When a Play Bow Is Not a Play Bow

Sometimes a play bow indicates stress or frustration rather than an interest in play.


We’ve all seen it. A dog stretches out her front legs and leans down on her elbows with her chest to the ground but leaves her rump in the air. It’s called a play bow. That’s because it’s an invitation — to another dog or to a person — to play. Most of the time.

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