Why do dogs like to be pet? Petting a dog is not only therapeutic to humans, but also does a world of good for your four-legged pal. It shows mutual trust and affection.
There are do’s and don’ts though! We must be aware of how do dogs like to be petted. Knowing the right way to pet is important before you become the best friend to man’s best friend.
The bonding between dogs and humans goes way back into pre-historic times. They were the first and only large carnivores to live alongside the ancient hunter-gatherers. Dogs descended from the first wolves and later developed into a separate species in the course of evolution.
What Does Scientific Research Say About Human And Dog Relationship?
Researchers have identified the co-existence of humans and dogs by at least two distinct discoveries of fossilized remains. The first discovery was in 1914, just before the First World War. Basalt quarrying at Oberkassel near Bonn in Germany revealed the bones of two pre-historic humans along with the lower jaw of a canid.
Carbon-dating of the Bonn-Oberkassel fossil revealed it to be 14,500 years old. Mitochondrial DNA matching in the 1970s revealed that the mandible belonged to a dog (Canis lupus familiaris), rather than a wolf (Canis lupus).
In a more recent development, in 2008, a team of researchers dug up the remains of a dog that is 31,700 years old. Other recent discoveries include that of frozen permafrost remains of ancient canines in Russia. These are dated as 14,000 to 18,000 years old.
A scientific study of the world’s first known dog revealed that it was a large mammal domesticated by the Auriganacian People from the Upper Paleolithic Period. Can you imagine? Visualize a world of mysterious dark forests where human life sustains as the hunter-gatherer.
Imagine a cave. It is dark and there’s a small fire burning in front. Look deeper into your imagination. Can you see a big wolf-like creature resting by the side of the fire? Its head is resting on its paws and its eyes are dreamily reflecting the yellow flames.
Another remarkable discovery that tells of this ancient bonding between dogs and humans comes from a cave in Chauvet, France. Scientists were able to discover 26,000 year old footprints of a child and a dog walking side-by-side. Evidence also shows that the child was holding a torch, indicating that the animal had overcome its primitive fear of the fire.
Research on Petting
As to how do dogs like to be petted, scientific research says that, if done right, is a remedy to many ills. A research conducted by Washington State University showed a drastic reduction in cortisol levels, caused by only ten minutes of petting. Studies also show that this affectionate action increases the level of feel-good hormones (oxytocin, serotonin, and prolactin) in the bloodstream. It can also decrease high blood pressure by about 10%!
It is also good for the pet. However, do dogs like to be pet all the time? Probably not. To understand the when and why, we need to understand why do dogs like to be pet.
What Happens While Petting Dogs?
Just like you, dogs also experience a dramatic hike in oxytocin levels during a good interaction. Dogs and humans share a unique bond that lets us communicate by eye contact. Studies show that gazing in the eyes of your canine friend can cause his oxytocin to rise by a whopping 130%! Given this, it is no wonder why do dogs love being pet.
Petting as a reward is a great way to train your animal. However, you need to figure out when do dogs like to be petted. You should let the dog decide that. If the animal is not showing any interest or trying to get away, it is better to avoid petting.
Sense of Security
A study researched this by classifying human-dog interaction in two scenarios. First, the dog received petting and vocal feedback. In the second scenario, the person did not touch the dog but spoke encouragingly to it. The study showed that the dog responded better in the first situation.
Just like humans, the absence of physical contact can make the dog anxious. He wonders if you still love him. This separation anxiety can lead to depression and associated problems. This also explains why do dogs want to be pet.
Mental illness in dogs is a serious issue especially if you are rescuing one from the shelter. It is likely to have experienced trauma and suffer from social anxiety, depression, noise anxiety, and OCD. Symptoms of mental issues include loss of appetite, compulsive licking, refusal to treats, self-injury, destructive behavior, trembling, and hiding.
Develop Emotional Bonding
Forming emotional bonding is one of the reasons why do dogs like to be pet. Oxytocin, the hormone described above, is the same one that helps to foster trust between mother and child. It is no wonder that you feel childlike affection for the pet.
How can we emotionally support a creature that bestows unconditional love on us? Proper petting is one of the ways of doing that. We just need to understand when do dogs like to be petted and when they do not.
Dogs have this constant need of being the center of attention. Jealous behavior is a common occurrence in them when they feel that another dog is receiving more care. Gentle petting reassures that you still love them.
Sometimes when you are talking to someone else, your dog needs you to look at her. Attention-seeking behavior is among the reasons why do dogs like getting pet.
Why Do Dogs Like to be Petted?
It reaffirms our presence in their lives. They feel connected and emotionally secure in this bonding. Reassuring physical touch creates emotional attachment. But, it can go wrong if you are petting the puppy when it is unwilling.
How To Develop A Good Chemistry Between Dog and You?
Dogs yearn for companionship. Do not deny them that. Take best care of their grooming needs and provide good food.
Avoid certain things like yelling at the mutt or anyone else in the vicinity of your dog. Do not pet on the head. Avoid putting them in clothes that restrict their mobility.
How To Pet A Dog?
Just as the right kind of physical contact can make your dog close to you, the wrong kind can be annoying. We need to be attentive to the pressure of the hands and the way of stroking the fur. Fur-level massaging is the best way. So, how do dogs like to be petted?
Do not overdo it. We should avoid petting it when the dog is eating, sleeping, playing, is under the table, or is caring for her pups. We also need to refrain from it when the dog is sick or injured.
Let the Dog Take the Lead
When you approach a dog, allow him to be comfortable in your presence. Let the animal come near and be familiar with your smell. Comfort is one of the main reasons why do dogs like to be pet.
Remember that a dog approaching us does not necessarily mean that he wants to be petted. He may be just sniffing to know whether to trust you. Establishing trust is also among the key factors why do dogs like being pet. You can try holding a treat in your hand to encourage the pet to be friends.
Identify Dog’s Needs
The best time to approach them is when you have earned trust. The pet displays a relaxed attitude, wags his tail vigorously, and his ears point towards the front.
Our presence should be relaxed as well. Follow these clear indicators as to when do dogs like to be petted.
Learn Right Repetitive Petting Movements
For those wondering how do dogs like to be petted, you can take cues from a mamma dog. Look out carefully when she cares for her pups. You will see that she licks them gently and always along the grain of the fur.
Do not hug the dog or grab its face with two hands. Gently massage the fur with your fingers. Long and even strokes across the back or in the chest area are usually the best ways to pet a dog.
It is always advisable to squat before you pet a dog, especially if it’s unfamiliar. They tend to process any human movement coming from above as threatening. Avoid patting on the head.
How to Make Your Petting Dog Friendly
You do not have to be a dog-whisperer to understand your pet. Pay close attention to its body language. Dogs have a way of telling they like you and want you to pet.
Whenever you approach a dog, try to understand why do dogs like to be pet. A general rule is to control your impulse to pet if the dog does not exhibit a friendly attitude. It may be scared, stressed, angry, or excited.
Ask the Owner First If It’s Not Your Dog
When we are drawn to pet someone else’s dog, it is always right to ask permission. Let’s face it. Not all of us know how to pet a dog properly. For example, touching the head and tail of the animal is a strict No-No.
The owner knows best about his or her dog. If she is saying, “No”, it is probably for good reasons. The owner may say something like, “the dog’s in training”, or “he is nervous around strangers”, or “he may snap”. Respect these warning signs and avoid petting.
Allow the Dog to be Comfortable Around You Before Petting
It is important to follow the right etiquette of petting when the owner says yes. Do not pet him roughly with brusque movements. The difference in petting explains why do dogs like to be pet by some people and avoid others.
Don’t Start Touching the Face Directly
Feeling stressed is the reason why do dogs not like to be pet on the head. You can easily understand his reluctance if he ducks his head every time you reach out with an outstretched arm.
Dog owners should be extra careful about strangers touching their pets. Many people are ignorant about the dog’s disinclination on head patting. You should always advise them against it.
How To Give Your Pet Optimum Pleasure through Petting?
Petting establishes the bond of companionship between humans and dogs. It is a way of telling that you are always caring for the happiness of your furry bundle of joy. This opportunity for emotional bonding explains why do dogs like to be pet so much.
Calibrate Level of Pressure Based on Your Dog
Remember that some dog breeds are friendly, while others are not. Collie, Retriever, Spaniel, Bulldog, Poodle, Beagle, Basset Hound, and Pug are among the friendly breeds. On the other hand, Rottweiler, Dachshund, Doberman, Dalmatian, Chihuahua, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, and Pit Bull Terrier are typically aggressive breeds.
Most dogs, however, love petting from their owners. Some of them may like petting for a brief period and then retracts from it. Others might want us to pet them until one of us falls asleep.
Pet Different Spots
You need to pet different spots to figure out where it is most enjoyable for the dog. Some dogs seem to enjoy the ticklish sensation when we gently rub the soft region beneath their paws.
Stop When Dog Shows Signs of Having It Enough
Suppose you are giving your poodle a tummy-rub. Then, she suddenly rolls over to her feet. It says that it’s enough petting already. A dog that has had enough will typically turn away and be on her own.
Avoid Over-Stimulating the Pet
Do not push it when the dog does not want a petting anymore. They may get excited and snap. We must respect the personal space of the dogs.
Where Should I Pet A Dog?
Petting is a gesture of good intentions. You may also try resting your hand gently on the animal’s back and not moving it. Follow the response. If the dog likes your touch, he will likely give a sign by wagging his tail vigorously.
If the mutt displays a relaxed jaw and a hanging tongue, it shows that he is friendly with you. Friendliness is a main factor why do dogs like to be pet. Follow the instructions here to get where do dogs like to be pet at.
Under The Chin
Use your fingertips to massage below the chin. Avoid touching the snout though as it is a particularly sensitive area.
A common misconception arises when the dog rolls over and exposes his tummy. Does he want a tummy rub? Maybe yes, or maybe no.
Interpret the psychology of why do dogs like to be pet. Sometimes, exposing the tummy means vulnerability, and it may not be the right time to touch them. See if its tail is tucked between the feet.
Pay attention to whether the dog moved away before rolling over. When the rollover is associated with a lot of tail wagging and coming closer, it means that your pet wants a tummy rub.
Gently stroke your hand across the hip region. Sometimes, dogs have hip dysplasia. Calmly petting the dog at the hip helps them to forget the pain. However, dogs with sore hips may want to avoid getting petted.
Some dogs do not seem to get enough petting, while other breeds are happy with a little scratching of their ears. You can also use your fingers to scratch their inner ears because it is an unreachable area for them.
A back rub is a gesture that tells everything is okay. It is also their favorite place to get a massage. You need to work your hands in a circular motion, moving them up and down on either side of the spine. It is a fantastic way as to how do dogs like to be pet.
Final Verdict – Why Do Dogs Like to be Pet
The biggest takeaway of why do dogs like to be pet is obviously the immense emotional value of this simple action. It allows us to foster a deeper bond with our favorite spirit animals. To be the person our dog wants us to be is to be a caring, loving being.
Dogs like this gesture so much because they appreciate our presence in their lives. Sometimes, they do put up with the wrong kind of petting, but it is up to the owner to know how to do it right.