Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?

Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?

One of the most common ways in which bonds are created between humans and dogs is by showing mutual affection and petting. Dogs love it when we give them attention, but out of all the possible gestures, the one which they love the most is undoubtedly the belly rub. The animal feels great in this moment of ecstasy, as if you two were part of a pack, and it feels looked after and protected by the most important person in their life - their owner.

But do you know why do dogs like belly rubs? If you have always wondered this, keep reading, because this OneHowTo article will answer your question.

What does it mean when a dog shows its belly?

A dog shows its belly as a sign of trust. This gesture indicates that the animal knows who is in charge and that it trusts us completely, knowing that we won't cause it any harm. Don't forget that this position denotes indicates great vulnerability, so it's a way of the animal telling us that it feels comfortable with us.

However, showing the belly can also be a sign of submission due to fear; in such a case, they may exhibit gestures such as putting their tail between their legs and licking the owner's hands. Dogs will sometimes do this when faced with other stronger animals, when greeting its owner or upon meeting a person it doesn't know well. If your dog looks nervous or tense when it shows its belly to you, it's best not to scratch the animal immediately, but do it when it feels comfortable and confident.

Pleasure - of course

Obviously this form of contact with the owner - the person they trust and who they identify as the leader of the pack - is pleasurable for dogs. This is the simplest reason why dogs like to have their bellies rubbed. For these pets it is a reassuring act which makes them feel safe, strengthening the bond with their owner.

As established in the previous section, not all dogs show their belly for rubbing, and not all dogs enjoy this gesture. If you've noticed that your pet only shows you its belly when it's very nervous, afraid or tense, and when you try to stroke this area the dog simply rolls over quickly, this is a clear indication that it does not enjoy the action. It's advisable that you respect it and don't do it. Try stroking other areas instead, like its back or behind the ears, which are pleasant for most dogs.

The best belly rubs for your dog

  • Don't rub your dog's belly when it looks nervous or afraid. The animal's reaction can be unpredictable and it is best to wait until it calms down and feels confident enough to do it.
  • Giving a belly rub to dog is an act in which both parties should feel comfortable, so when it's someone else's dog it's important to allow the animal to approach you, smell you and feel comfortable in your presence before stroking it. Start by areas like the back, head or behind the ears, but if you notice any signs of rejection from the animal, stop doing it immediately.
  • If you don't know the dog well, always stroke it gently and never abruptly, or you could scare it. Once accustomed to it, pets respond to their owner's firm strokes without any problem. For the same reason why dogs like belly rubs, it can be very different when they are stroked firmly by a stranger.
  • Dogs don't enjoy being patted. It's better to gently pet them with your fingertips or softly massage their back or tummy, which they will definitely enjoy much more.
  • Always respect the dog; if you notice that there is an area where it doesn't like being touched, don't insist or the animal could end up reacting negatively. Although dogs are domesticated creatures, we must not forget that they deserve respect and consideration.

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