Do dogs adopt the “frog dog” posture simply to cool off?

I recently wrote about dogs that stretch out with their hind legs behind them – in the “frog dog” pose.

Dave Seaborn from Abenhall Gundogs was one of several people who suggested dogs do this to chill out. Stretching out on a hard surface such as concrete after exercise “allows them to cool off as quickly as possible as their core temperature increases when they stop (remember they don’t sweat like us). I have found the spaniels that do it tend to be pocket rockets, certainly in early life, and then it becomes habit later on, even after a short bout of exercise. My spaniels that do this also lie in puddles belly down to cool off, but the dogs that don’t frog-leg tend to stand in the puddles.”

Mike Berry was also of the opinion that dogs do this to cool down. “Both my spaniels (Will, 10, and Ben, two) stretch out on the tiled kitchen floor.” Trevor Harper’s spaniel bitch also “likes to rest in this position as it appears to cool her down after a walk. She seems to want to get the soft skin on her tummy in close contact to the cool hard-tiled kitchen floor.”

Liz Jeffery reported “our two-year-old English springer Yogi does it all the time while relaxing. I have another ESS who is four who has never shown this trait. Both are equally active, agile and speedy to say the least. Our Patterdale also likes to stretch out.” Richard Everard’s Labrador bitch “never lies quite as frog-like as your picture but she often lies with her back legs outstretched, though on her side. Her hip scores at 14 months old were five and three so pretty low; she is now nearly 10.”

The frog-dog posture seems to be most common in terriers. Antonia Baillie reported that “my terriers have always stretched out in this manner. It is perhaps a myth but I was once told this was to aid them when going to ground. I was astounded the first time I saw my springer do this as I’d always believed this trick to be the reserve of terriers.”

Sue Knight sent me a great picture of her daughter’s miniature schnauzer, Maxi, stretched out. Apparently he is super-fit and “can easily run a half-marathon and does four to six miles regularly in a canicross harness”.

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