October 1, 2018
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