Dogs are very similar to humans and enjoy the feeling of human touch.
In humans, petting a dog releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, called endorphins.
In dogs, a bonding hormone called oxytocin is released.
Whether it’s a soft touch or a firm kind of petting, you should know how he or she likes being petted.
According to PetSpruce.com, in the article, “Why Do Dogs Like Being Petted?”(Scientific Data), research has shown that the more attention and petting you give your dog, the more likely he or she will follow you around and want to spend more time with you.
There are many benefits to petting your dog. Not only for the dog, but humans as well.
Continue reading to learn more about why dogs enjoy being petted.
What Type of Petting Does Your Dog Prefer?
First things first, you should know the basics of petting your dog.
You can start by first determining what type of petting your dog prefers.
This is when knowing the personality of your dog is beneficial.
That’s because it all depends on what he or she likes.
Some canines like a rougher type of petting, while other dogs like a softer, gentler type of petting.
You should also keep in mind that your dog also knows when it’s being over-stimulated.
This is never a good thing and it can cause your dog to become anxious instead of relaxing.
This is when there is a happy medium.
Usually, your dog will let you know by his or her behavior.
They do this by:
- Becoming Hyperactive
- Hiding Somewhere
- Nipping and Biting
- Compulsive Behavior
Whenever you experience any of the above behaviors, you should begin slowly petting your dog on his or her ears.
This will allow your dog to calm down naturally, on his or her own.
Where Should I Pet My Dog?
The last thing you want to do is be forceful or pet your dog in a place that they do not like.
That’s when knowing where to pet your dog comes in handy.
This helps to prevent any unfortunate accidents from happening, such as a dog bite.
It also ensures that your dog will feel comfortable allowing you to pet him or her.
This should only be reserved for dogs whom you are familiar with.
That’s because it’s considered to be a more intimate type of petting.
You can pet your pooch while he or she is standing or lying down.
The Butt and Hips-
Most dogs love being pet here.
This could be because it’s hard for them to reach this area of their body.
You might see their legs shake with delight as you pet them there.
You build trust between you and your dog when you practice this petting technique.
Pet your dog where you feel cartilage. They’ll love you for this.
Gently give them an ear massage with your fingers.
This type of massage will help to put them at ease and help them relax.
This is one way to know if a dog trusts you.
If he or she walks up to you and lies on the ground to expose his or her belly, there’s a good chance that he or she trusts you and feels at ease with you.
This type of petting behavior can also initiate the “shaky leg” response.
Beneath the Chin-
You should practice this petting behavior with dogs you are familiar with.
Gently rub this area with your hands and fingers.
This is a sensitive spot for them, so make sure you use a gentle touch.
The Back and Shoulders-
You can pet or pat them in this area with your hands.
However, again, you should only do this with your own dog, or dogs you are familiar with.
Now that we’ve figured out how to pet your dog, let’s determine just exactly why dogs like being petted.
Theories on Why Dogs Like Being Petted
So why do dogs enjoy being petted? There are some theories out there that explain this phenomenon.
Some people believe :
They enjoy the feeling of being touched. In other words, it just plain feels good to them.
And for you.
It’s your way of showing them they are being rewarded. They believe that petting is a reward for good behavior.
Therefore, the more often you pet them when they do something good, the more likely they are to repeat this behavior.
It also helps them with their social skills. Primates groom one another, and so do dogs.
This is referred to as a type of “socializing behavior” that dogs participate in as well.
Petting your dog has health benefits for humans and is believed to have the same health benefits for dogs.
In humans, petting a dog has been shown to reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure.
In dogs, we have seen reduced heart rates when they are being petted. Which, in turn, helps them to relax.
Research has shown that humans exhibit emotional intelligence which is determined through the act of touch.
This same emotional intelligence is believed to be similarly found in dogs as well.
Also, touch helps those dogs that are more sociable keep an eye on their counterparts.
It’s their own way of communicating with one another.
While there is limited research on this topic, we do have important theories and beliefs that help us correlate the emotional connections between humans and their furry, four-legged, canine counterparts.
Now that we’ve covered all the basics to understand why dogs like being petted, petting your dog and doing it the right way, you can use these tips to build a stronger emotional bond between you and your dog.
Remember practice makes perfect.