Canine Body Language: turning away

What does it mean when your dog turns away from you? Is he blowing you off or maybe expressing his guilt when he refuses to meet your eyes?

Possibly. But more likely, one of you is a little stressed.

Sharri turns her head away and blinks, uncomfortable with the camera pointed at her.

Turning away is one way that many dogs try to diffuse tense situations. They may do this to lower their own stress level or in an attempt to soothe a person or another dog. Nothing makes me more sad than to watch a dog turn his back on his owner and sniff in an effort to calm her down, only to get collar popped or reprimanded for ignoring her.

Duke (Lab cross) turns and looks away as Brewster jumps on him and stares. This communicates his discomfort with the younger dog’s rude behavior.

Does your dog use look-aways or turn away from you in certain situations? What circumstances are most likely to provoke this response?


21 responses to “Canine Body Language: turning away

  1. Our dogs turn away from the camera, too.

  2. One of the first times I realized that looking away was indicating stress was when I tried to introduce Brodie to my Guinea Pig, and all he would do is look away from it. This was back long before I ever heard of calming signals or understood much about body language.

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  10. Okee but what if a dog comes to you and sits between your legs with her back to you, and if i do nothing she will tilt her hed to me and push with her nose untill i start to give her some attention.
    if i ignore her she will slide down on the floor an starts to try and touch my hands with her front paws , i think she is asking for a belly rub.and attention.

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  13. Portia Walters

    My dog Primrose, turns her back to me when Iput her in the crate. She will cry to come out but I would ignore her…

  14. My dog turns her butt to me when we lay down. Why?

  15. I have had my rescue dog for 2 months, why does he turn away from me when I try and give him affection, with other members of the family he is very affectionate and will sit on their laps. I assume he prefers them to me so how do I solve the problem, as he is my dog..

  16. So my dog has started sitting with her back turned to me just recently. She only does it when I am outside with my other dogs and she is waiting her turn to go outside. She can always see me through a window or through the glass door but she will sit there with her back turned to me. Since this is new behavior is it something I should be concerned about or is she being patient or she possibly stressed? We did move recently a few months ago and that could have precipitated this new behavior but to be honest I’m really not sure.

  17. My dog will not look at me when I am with her and there are fireworks and she is afraid. Maybe she thinks I am making them happen?

  18. Gaynor Townsend

    When I get close and look at her face she turns away ,I know she loves me as she follows me everywhere ,why does she do this

  19. Kellie Stenzinger

    When I ask my dog if she wants to go see my boyfriend and I say his name she turns her head away

    • Kellie Stenzinger

      I take it that’s a no she doesn’t want to go see my boyfriend cuz it has nothing to do with me I don’t think I believe it’s that she doesn’t like a boyfriend I could be wrong but I don’t think I am and if that’s the case that bothers me and I probably am not going to date him anymore cuz I love my dog more than anything

  20. Denise patterson

    My pitbull who is ill and wont live much longer began putting her head at end of bed when laid down. This is opposite of her previous behavior although never one to get in your face, she did like to touch up against my body i just read that turning away is to diffuse a situation. It makes sense. She will lift her head to make sure im close but prefers her space now. We are both anxious over her illness. She has always sensed my emotions. I knew it felt right for her to do this but reading the meaning of turning away helped ease my heart. Thankyou for the insight. In 2 days i will let her go. No more anxiety for her from her illness. My best friend i will love you forever

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