Why do my dogs hackles go up?

April 24, 2019

Examples of piloerection in people and dogs

Many of you probably think that hackles up means that the dog is aggressive, and understandably so. The problem is, hackles (or piloerection) is an involuntary response; meaning, your dog has no control of when it happens. It happens to humans too, but we know them as 'goose bumps'.

The reason they do this, can be many: Insecurity, Fear, Play, Aggression etc. They all have one thing in common: Arousal

Arousal isn't always referring to something sexual, in this case, it's excitement. If we think of your dogs body language as a paragraph, hackles up is just one sentence in the paragraph that your dog is using to communicate to others.

Hackles are a response to a stimuli, they become excited. Just as you cant judge a dogs character from a wagging tail (the 'tail' is a lie), you can't judge them based on their hackles alone, you have to interpret the entire dog to understand what's happening

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