Dogs are some of the most fascinating animals known to man. Each dog has a distinct personality and quirky traits. Different dog breeds exhibit behaviors unique to that breed; sometimes, it can be hard to tell what is normal dog behavior and what is odd.
As a dog owner, you know your puppy better than anyone else, but that doesn’t mean dog doesn’t confuse you as well. An odd behavior that many dogs display is standing on their rear legs. If your dog does this, you might be wondering, “Why does my dog stand on their hind legs?”
If you’re looking for the answer, you have come to the right place. This article breaks down the canine behavior of your dog standing on its hind legs, the reasons behind it, and the potential consequences for your dog. Keep reading to know about the dogs standing on their hind legs meaning.
Before you scroll down to a more in-depth answer of this guide, “Why Does My Dog Stand on Their Hind Legs,” you can check out these other dog-related guides: Why Does My Dog Push His Food With His Nose? and Why Does My Dog Keep Sniffing My Legs?
Odd Dog Behavior
Before jumping into why dogs stand on their hind legs, it is essential to know that dogs exhibit odd behaviors of many sorts. If your dog is displaying behavior that you deem odd or out of the ordinary, do not automatically assume that there is something wrong with your pup.
Dogs are individuals like humans, and they all have quirks and behaviors that make them who they are. That said, it is always important to be aware of your dog’s behavior and know what is normal for them. This way, if they do exhibit a behavior that is outside of the norm, you will be able to tell and can take appropriate action.
Now that we have this established, let’s look at what it means when dogs stand on their hind legs.
Reasons Why Dogs Stand on Their Hind Legs
There are various reasons why your dog stands on its hind legs. Most of them are positive, but some should make you pause as a dog owner.
One of the most common reasons dogs stand on their hind legs is to show affection. If your dog leans against you while standing on its hind legs, they are likely trying to hug you. A dog standing on its hind legs is a dog’s way of wrapping its front legs around you in a loving embrace.
If your pup is doing this, it is a good sign that they love you and feel comfortable around you. Smaller dogs usually exhibit this behavior, but any size dog can do it.
Reaching for Something
Another common reason dogs stand on their hind legs is to try to reach something they want. It could be reaching for a toy, food, or anything else that has caught their eye. If your dog is standing on their hind legs and reaching for something, they are likely trying to tell you that they want it.
This behavior is usually not a cause for concern, but it can become an issue if your dog constantly tries to get something it shouldn’t have. For example, if your dog is standing on its hind legs and reaching for food, this could be a problem.
You will need to train your dog not to do this if it becomes an issue.
Wants To Play
Another reason why dogs stand on their hind legs is that they want to play. If your dog is bouncing around on its hind legs, they are likely trying to get your attention so that you will play with them. The expected behavior in puppies is a desire to play, but older dogs can also do it.
If your dog is doing this, it is a good idea to play with them so that they can burn off some energy. Otherwise, it might become restless and start to get into trouble.
A Desire for Food
While most of the reasons why dogs stand on their hind legs are harmless, there is one that should make you pause. If your dog stands on their hind legs and begs for food, this could be a sign that they are feeling hungry.
This behavior is not necessarily bad, but it can become a problem if your dog is constantly begging for food. If this is the case, you must train your dog not to beg for food. Otherwise, your dog might become overweight or obese.
A History of Abuse
Sadly, there is a terrible reason why dogs stand on their hind legs. If your dog has a history of abuse, it might stand on its hind legs to beg for mercy.
This behavior is often seen in dogs that have been abused or neglected. If your dog is exhibiting this behavior, it is crucial to get them help from a professional. They might need to see a veterinarian or a behaviorist to work through their issues.
Lots of Excitement
Another reason why dogs stand on their hind legs is pure excitement. If your dog is wagging its tail and bouncing around on its hind legs, they are likely happy and excited to see you. This behavior is typical in dogs that are excited to go for a walk or to play fetch.
If your dog is doing this, it is a good sign that they are happy and healthy. It would be best if you tried to engage with your dog so that it can burn off some of its excess energy.
Characteristics of Its Breed
Certain breeds of dogs are known to stand on their hind legs. This behavior is inherited evolutionarily. For example, the Cairn Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier are both breeds known to stand on their hind legs.
If you have one of these breeds of dogs, they will likely stand on their hind legs at some point. This behavior does not cause concern and is simply a quirk of their breed.
The final reason why dogs stand on their hind legs is poor training. If your dog has not been adequately trained, it might stand on its hind legs to get your attention. This behavior is often seen in puppies, but it can also happen with older dogs.
If your dog standing on their hind legs is begging for attention, you must train them not to do this. Otherwise, they will continue begging for attention whenever they want it.
Training your dog not to stand on its hind legs is not difficult, but it does take some patience and consistency. If you are having trouble training your dog, you might consider hiring a professional trainer.
Is It Bad For a Dog to Stand on its Hind Legs?
The short answer is no. It is not bad for a dog to stand on its hind legs. This behavior is quite common in dogs and is often relatively harmless.
However, your dog’s habit of standing on its hind legs can cause serious health issues. Remember, dogs are meant to walk and run on four legs, so standing on only two puts a lot of stress on the dog’s body.
Dogs that regularly stand on their hind legs can suffer various injuries.
Dogs that stand on their hind legs regularly can experience inflammation. The inflammation can result from the strain on the dog’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments from standing on only two legs.
If your dog is experiencing inflammation, you will likely notice that they are limping or have difficulty moving. If you think your dog might be experiencing inflammation, it is vital to take it to the vet.
Damage to Tendons and Ligaments
Another common injury in dogs that stand on their hind legs is damage to the tendons and ligaments. These tissues are what connect the dog’s muscles to its bones.
If these tissues are damaged, it can cause a lot of pain for the dog. Additionally, it can make it difficult for the dog to move its legs. Healing this type of injury will require a visit to the vet and a long period of recovery.
Joint injuries are another potential consequence for dogs that stand on their hind legs frequently. Joint injuries result from the increased pressure that standing on two legs puts on a dog’s joints. Over time, this can weaken your dog’s joints and cause pain when walking or running.
If your dog is experiencing joint pain, you will likely notice that they limp or are reluctant to move. Joint injuries are severe and can have a lasting impact on your dog’s health.
One of the most serious injuries caused by standing on two legs is neurological damage. This damage occurs when the dog’s spine is under too much pressure.
If your dog experiences neurological damage, it can lead to paralysis or even death. Neurological injuries are almost always permanent.
If your dog is exhibiting odd behaviors or having trouble walking, these are signs that your dog has neurological damage.
While not as severe as neurological damage, bone fractures are another potential consequence of standing on two legs. Bone fractures or injuries are more common in old dogs standing on their hind legs. As dogs age, their bones become more brittle and easier to break.
If your dog fractures a bone while standing on two legs, it will likely require surgery to repair the damage.
Finally, dogs standing on their hind legs can also suffer spinal injuries. Standing on only two legs puts a lot of wear and tear on a dog’s spine, and this can cause the spine to become misaligned or otherwise damaged.
Additionally, it can cause the disks in the dog’s spine to become damaged. Spinal injuries are severe and can cause a lot of pain for your dog.
While standing on their hind legs is not necessarily bad for dogs, it can cause serious health problems if done frequently.
Conclusion For “Why Does My Dog Stand on Their Hind Legs”
As you can see, there are various reasons why dogs stand on their hind legs. Most of them are harmless and even cute. However, if your dog does this frequently, it can lead to serious health problems.
If you are concerned about your dog’s health, it is vital to take them to the vet. The vet will be able to determine if any underlying health issues need to be addressed.
In the meantime, you can try training your dog not to stand on its hind legs. With some patience and consistency, you should be able to train your dog not to do this behavior successfully.
If you find this guide, “Why Does My Dog Stand on Their Hind Legs” helpful, you can check out these other dog-related questions answered by our team at We Love Doodles:
- Why Does My Dog Bite My Cat’s Neck?
- Why Does My Dog Lick Me in the Morning?
- Why Does My Dog Sit Alone in Another Room?
You can learn how to build muscle on your dog’s legs by watching “5 Home Exercises to Build a Dog’s Hind Leg Muscles | Hip Dysplasia,” down below
Dr. Sabrina Kong graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in England in 2016 and has been working at a small animal clinic in Northern California since then. She grew up in the Bay Area and got her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through a program at the University of Tennessee.
When she isn’t in the clinic taking care of her four-legged patients, she enjoys traveling and trying new foods with her friends and her three-legged dog, Apollo. She adopted Apollo from her clinic when he was a puppy with numerous health issues. Dr. Kong truly cares about taking care of animals.