had to be vigilant for predators or threats to their pack.

This behavior is wired into their DNA. It’s not something they do, it’s who they are. 

Every time your dog faces away from you, they’re not just spacing out, they are assessing the environment. 

It’s their way of ensuring you are safe from potential dangers. 

Stress, Anxiety or Fear

Sometimes, sitting facing away from you can be a sign that your dog is experiencing fear, stress, or anxiety. 

By turning their back to you, your dog might be trying to avoid a stressful situation. 

They do this to diffuse tension or cope with an overwhelming environment. 

Maybe your dog is fearful because of loud noises like thunderstorms, unfamiliar people, or other pets in your home. 

In this scenario, your dog may find comfort in your presence but might not want to engage with you emotionally. 

Observe your dog and look for signs like panting, shaking, or whimpering to gauge their emotional state. 

Also, signs like tucked tails, flattened ears, and excessive licking, can further indicate fear or anxiety.

If the behavior persists, consult a professional veterinarian for guidance.

Seeking Your Attention

This ingenious tactic is to capture your attention. 

Dogs are keen observers and quickly learn what gets a reaction from their human companion. 

If your dog approaches you in a relaxed manner, turn, and sit facing away, they know they’re presenting you with a riddle, a question mark that you’ll find too intriguing to ignore. 

Essentially, they’re prompting you to engage – maybe a pat on the back, a butt scratch, or an ear rub, which they liked before.

They want you to do it again, so they sit with their backside towards you.  

It’s the most straightforward method of seeking attention. 

Your dog knows that doing something unexpected will get you to stop, ponder, and give them the attention they crave.


Who doesn’t love independence?

Dogs are no different. 

While canines are social animals, you should not underestimate their desire for personal space. 

If your dog sits facing away from you, it’s not a sign of detachment or disinterest. 

It’s their way to relax and enjoy their personal space. 

Imagine reading a book in the same room as someone you love, you’re together, yet enjoying your separate activities. 

Your dog is doing the same by choosing to sit apart but still within your vicinity. 

This allows them to experience solitude and personal freedom while feeling the comfort of your presence. 

You will form a strong bond with your furry friend by respecting your dog’s personal space.

Act of Submission

Your dog is showing its back as an act of submission.

Dogs have inherited this behavior from their wolf ancestors, where showing the back rather than the teeth can signify a non-aggressive and calm attitude. 

They consider you their dominant leader and feel comfortable exposing their most vulnerable side to you. 

In the wild, doing this would put them at a disadvantage.

Thus it’s a powerful sign of trust and submission, so take it as a compliment. 

They acknowledge your role as their protector and pack leader.

To Tell You Something

your dog sit facing away from you to tell you something

And lastly, your dog wants to tell you something. 

Your dog is intensely staring at something and invites you to become aware of what has caught their attention.

It could be a passing neighbor, a spider on the wall, or a playful squirrel in the yard.

Soon after they will run toward it and start barking if you do not pay attention to their cues. 

How to encourage this behavior? 

Start with baby steps. 

  • Give your dog their personal space by creating a cozy nook filled with their favorite toys.
  • Spend time in the same room without direct interaction. You can work on your laptop while your dog enjoys their toys.
  • Use positive reinforcement. When your dog chooses this position, offer a treat, a gentle pat on the back, or a butt scratch. Observe what they like the most and do more of it when they approach, facing their back towards you.

With consistent effort, your pet will learn that it’s okay and even rewarding to be independent while still being close to you.

How to discourage this behavior? 

Your dog might have learned that by sitting facing away from you they get rewards so they make it a habit.

While this behavior signals trust and comfort, some dog owners might find it disconcerting. 

If you want to discourage this behavior, try engaging your dog in interactive activities like fetch or tug-of-war to refocus your dog’s attention toward you. 

You can also employ gentle, positive redirection. 

If your dog takes the position of sitting away, gently call their name and reward them when they face you. 

If you want your dog to sit in a particular location or a designated area, you can train them by rewarding them every time they do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when my dog sits away but still looks at me?

If your dog sits away yet maintains eye contact, it’s likely they’re keeping tabs on you while enjoying a bit of independence. It’s a balanced behavior that signifies trust and awareness.

Can my dog’s sitting position indicate health issues?

A sudden change in your dog’s sitting position could be a red flag for underlying health issues, such as pain or discomfort. You should visit a vet if this is the case.

Do all dog breeds show this behavior?

While the tendency to sit facing away varies among breeds, most dogs occasionally display this behaviour. Breeds with a more independent nature may do this more frequently.

Is this behavior age-related?

Younger dogs may sit facing away more often as they are still exploring their environment and independence. Older dogs usually do this less, but it’s not unusual.

Does my dog need training to correct this?

Training is usually not required unless the behavior is a symptom of a larger issue like separation anxiety or health problems. In such cases, consulting your vet is advisable.


This question, “Why do dogs sit facing away from you?”, has multiple layers of meaning.

It could be a display of submission to let you know they pose no threat, or they might be trying to get your attention.  

Trust and independence are also contributing factors. 

But if you notice a sudden behavioral change in your pet, consult a qualified veterinarian.

Your pooch’s behavior is a window to its overall well-being.

Strengthen your bond with your pet by understanding their silent communications.

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About Me

I am Chhavi Kumari, passionate dog lover and devoted blogger sharing tips, insights, and love for all things canine. Honoring the memory of cherished Dobermans while inspiring a happy, healthy life with your furry companion.

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