You may believe that all dogs love belly rubs. In reality, they don’t. Some just don’t like it, period. Why do dogs like belly rubs and why some are almost addicted to it? Let’s find out and take a look at the scientific explanation and also add a few more facts you can use in this case scenario.
Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?
Why do dogs like belly rubs so much? Simply said, it feels nice and they like rubbing. It stimulates the hair follicles. When combined with the overall experience, a dog feels safe, secure, and even excited. All of this is linked to social grooming which is something dogs love and do need. After all, many of you like when someone scratches you. The goal here is the same.
Keep in mind that a belly of a dog is an extremely vulnerable part of the body and not a lot of dogs like to expose it. When they do, it usually means two things. The first one is that they trust you, so they can expose it. The second thing is that this is a submissive behavior so they are showing submission to you. This is why some dogs won’t show their belly often or to other people. They know that it is a vulnerable part of the body and they want to protect it.
Just because your dog is showing submissive behavior, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy it. In the lack of a better word, all dogs enjoy a lot! It can create a nice and strong bond between you two and this is something you should do for your dog if he likes it.
Keep in mind that’s some dogs do not like belly rubs. It may remind them of something stressful or they dislike it due to some other reason. More on that later.
What have scientists to say
According to science, dogs have a neuron that follows the movement of follicles. Most mammals do have this neuron and it is not clear why the neuron is actually present. It is believed that it reacts when the hair follicles are stimulated in order to promote personal hygiene when interacting with other members of the species.
It truly sounds interesting and it can explain why most dogs love petting in general. Besides it feels great, it is also beneficial and can promote all kinds of positive behavior and create some great memories with your dog.
Many dogs kick their legs when you rub their belly?
You probably know that most dogs will kick their legs when you rub their belly. There is actually a sweet spot that when touched will trigger this. It is actually known as ‘’the tickle spot’’. But, this isn’t caused by tickling and it is an actually involuntary response.
The action is known as a scratch reflex and it happens because you touch a nerve that is connected directly to the spinal cord. He will do this in order to remove the irritant. The situation is the same when a bug stops on the skin of your pet and it twitches in order to remove the bug.
As we have mentioned, this is an involuntary response and it will occur before his brain decides to take an action. The goal is to remove the irritant and preserve, which was mandatory in nature.
To summarize, this isn’t related to tickling and has nothing to do with it. It is something all dogs do and something that looks funny, but it is needed and mandatory. Yes, you can play like this and there are no side effects but some dogs don’t like it. We also know that if you do it for a long period of time most dogs will take a look at that position or even use their teeth to scratch that place.
Don’t force your dog to have belly rubs
Now you know that most dogs love belly rubs. However, not all of them like it. Some will do anything they can in order to avoid it. The goal is not to force your dog into this. If they don’t like belly rubs, find another way to pet your dog.
First, you need to check and see doses your pet likes this. Try to give him a belly rub. If he looks stressed or he runs away, he doesn’t. Also, look at his tail. If it is tucked between the rear legs, he doesn’t like that petting.
Your dog should be extremely relaxed while you are giving him belly rubs. His body will look and be floppy in the lack of a better word. If it is firm and even the body is hunching, you need to stop. These reveal that your pet is scared or uncomfortable in the lack of a better word.
You must not force your dog to like belly rubs. As a matter of fact, you must not force your dog onto his back. This will create panic and your pet will be scared or even angry. As we have said, showing a belly to a person is a sign of trust and submission. When you try to this by force it looks like you are attacking your dog. Basically, dogs will show signs of anxiety when they are forced to do or be in something they are not comfortable with.
If your dog comes in front of you and shows you his belly, you will know what to do. If he runs away when you try to give him one, it means he doesn’t like it. The goal is to know should you rub his belly or not. Never force your pet into this.
Why do dogs like belly rubs has been a wonderful topic. We hope you got all the answers you need and now you are able to check and see if your dog likes belly rubs or he doesn’t. Odds are that he loves it and you will have to rub his belly every single day.
You can read my other article How To Train an Aggressive Dog: A Complete Guide.