GSD ear positions for communication - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 03-13-2011, 07:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default GSD ear positions for communication

I know that dogs use their ears as a means of communication. But what I read online about different positions doesn't seem accurate. I can understand ears erect and forward as very alert and attentive/curious? But ears laid back, especially on a GSD doesn't seem to match up to what I keep reading online. For example, one site says: "when it's ears are backwards or straightened out it indicates that the dog is insecure;"

However, I tend to see GSD's ears go back as an inviting sign. Maybe the dog really is insecure afterall but it doesn't seem that way. GSDs that don't know me would walk up to me to get petted and what not and their ears would go down. I would think that if the dog was insecure, he or she wouldn't come over to me at all. And here is a picture I took of my breeder scratching her dog's neck. He was enjoying it for quite some time and the entire time his ears were back.



So what are your opinions on what different GSD ear positions mean? Give some examples of what your dogs do! And everyone loves pictures so post those up as well.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It depends on the dog and the rest of the body language. Ears back is not necessarily fearful. Some Shepherds tend to put their ears back more when they're relaxed than others do. In some cases the ears back may mean the dog just may be unsure of you, or submissive, or worried.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Skylar has always put her ears back and wagged her tail big time when I come home to her, definetly not in a fearful way! She does put them back fearfaully in other situations, but its easy to tell the difference by whats going on around her/ the rest of her body language.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My Tazor now 11 months old, never lays his ears back unless I am scratching his back.....he loves it. Any other time they are straight up.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The ears go back when meeting new folks to signify a "I'm being slightly submissive as to make sure this meeting goes smoothly" posture. When the ears go down with someone the dog knows it's a posture that means the dog is comfortable and not really interested in sorting out a dominance/submissive situation. At least that's how I read it.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brembo View Post
The ears go back when meeting new folks to signify a "I'm being slightly submissive as to make sure this meeting goes smoothly" posture. When the ears go down with someone the dog knows it's a posture that means the dog is comfortable and not really interested in sorting out a dominance/submissive situation. At least that's how I read it.
In my experience, thats how I see it as well for the most part. I can see what everyone else is saying though, if the ears are back and the dog is straying away, it is clear that the dog is afraid. The ears compliment the rest of the body language.
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