Every dog owner and dog lover has seen a dog go over the moon at having their belly rubbed.
Dogs seem to have a special love and need for belly rubs, and it is not only cute but also absolutely adorable.
If you have a dog that can’t resist a belly rub, it might interest you to know there are actual scientific and behavioral reasons behind it.
Read on for more belly rub facts.
So Why Exactly do Dogs Like Belly Rubs so Much?
Dogs have an interesting neural makeup. For instance, did you know dogs have special neurons in their brains that are activated by the stimulation of hair follicles?
These neurons are only activated when the fine, small hair on a dog’s belly is stimulated through petting or a rub. When you rub a dog’s belly, the stimulation of the hair follicles on the belly fires up these special neurons in the brain- bringing on feelings of satisfaction and pleasure that a dog enjoys.
So the next time your dog offers you his belly, here is another reason not to resist –you are providing them with stimulation that is otherwise not possible.
How to Give Your Dog The Perfect Belly Rub
While a belly rub should always be administered if a dog is asking for one, there are some important dos and donts as well.
Here are some of the things you should take care of while rubbing a dog’s belly.
- Never be Too Forceful
If a dog is comfortable with belly rubs, he will offer his belly to you himself. And while you should oblige him at this point, never try to force a belly rub if a dog does not want it.
Studies show that if a dog rolls over on his back to offer you his belly, this is a sign of trust. But if a dog rolls over on his back instantly as soon as you walk closer, it is not a sign of trust but a sign submission which can be slightly different.
In such an instance, make the dog feel comfortable and regain his trust by talking to him –but don’t belly rub.
- Always Check if the Dog is Comfortable
It is important to check if your dog is enjoying the belly rub.
You will notice dogs often tend to viciously kick their legs while getting a belly rub. And this may lead you to believe this is an ecstatic response and increase your intensity of belly rubs.
However, this is not always true. Dogs kick their legs during a belly rub out of a physiological response that originates out of the tickling sensation they are experiencing. It is something involuntary and not in their control. So it is always important to check if the dog is still feeling comfortable with a belly rub and you are not over-doing it.
- Stop at Any Signs of Discomfort
Needless to say, if you see any signs of discomfort, stop immediately.
This is the appropriate, respectful response which should be practiced with the animal who chose to trust you and connect with you.
When you stop at signs of discomfort, it will further strengthen your bond with your dog and they will feel more comfortable with you in the future.
- Don’t Belly Rub if the Dog is Not Rolling Over
And lastly, if the dog is not rolling over on their own, don’t reach out to rub his belly in another position, or to coax him to flip over. Whenever they feels comfortable, your dog will roll over on their own and allow you to rub their lustrous belly!
We hope these were some interesting facts about dogs and belly rubs. Isn’t it fascinating to know the connection between these innocuous rubs and the neural and behavioral responses.